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Mia Wasikowska (1989)

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  Summary  

Mia Wasikowska is an Australian actress. After starting her career in Australian television and film, she first became known to a wider audience following her critically acclaimed work on the HBO television series In Treatment. She gained worldwide prominence in 2010 after starring as Alice in Tim Burton's $1 billion-grossing Alice in Wonderland and appearing in The Kids Are All Right, for which she received the Hollywood Awards' Breakthrough Actress Award.

In 2011, Wasikowska portrayed the title character in Cary Fukunaga's adaptation of Jane Eyre, and starred in Gus Van Sant's Restless, which premiered at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival. In addition to filming Rodrigo Garcia's Albert Nobbs and John Hillcoat's The Wettest County, she has also begun filming Park Chan-wook's Stoker, set for release in 2012.

  Biography  

 early life
Wasikowska was born and raised in Canberra, Australia, and is the middle child of three, with an older sister, Jess, and a younger brother, Kai. Her mother, Marzena Wasikowska, is a Polish-born photographer, while her father, John Reid, is an Australian photographer and collagist. In 1998, when she was eight years old, Wasikowska and her family moved to Szczecin, Poland for a year, after her mother received a grant to produce a collection of work based on her experience of having emigrated to Australia in 1974 at the age of eleven. Wasikowska and her siblings took part in the production as subjects; she explained to Johanna Schneller of the Toronto Globe and Mail in July 2010, "We never had to smile or perform. We weren't always conscious of being photographed. We'd just do our thing, and she'd take pictures of us." The family also traveled through France, Germany, and Russia during this period.

Wasikowska began training as a ballerina at the age of nine, with hopes of going professional. She began dancing en pointe at thirteen, and was training 35 hours a week in addition to going to school full-time, her daily routine consisting of leaving school in the early afternoon and dancing until nine o'clock at night. However, her passion for ballet waned due to the increasing pressure to achieve physical perfection and her growing dissatisfaction with the industry in general, and she quit at fourteen. "Dance is about minute things that most people don’t notice but that dancers are trained to see and spend hours obsessing over in front of the mirror. Dancers are kept in a perpetual state of pre-puberty that type of pressure breeds insecurities." However, she credits ballet with improving her ability to handle her nerves in auditions: "I'd be a very different person if I didn't have ballet as my background. Dance really toughens you up."

At the same time, she had been exposed to European and Australian cinema at a young age, particularly Krzysztof Kieślowski's Three Colors trilogy and Gillian Armstrong's My Brilliant Career. Although she was shy and averse to performing during her school years, she became inspired to break into acting after watching Holly Hunter in The Piano and Gena Rowlands in A Woman Under the Influence, in addition to the opportunity of exploring imperfections in film. Despite having no prior acting experience, Wasikowska looked up twelve Australian talent agencies on Google and contacted them all, receiving only one response; she successfully arranged a meeting following persistent callbacks.

 career
  Early work
Wasikowska landed her first acting role in 2004, with a two-episode stint on the Australian soap All Saints. She had just turned fifteen when she was cast in her Australian film debut, 2006's Suburban Mayhem, for which she received a nomination for a Young Actor's AFI Award. That same year, she also appeared in her first short film, Lens Love Story, in which she had no dialogue.

In 2007, Wasikowska appeared in the crocodile horror film Rogue, alongside Radha Mitchell and Sam Worthington, and the drama September, for which she beat out nearly 200 other actresses by receiving her part on the spot by director Peter Carstairs following her audition. She then starred in Spencer Susser's acclaimed short film I Love Sarah Jane, which premiered at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival.

  United States career
2008–09
At the age of seventeen, Wasikowska received her first break in the United States when she was cast as Sophie, a suicidal gymnast, in HBO's acclaimed weekly drama In Treatment, after she auditioned for the role by videotape. The part required her to leave school in Canberra and move to Los Angeles for three months, while enrolling in correspondence courses. She earned critical acclaim for her performance as the troubled teenager treated by psychotherapist Paul Weston , which included praise for her excellent American accent. Wasikowska revealed in an October 2008 interview with Variety that she was something of a mimic as a child and that the large influx of American films and TV shows made it easier for Australians to pick up the accent.

The exposure from the show led to Wasikowska picking up her first American film appearances. She played the brief role of Chaya, the young forest wife of Asael Bielski , in Defiance. Director Edward Zwick cast her without having seen her in In Treatment, explaining to the Australian edition of Vogue, "Her inner life is so vivid that it comes across even when she's being still." Her next part was that of aviation pioneer Elinor Smith in Mira Nair's 2009 biopic Amelia. In June 2008, due to her work on In Treatment, she was a recipient of an Australians in Film Breakthrough Award.

