Also Credited As:Mia Wasikoska
|October 14, 1989|
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Born in Canberra, Australia on Oct. 14, 1989, Wasikowska (pronounced vash-i-KOV-ska) was initially attracted to ballet, and from the ages of nine to 15, trained extensively to become a professional dancer. However, the stress inherent to the pursuit of dance made Wasikowska seek other outlets for her creative energy, including acting. She began her professional career in that field with the Australian medical drama "All Saints" (Seven Network, 1998-2009), and moved quickly into film, first in a trio of shorts, followed by a supporting role in the award-winning "Suburban Mayhem" (2006), about a malevolent teenage mother (Emily Barclay) who plans to murder her father. Wasikowska, who played her naïve manicurist friend, received a nomination for a Young Actor's Award from the Australian Film Institute for her performance.
After the success of "Mayhem," Wasikowska's career continued to gain momentum with roles in a wide variety of projects, ranging from the youth drama, "September" (2007), which cast her as a young girl who comes between a pair of racially diverse friends, to the horror film, "Rogue" (2007), where she was one of a handful of tourists fighting for survival against a massive, man-eating crocodile. The following year, she made an impressive debut stateside on the first season of the HBO drama, "In Treatment." As a teenage gymnast who struggles with thoughts of suicide, Wasikowska was widely praised for the sensitivity of her performance, as well as for a convincing American accent.
The critical reaction to Wasikowska's work on "In Treatment" resulted in a string of well-received American features which, while not blockbusters, did much to boost her standing in Hollywood as an up-and-coming talent. "Defiance" (2008) was her first U.S. movie; the World War II drama, which starred Daniel Craig and Liev Schreiber as Polish brothers who fight against the Nazis, cast her as the love interest of their youngest sibling (Jamie Bell). She followed it with "Amelia" (2008), the critically panned biopic of aviatrix Amelia Earhart. In the box office disappointment, Wasikowska played Elinor Smith, another real-life female pioneer of flight and a direct competitor to Earhart.
The following year saw Wasikowska's profile blossom exponentially with the announcement that director Tim Burton had cast her as an empowered, teenaged Alice in his "Alice in Wonderland" (2010), a sequel of sorts to the original Lewis Carroll story. The film's high-powered cast, which included Johnny Depp, Anne Hathaway and Helena Bonham Carter, helped brighten the international spotlight on Wasikowska, who was quietly biding her time prior to filming the Burton project in the indie drama, "That Evening Sun" (2009). The feature, with Hal Holbrook in a career-defining performance as an elderly farmer who finds his family home occupied by a churlish husband (Ray McKinnon) and his abused wife and daughter (Carrie Preston and Wasikowska), earned numerous awards for its cast, including Wasikowska, who received an Independent Spirit Award nomination as Best Supporting Female.
While waiting for the inevitable avalanche of attention that would follow the release of "Alice," Wasikowska landed substantial parts in several major features, including "The Kids Are All Right," in which she played the daughter of a same-sex couple (Annette Bening and Julianne Moore) who sets out to find her biological father (Mark Ruffalo). She was also widely reported in the press as being in contention for the lead in Cary Joji Fukanaga's film adaptation of "Jane Eyre" (2010).