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'Alice in Wonderland': We asked Alice

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Mia Wasikowska’s life is getting curiouser and curiouser. The Australian actress, 20, can tell that she’s becoming a household name simply because more people can say her name (Vah-shee-KOV-ska). ”I’d say it’s up to fifty-fifty now,” she says, ”which is big!” Wasikowska was best known for her work on HBO’s In Treatment when she was cast as Alice in 2008, a role for which she had to audition five times. ”I was just ecstatic,” she says of hearing she’d gotten the part. She’d be working with Tim Burton and Johnny Depp, whose films she’d grown up on. (Her favorites? Edward Scissorhands and Ed Wood.) The first days of shooting were ”like joining this established family,” she says, though ”it didn’t take long for me to feel very much at home.” She was thrilled to get a close view of Depp’s process and see ”how he completely owns a character.” Even months after wrapping, Wasikowska — who’ll appear in the Sundance hit The Kids Are All Right (out in July), team with director Gus Van Sant on the coming-of-age drama Restless (date TBD), and topline a film version of Jane Eyre (due in 2011) — recalls the experience as if through a looking glass. ”It was a completely different world from my own, so in that respect it was like Wonderland. Joining a very strange world and meeting some really interesting, weird characters.”

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