Dual In The Sun
It actors Mia Wasikowska and Michael Fassbender on scary movies, screen sex, and their new film, Jane Eyre.
What was the first movie that made a big impression on you?
I think it was Bambi. I remember being traumatized by the experience—I was so upset when the mum died in the movie. There were a few films that got me interested in acting and cinema. I’m Polish, but I grew up in Australia. My mom used to have a lot of European cinema playing in the house, so I’d catch bits and pieces of films. I really, really loved Krzysztof Kieslowski’s films, especially Blue and Red.
Do you speak Polish?
A little bit but not very well. When I was eight years old, we lived in Poland for a year. I was just there about three weeks ago—it definitely seems very familiar. I am at home there, but I feel like I could live anywhere now.
Perhaps that’s because you’ve been on movie sets all over the world from the time you were a teenager. Did you get your start in school plays?
I did a few amateur theater productions when I was young, but I was really shy. I didn’t like drama classes, so it has always surprised me that I ended up in films. I’d always done dance. I was eight when I started ballet. I was really serious—I danced about 35 hours a week. I finished with dance when I was about 15.
All of a sudden?
Well, I started not enjoying ballet, because it was so much about physical perfection. What I like about film is it explores imperfections. That was something that really attracted me.
When I decided to pursue acting at 15, I heard that you had to have an agent to do film and television, so I did a Google search for acting agencies in Sydney. I hounded one to take me on and started auditioning. I did some films in Australia, and then I started working in America on [HBO’s] In Treatment when I was 17.
You played Sophie, a 16-year-old Olympics-bound gymnast who was in a state of emotional anguish.
Although I’m not particularly troubled myself, I do have a lot of empathy for troubled characters. When it came to the last episode of In Treatment, I was a mess. That character was like my friend—I was in another country, away from my family—and then she was gone.
You’ve embodied two very famous characters: Alice, in Alice in Wonderland, and now Jane Eyre. Was it difficult to play such icons?