Wasikowska played the supporting role of Pamela Choat in the 2009 Southern Gothic independent film That Evening Sun, opposite Hal Holbrook. Director Scott Teems, seeking a young actress who bore a resemblance to Sissy Spacek, initially balked at the casting director's first suggestion of Wasikowska for the part, as he was adamant at casting all native Southerners for the sake of authenticity. However, after auditions with other actresses were unsuccessful, Teems relented and summoned Wasikowska for auditioning. She had only two hours to prepare, which she spent watching clips of Coal Miner's Daughter online in order to quickly learn a Southern accent, and impressed Teems enough that she gained the distinction of being the only non-American actor cast in the film. She was nominated for a 2009 Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Female, which she lost to Mo'Nique , though the film received a South by Southwest award for Best Ensemble Cast.

2010–2011
In July 2008, after a lengthy search, Wasikowska was cast as the eponymous heroine in Tim Burton's retelling of Alice in Wonderland, alongside Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter and Anne Hathaway. She sent a videotaped audition to casting directors in London, and her first live reading in Los Angeles occurred on the same day as her Evening Sun audition. After three more auditions in London – which saw her flying back and forth from Australia to England in just as many weeks – she was awarded the role. Burton cited Wasikowska's "old-soul quality" as a catalyst in casting her: "Because you’re witnessing this whole thing through her eyes, it needed somebody who can subtly portray that.” Wasikowska portrayed a nineteen-year-old Alice returning to Wonderland for the first time since her youth after escaping an unwanted marriage proposal. Her affinity for the character played a part in her desire for the role, as she had read the Lewis Carroll books as a child and was a fan of Jan Švankmajer's 1988 stop-motion film Alice. She also saw Burton's version of the classic story as a chance to explore a deeper characterization of Alice, to whom she felt young women her age could relate, for which she drew on personal experiences. “Alice has a certain discomfort within herself, within society and among her peers; I an observer who is thinking a lot, and that's similar to how I am.”

For Lisa Cholodenko's indie comedy The Kids Are All Right, Wasikowska was cast as Joni, the bookish daughter of a lesbian couple who was conceived via artificial insemination. At her younger brother's request, she seeks out their biological father . During shooting, she successfully campaigned to have Joni wear pajamas in several home scenes, as a nod to what the actress regularly did herself while home in Australia. She explained to Orlando Sentinel film critic Roger Moore, "[Joni's] very comfortable in her place, with who she is. So I pushed to have her, whenever she was at home, in her pajamas. That’s comfortable! And that’s something I do."

On 25 October, Wasikowska was honored with the Hollywood Awards' Breakthrough Actress Award, which was presented to her by Bryce Dallas Howard, and she won the Australian Film Institute International Award for Best Actress on 12 December for her performance in Alice in Wonderland. She was recognized by Forbes as one of the highest-grossing actors of 2010 with $1.03 billion, tied for second position with Johnny Depp and behind leader Leonardo DiCaprio, whose films grossed $1.1 billion for the year.

From March to May 2010, Wasikowska filmed Cary Fukunaga's adaptation of Jane Eyre, in which she starred as the title character opposite Michael Fassbender as Mr. Rochester. She began reading the novel after completion of Alice in Wonderland, during which she asked her agent if a script existed. Two months later, she received a script and was asked to meet with Fukunaga. However, since Fukunaga was unfamiliar with her prior work at the time and was therefore undecided about casting her, he later sought the opinion of director Gus Van Sant, with whom Wasikowska had previously filmed the 2011 release Restless. He said to BlackBook magazine in February 2011, "Gus wrote back: ‘Cast her.’ " Her work on the film resulted in a scheduling conflict that forced her to withdraw from the lead in Julia Leigh's 2011 Australian independent film Sleeping Beauty, and she was replaced by Emily Browning.

 personal life
In her spare time, Wasikowska is an avid photographer, often chronicling her travels and capturing images of her film sets with a Rolleiflex camera. During production of Jane Eyre, she had a secret pocket sewn into one of her costumes in order to conceal a smaller digital camera that she used between takes. One of her on-set images, featuring Fukunaga and Jane Eyre costar Jamie Bell, was selected as a finalist in a competition hosted by Australia's National Portrait Gallery on 24 February 2011.

Wasikowska continues to make her home in Canberra with her family between projects. When asked by PopEater in March 2011 if she was treated like a celebrity at home, she replied, "No, I still take the rubbish out and empty the dishwasher. It's good going back for that reason."

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Whole or part of the information contained in this card come from the Wikipedia article "Mia Wasikowska", licensed under CC-BY-SA full list of contributors here.