How did you go about getting the accent for Alice?
MIA WASIKOWSKA: I had a lesson with a dialect coach and from then on it felt
natural. When I take on a character with an accent then I cant imagine them
without that accent. Even when I was reading it in my head it was in an English
accent. After a while it became natural. I didnt listen to tapes. There is a
lot of British film in Australia so we grew up listening to that and it wasnt
so hard to do the accent.
You seemed very determined to get this role?
MIA WASIKOWSKA: I sent an audition tape in February 2008 and ended up in June or
July coming over to Britain and doing four more auditions with Tim before I got
Didnt you fly back and forth from Australia to the UK three times?
MIA WASIKOWSKA: Yeah, but I never really expected to get the role. Also you
learn not to trust your feelings when you are in the strange period of
auditions. It is all very up and down. You can audition, feel very confident and
then not get the role. Then you can think the audition was the worst thing you
ever did in your life and then you get the role. So you could analyze for weeks
and months and it would still not make any sense.
What was it that Tim Burton saw in you?
MIA WASIKOWSKA: Im not sure. I feel really lucky to be chosen by him. I really
love his films. Edward Scissorhands is a really special film for me. Tim has
this compassion for characters who are outsiders and he presents them in a way
that is not stereotypical.
Had Tim seen any of your work?
MIA WASIKOWSKA: Im not sure if he had seen In Treatment. He might have. I feel
so lucky to have done In Treatment. Its so rare to play a teenager who is so
What was your research for Alice In Wonderland?
MIA WASIKOWSKA: My research was reading the books and reading about the books
and looking at Lewis Carrolls photography and collecting images from any of the
illustrators. So Alice in the books was the backbone of the character but we
really wanted to explore Alice as an older person.
Are you drawn to play damaged characters?
MIA WASIKOWSKA: I think so, for me they are really interesting characters. But I
never felt a connection to the characters in teen movies. So I feel really lucky
to have had the chance to portray characters who to me are more real and
Tim says you are an old soul?
MIA WASIKOWSKA: There are a lot of different definitions of old soul. Alice has
an awareness of what is going on around her and she is a deep feeling person. I
did not grow up in movies or with an awareness of the celebrity culture. I grew
up in a small city in Australia. My dad is a photographer and a collageist. We
grew up in galleries and traveling around. My parents showed us interesting
films. I lived for a year in Poland when I was eight years old and that was a
similar age to Alice when she first went to Wonderland. At that age when you are
removed from your world and placed in a different one you can completely absorb
it. That was a very interesting time for me to experience another culture. I
used to speak a little Polish but not very well.
You started in ballet, how did you move to film?
MIA WASIKOWSKA: I did dance very intensely for a number of years. From the age
of eight to 14. Towards the end I was doing 35 hours a week. So I was always
intensely into something. Before I decided to pursue acting, dance had become
about trying to achieve physical perfection, which was so unattainable. Then I
was smaller and less comfortable with myself and less happy with my body because
I was always being confronted with my imperfections. At that time I was watching
films that inspired me because they were about peoples imperfections. So I
became interested in that and that was more true to me.
You like a challenge because after playing an iconic figure like Alice you
are playing Jane Eyre?
MIA WASIKOWSKA: Thats right. I have kind of started preparing. I have re-read
the book and want to be knowledgeable about all things connected to Jane Eyre.
How did you find the costumes for Alice?
MIA WASIKOWSKA: Even though Alice is from another time she is very much like a
modern character. If you were to put her in our society she would thrive. I feel
she is a modern girl stuck in another time. I love the costumes. Every one of
them was so detailed and beautiful.
How do you feel about becoming a new Disney icon?
MIA WASIKOWSKA: I dont know. I guess I have no choice.
What was the green screen experience like in making Alice In Wonderland?
MIA WASIKOWSKA: It was very strange. You have to bring a lot more energy and
focus to working. You dont realize how lucky you are to have an environment
where you can get some feeling or have an actor from whom to bounce off. When
you are acting opposite a tennis ball you have no idea what the Cheshire Cat
will actually be doing. Its about trusting Tim.
So was it with a sense of wonder that you finally saw the film?
MIA WASIKOWSKA: Definitely! It is being revealed to me in the same way that it
has been revealed to everybody else. I had seen concept art but not the final
thing and to see it together was wonderful.