Former Hollywood It girl Mia Wasikowska explains her abrupt exit from the industry

Mia Wasikowska has spoken about her decision to step out of the Hollywood limelight in the late 2010s to return to her native Sydney, Australia.

The now-33-year-old actor landed her breakthrough role leading Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland (2010) opposite Johnny Depp. She was 21 at the time.

The film’s box office success catapulted Wasikowska to fame among the Hollywood “It girls” of the era.

Her career continued on an upward trajectory as she booked starring film roles in Jane Eyre (2011), Stoker (2013), Madame Bovary (2014) and Crimson Peak (2015).

However, it was just after she reprised her role as young Alice in Burton’s spinoff, Alice Through the Looking Glass (2016), that she disappeared from the big screen.

“I want to do more things in life other than be in a trailer,” Wasikowska recently told IndieWire in a new interview. “I didn’t entirely like the lifestyle of going back to back to back. I felt really disconnected from any greater community.”

“I 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.”

She continued: “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.”

Michael Fassbender as Mr Rochester and Mia Wasikowska in the title role of ‘Jane Eyre’ (Rex)
Michael Fassbender as Mr Rochester and Mia Wasikowska in the title role of ‘Jane Eyre’ (Rex)

Finally, in the late 2010s, Wasikowska chose to move back home to Sydney, where she said she’s still “pretty content”.

The actor has since been on hiatus, aside from occasional indie projects she’s taken on to collaborate with filmmakers she admires, including Mia Hansen-Løve’s 2021 Bergman Island.

It’s been some time since she’s led a film, but she’s now leading Robert Connolly’s newest title Blueback.

Wasikowska portrays Abby, a woman whose activist mother inspires her to protect a wild, blue groper fish she recently befriended.

Addressing whether or not she could ever see herself back in Hollywood full-time, she said: “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.”

Blueback is playing in cinemas now.