Mia Wasikowska, 'Stoker' Star, On 'Alice In Wonderland,' Meryl Streep And Her Love Of Honky-Tonks

Mia Wasikowska gained international fame after playing the title character in Tim Burton's "Alice in Wonderland," a movie that grossed over $1 billion worldwide. It's interesting to hear Wasikowska admit that she made a conscious decision to steer clear of similar roles (or, as she explains, "pale with dark circles under her eyes" roles) -- something a lot of actors don't like to admit.

In Wasikowska's latest effort, "Stoker," she plays India Stoker, a high school student who lives with her mom, Evelyn (Nicole Kidman). Shortly after her father's mysterious death, India's life gets more complicated when her father's charming yet somewhat strange younger brother, Charlie (Matthew Goode), moves in, and certain relationships become ... inappropriate. Here, Wasikowska discusses "Stoker," her eclectic career choices, being name-dropped by Meryl Streep at the Golden Globes and her newfound love for Nashville honky-tonks.

I have to admit, I look at pencils differently now after seeing this movie.

Oh, really? Good. That's good.

I didn't know a pencil could do that.


Stab someone so convincingly.


Was that a real pencil?

Yeah, it was a real pencil. Fake stabbing! -- but a real pencil.

That would have been going all-in for the art if that was a real stabbing.

Yeah, a little too method.

The director, Park Chan-wook, spoke Korean on set. Did that ever cause confusion?

It was mostly really seamless. It was something we weren't sure how it was going to work at the beginning, but within a couple of days it wasn't something we even really noticed. The translation was very smooth.

Was there ever a time something came through in the wrong way?

Probably, but nothing that affected the outcome of the film, I don't think. There were probably minor miscommunications, but I don't think there was anything that was really a big deal.

How much of his work did you know? Did you go back and watch "Oldboy"?

Yeah, I went back and watched most of his films. I hadn't seen them before I read the script. After I signed on to the film, I did a marathon of his movies. I was really blown away.

How condensed was that marathon? That could be an intense experience.

[Laughs] I know. I stretched it out over a couple of weeks.

His style is unique. Was there any time on set when you were thinking, "Wait, what are we doing?"

Yeah. There were certain moments where there's a scene between India and Uncle Charlie on the steps, like at the end when they're talking to each other and India's been asking about the third brother. He was shooting in this way where, at a certain pivotal moment, the camera shifted. And, anyway, we weren't able to shoot it with the other actors and it was just an unusual way of doing it.

By the time you did "Alice in Wonderland," you had already done "In Treatment" and "Defiance." But with the success of "Alice," did you worry about being typecast? Did you feel that you had to do something different?

Yeah, I think there are a lot of people, a majority of people -- not that a majority of people know me -- mostly would know me from "Alice in Wonderland." So, yes, it was exposure on a level I hadn't experienced before. And it's a different genre of film to something like "In Treatment" or "Defiance" or "Stoker" or "Jane Eyre." But I just really like to do things that are different. So I've been happy post-"Alice" that people trust me to do different things.

Was it a conscious choice to do different things?

Well, it was a conscious choice. After "Alice in Wonderland," I was offered a lot of, like, "she's pale with dark circles under her eyes" kind of roles. So in that sense, it was conscious not to just do that.

What do you mean by "pale with dark circles under her eyes" roles?

I don't know -- I just got a lot of like, "she pale." [Laughs]

What was it like being name-dropped by Meryl Streep during her Golden Globes acceptance speech? She mentioned your performance in "Jane Eyre."

Oh, yeah. It was pretty awesome. I was in Australia and I wasn't watching. I got an email from my agent and it was like, "Meryl Streep is talking about you!" And I was like, "What?" It was amazing. She is the ultimate actress, so that was, like, incredible.

Have you two ever met?

No. I would love to meet her.

If you saw her at a party, you have an "in" now.

I know! It's bizarre. She's amazing.

Were there any interesting things that happened while filming "Stoker" in Nashville?

We had a regular Saturday night, you know, "let loose on the town" kind of a ritual. You know, being in Nashville, there's like a Strip, the honky-tonks. And we'd kind of go from country bar to country bar on a Saturday to kind of unleash. [Wasikowska starts dancing in her chair.]

What is that dance?

I don't know what that is! [Laughs]

Did you like honky-tonks?

It was great! I love them. They're so nonexclusive, you've got people from all ages there and it's great to see old grandparents dancing with each other and then younger people dancing. It's so inclusive, I loved it. It was totally fun -- dancing to Johnny Cash is great.

You should open a honky-tonk in Australia.

Yeah, I know!

Mike Ryan is senior writer for Huffington Post Entertainment. You can contact him directly on Twitter.

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