Why Alice In Wonderland Actress Mia Wasikowska Stepped Away From Hollywood

Mia Wasikowska in Blueback
(Image credit: Roadshow Films)

During the 2010s, Mia Wasikowska was one of those actresses who continuously landed big-screen roles. The Australian star rose to prominence in the United States thanks to her leading role in Tim Burton’s 2010 movie Alice in Wonderland, which got the sequel treatment via 2016's Alice Through the Looking Glass. From there, she went back and forth between mainstream movies and independent films and has seemingly removed herself from the spotlight in recent years. Now, Wasikowska is explaining her decision to step away from Hollywood.

Both studio and indie projects kept the actress very busy over the last decade, as she took on the role of Jane Eyre, starred in the Oscar-nominated dramedy The Kids Are Alright and had a key role in Guillermo Del Toro's Crimson Peak. But after completing Alice Through the Looking Glass, which became a flop, Mia Wasikowska decided to stick with smaller features that filmed in Australia. The now-33-year-old actress told IndieWire that a sense of isolation from her home country played into her decision to leave Los Angeles:

I didn’t entirely like the lifestyle of going back to back to back. I felt really disconnected from any greater community. was doing it since I had been 17, well more like 15, but really working a lot from 17, I spent 10 to 15 years, completely like, new city, new country, every three months, and it’s like starting school again every few months. Especially when you’re younger, when you don’t have that base, I found that really hard. At the same time, maybe if the payoff is good and you feel really great doing it, then that’s OK, but I didn’t, so I wanted to establish that for myself on a personal level and have more of a sense of somewhere I belong that’s not just on a film set that ends every few weeks.

Now that she's in her 30s, it seems like the star is putting a lot of focus on her personal pleasure. She clearly still has a passion for acting but just wants her journey to be more of a gradual one compared to the constant grind that comes with Hollywood. As her recent roles had her delving into the “perky psychopath” trope in movies like Maps to the Stars, Crimson Peak, and The Devil All the Time, her latest part in the Australian drama Blueback is more inspirational. It sees her play the adult version of a young girl who befriends a wild blue groper and makes it her mission to protect the ecosystem from destruction. The movie premiered in Australia earlier this year and currently 72% critic rating on Rotten Tomatoes

We may not see Mia Wasikowska in too many mainstream projects in the U.S. these days, but she still seems to be very popular with Australian audiences. With that, one has to wonder whether she'd ever consider returning to Tinseltown at some point. On that notion, she said:

I’m pretty content. If I can have the best of both worlds, which is dip in and out of it occasionally, I’d be really happy, but I wouldn’t ever be in that place where I was just on a treadmill. I want to do more things in life other than be in a trailer. It’s great, and there are lots of great things, [but] the perception of it is quite different from the reality and it didn’t suit me as a person. You can really lose perspective because you’re treated quite strangely. When that’s your only reality, it’s quite strange.

Mia Wasikowska is indeed lucky enough to have the option to “dip in and out” of acting projects and still have stable footing in the business. If there are any roles that Wasikowska regrets not taking, though, it's the Academy Award-nominated movie Carol. She explained that because shooting for the LGBT romance got pushed back, she took on Crimson Peak. This led to Rooney Mara replacing her, and she ended up being nominated for Best Supporting Actress at the Oscars. But Wasikowska seems to understand the realities of the business and is clearly living her best life away from Hollywood.

Be sure to check out our 2023 movie releases just in case the star makes something that finds its way to mainstream audiences. And in case you have an itch to rewatch her Alice in Wonderland flicks, you can stream them using a Disney+ subscription.

Carly Levy
Entertainment Writer

Just your average South Floridian cinephile who believes the pen is mightier than the sword.