July 24, 1987 |
Burbank, California, US
|Residence||Queens, New York City, US|
|Occupation||Actress, screenwriter, author|
|Relatives||Ben Shapiro (cousin)|
Here is something no real celebrity will ever tell you: film acting is not very fun. Doing the same thing over and over again until, in the director's eyes, you 'get it right' does not allow for very much creative freedom… In terms of sheer adrenaline, film has absolutely nothing on theater.
Danny DeVito later told me that he knew he wanted me for 'Matilda' the second I walked in the door. I'm not sure if this is true, or if he was just being nice, but I was thrilled when I got it.
I'm originally from southern California, so I, like, say 'like', like, a lot. I've been trying to scrub any traces of Valley Girl from my speech since I moved to New York, but it's, like, totally way harder than anyone thinks, you know?
I'm pretty cautious and not very athletic, so I've only had really dumb injuries, like sprained ankles and allergic reactions. I did have to go to the hospital after slicing my finger while trying to cut a Kaiser roll in half.
If I were to talk to Lindsay Lohan, I'd encourage her to get the hell out of acting and into something soothing. Take up botany or something.
If I ever have children of my own, they will read 'Matilda.' They will watch the movie. And you can bet they will see 'Matilda: The Musical.'
I didn't want to be a former child actor for the rest of my life, although in some ways I suppose I am. I am going to be that.
Considering all the legal hassle child stars can be, I won't be surprised when they are phased out by CGI children voiced by adult actors.
I can't take much pride in my childhood acting. It feels like it happened in another lifetime, and even then, it felt like a hobby.
The celebrity aspect is nothing short of ridiculous, and auditioning is brutal and dehumanizing. Every time I see a pretty young girl on the subway reading sides for an audition, my only thought is, 'Man, am I glad I'm not doing that anymore.' I never feel nostalgia, just relief.
I don't have any plans to pursue film acting. It's not my thing anymore, if it ever was. Yes, I do still act sometimes. But when I do, it's with people I know and trust, people who respect me as a person and appreciate what I have to offer.
The best times I had on film sets were the times the director let me express myself, but those were rare.
I'd rather be known for my accomplishments, and for things that I really do take pride in, rather than known for this doll-like image I had when I was a child.
I had people in 'Entertainment Weekly' talking about how they wanted to throttle me because they thought I was too disgustingly cute, as if that were my fault, you know, as if that was my fault, not the fault of directors and producers and such.
I think if I could do it over again – as much as I loved meeting the people I did on the films after 'Matilda' – I wish that I had stopped after 'Matilda.' I wish that I had just focused on my own life for a while.
Not many child stars make it out of Hollywood alive or sane, and at any given time there are at least three former ones having very public breakdowns.
I consider my relationship with acting in Hollywood as sort of a mutual breakup. Through puberty, Hollywood didn't really want me anymore, and I was like, 'Yeah, I don't really want you, either.'
Acting is something I did when I was a kid. I do act sometimes in friends' projects, but when I do, it's just for fun. It is actually a hobby for me now. I do still love stage acting, but the day-to-day process of being an actor is so exhausting and so taxing.
I think I might like to try film again just as an experiment, but I know that I could never do the mainstream thing again.
People who meet me as an adult are often surprised that I'm alive and have never been in prison or rehab. Sometimes they're disappointed I'm not cooler.
I remember feeling enormous pressure because I didn't want to be Shirley Temple. Shirley Temple was Shirley Temple, and I didn't ever feel like I could live up to that.
I still get recognized. It's flattering, but it can be uncomfortable. Maybe because it only seems to happen when I'm looking and feeling crappy.
I don't know if I'm always going to be acting. Maybe when I grow up, I will be a scriptwriter. I already have a few scripts in my head.
When people asked me what I was going to do when I grow up, I always said, 'I'm going to be a writer. I'm going to write screenplays. I'm going to write books. I'm going to write plays. That's what I'm going to do.'
'Mrs. Doubtfire' is still a fun movie, and it's still fun to watch, but it is hard to watch myself sometimes. I get very critical. And people will say, 'Mara, you were five.' And I'm like, 'Yeah, but I still should have known better!' I'm a lifelong perfectionist, what can I say?
I've always been more of a nerdy, academic type. I loved 'Star Wars' growing up. I have three older brothers, so they were a big influence on me. We loved 'Danger Mouse,' and we love 'Monty Python'. We loved any kind of British comedy and 'Wallace and Gromit' and all of that stuff.
I think that when I was child, acting was mostly just a hobby for me. It was something that my parents encouraged me to think of the way that my brothers thought of their cross-country classes, or my little sister to dance classes and art classes, and it was something like that for me.
'Matilda' was my favorite movie to film and my favorite to watch, as well.
That's my suggestion for kids who want to act, by the way: Make sure it's really your choice, get out of it when it stops being fun, and get an education.
The next time a former child star is in the news, look at the age at which he or she started performing. Then imagine making a life-changing decision at that age. Chances are good he or she wasn't the one who made it.
I would like people to know me for who I am, especially since I think people have a very skewed image of me. I was playing a lot of cute characters, a lot of little girls; I was objectified. And I don't want people to think of me as that because it's not who I am, and because I've seen a lot of hostility towards that image.
My mother died when I was young, and I was filming all the time. I was all over the place. Acting was the one constant.
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