Mia Wasikowska: Billion dollar debutante

Youth Impact Report 2010: Bigscreen Kids

In 2008, Mia Wasikowska found herself on the Variety “10 Actors to Watch” list due to her work as a suicidal teenage gymnast on the HBO series “In Treatment.”

Just two years later, the actress — who turned 21 this month — has most certainly lived up to the billing.

In March, she starred in the title role of one of the year’s biggest blockbusters, Tim Burton’s “Alice in Wonderland,” which grossed more than $1 billion worldwide. She followed that up by playing the angstridden daughter of two lesbian moms in Sundance hit “The Kids Are All Right,” which earned more than $20 million this summer.

It’s a mighty leap for the Australian-born Wasikowska, who, besides “In Treatment,” was previously best known for her work in 2006 crocodile

horror film “Rogue,” which costarred fellow Aussie Sam Worthington, and the tiny 2009 drama “That Evening Sun,” which garnered her a Film Independent Spirit Award nomination. But her TV appearance demonstrated there was something special about the actress, as her “Kids” director

Lisa Cholodenko recalls: “My sister had said to me a year before we cast, ‘Have you ever seen that HBO show “In Treatment?” Because there’s this girl that I think would be good for your movie.’ And it was Mia. So I watched the show and thought she was very interesting. Then she put

herself on tape when we were finally casting, and I just had faith that she had something going on that was very unusual. She’s just great in this ‘gonna be a star’ kinda way.”

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