Cannes 2011: Mia Wasikowska on Restless

Restless – Gus Van Sant’s quirky life-and-death drama – premiered in the Un Certain Regard section of the Cannes Film Festival this week ( you can read our reaction here ).

Earlier today, we sat down with its star, Mia Wasikowska, on the beachfront of the Croisette to talk about the film and her career so far.

On her character, Annabel…

“I tried to figure out who she was outside of the story as well as in it.

I felt like she was probably an outsider who didn’t have any friends – she’s friendly but that doesn’t mean she clicks with many people – so she was probably quite an isolated person.

Then I realised after spending time with children who had terminal illnesses or were very sick that it can be very hard for their family and friends to be around them and they often end up holding it all together for their loved ones.

That made a lot of sense to me with Annabel because her character read very strong and very together and very much like – especially in her family situation – the one who held it together the best.

And often she just wants to spend time with someone who isn’t part of that – you know, she can’t talk about that stuff with her sister Elizabeth. So that’s what Enoch (Henry Hopper) provides her with.”

On the chemistry with co-star Henry Hopper…

“I think when we auditioned together we instantly clicked into this dynamic that was very much Annabel and Enoch’s dynamic.

From there we didn’t really have to do that much – we had a two week rehearsal period in which me and Gus and Henry all hung out.

We would read the scenes and everything but it was even more just a process of getting to know each other and feeling out the dynamic between us.”

On director Gus Van Sant…

“When I was a teenager – maybe when I was 14 or 15 – my mum showed me Elephant and a few of his other films.

It’s the sort of cinema that opens your mind up to the possibilities of film and the power it can have and the individuality it can be tailored to, because Gus has such a distinct and individual taste.”

On life after Alice In Wonderland

“It was exposure on a level I’d never experienced, which is mainly a very positive thing – it was great. I had a really good time making the film and I’m a big fan of Tim’s work.

It’s the best education – seeing how Tim works and now seeing how Gus works and learning from them and absorbing the whole environment that they create and they work in.”

On how she chooses her roles…

“I like to do things that challenge me and challenge the audience as well and something that’s different to what I’ve done in the past.

I think it’s really important that in order to remain interested in acting and in films you try out new things.

You definitely get the opportunity to do the same role two, three or four times – so many of the scripts in Hollywood are the same material only re-done, so I really just try and look for something that hasn’t been done before.”

Restless opens in the UK later this year.

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