Interview: Mia Wasikowska of 'Stoker'
'It was crazy; it was exciting.'
With her porcelain demeanor and sense of chill caution, Mia Wasikowska may be one of the most interesting actors of her generation; recently surrounded by CGI in Tim Burton’s “Alice,” she steps into a different kind of dreamworld in Chan-Wook Park’s “Stoker,” where her pain over losing her father is eased only by the arrival of her Uncle Charlie (Matthew Goode) … who may or may not wind up being more east than balm. We spoke with Wasikowska in Los Angeles about the film, her crash-course in piano, and more.
MSN Movies: When you read this script, it's superlatively written by Wentworth Miller, but the film is so dependent on color, and light, and camera movement, and director Park's signature style … how much of the movie were you able to see in your head, and how much did you have to take on faith?
Mia Wasikowska: It did definitely change over the course of reading it for the first time, which is usually the case. You sort of come to expect that, but definitely the tone was very evident from the beginning. The tone of India's character in the stories and the dynamic between the three characters was always sort of the same.
And when you get on set and you see how the house looks, how the costumes look, and how important how those very tangible things are, did you feel like, "Okay, they've got it. This is going to be very, very interesting"?
Yeah. It was pretty incredible. We had an amazing production designer. Everything was very meticulously thought out. The house was painted green. And then the bedroom, Eve's bedroom had this chaotic red kind of swirly wallpaper. And India's bedroom had very geometric, very ordered kind of wallpaper. So all of that like really enhances how you perceive your character.
Did it change how you perceive film -- the visuals of it -- to see it done that well, the totality of it?
Yeah. I mean definitely between costumes and production design there was a very common sort of link in between all of them, which only sort of strengthens your grasp on the character.
About quarter of the way through this film your character India goes to a thoroughly modern day high school but in her costuming for a second was like seeing an astronaut walking through "Downton Abbey." Is it great to do something that taps into a sense of a different time or a timelessness that a lot of modern films don’t?
Definitely. I think director Park wanted to make it specifically kind of, yeah, timeless in that sense that it could exist in any time, but it wasn’t to the point where the students at school wearing any uniforms or anything. It was also strangely modern, which I think is really cool. It sort of also highlights how different their family is and how different India is.
You had never played a piano before, and you did a crash course so you could perform with Mr. Goode in that emotional centerpiece scene ... but also knowing that music was written by Philip Glass.
How do you not be terrified by that?
Yeah, it was pretty crazy. It was very exciting. I was thrilled to have an excuse to learn the piano in a couple of months, and I have enough kind of obsessive focus to like love learning the piano. But yeah, I mean it's a pivotal scene for the movie, and it was slightly intimidating with there being an element of having to get the emotion in time with the fingers. As in, if one element wasn't there it was tricky … but that was probably my favorite day on set.
For more on "Stoker," check out the MSN Movies video interview: