Mia Wasikowska: Billion-Dollar Baby Is No Plain 'Jane'

Mia WasikowskaFor the highest-grossing actress in the world, according to Forbes.com, Jane Eyre lead Mia Wasikowska doesn't seem too concerned with salary amount when choosing a film.

"It's not like I would ignore it, but it depends," she told WalletPop recently. "It always depends on what the project is. Firstly and primarily, I would rather do something that is fulfilling."

Easy to say when your movies have earned a cool $1.03 billion at the box office within a year. Easy to say when you're able to mix a mega-blockbuster like Alice in Wonderland with a hit indie like the Oscar-nominated best picture, The Kids are All Right. Wasikowska next inhabits everyone's favorite empowered governess, Jane Eyre, in a new cinema version that opens March 11.Only Leo DiCaprio (Inception, Shutter Island), at $1.1 billion, stood in Wasikowska's way as the top ticket-earner last year. It should be noted that Forbes based its list on nothing other than what the actors' movies made when they were in the lead. So please spare us the comments that Alice director Tim Burton or costar Johnny Depp perhaps had more to do with putting butts in the velvet seats. Those figures still carry a lot of digits and she was Alice.

Wasikowska, a poised 21-year-old from Australia, has made herself more in demand by being able to trade English-speaking accents as if they were frocks she could pick out of her closet. She plays the American daughter of a lesbian couple in The Kids Are All Right with a dead-on Yank accent. In Jane Eyre, she uses what she called "not a completely polished" English accent.

Asked by WalletPop if accents make her more marketable, she replied, "Once I sort of establish an accent with a character, I can't imagine them without it. It sort of adds a different challenge and dimension and I really like doing that. I'm not sure in terms of how it's perceived."

Wasikowska also couldn't put a monetary benefit on working with actors such as Oscar winner Judi Dench, who plays a housekeeper in Jane Eyre. Might it be a better payoff than shelling out big bucks for drama school?

"I've learned much from everyone I've worked with," she said, "and it's an accelerated education. A lot of people ask me what's the best advice I've gotten and it's not that people go around giving me advice. It's just watching how people carry themselves in situations. That's really cool."

Wasikowska became somewhat known in the States with an arc on the therapy drama In Treatment and will next appear in Gus Van Sant's Restless. Van Sant hasn't been generating large ticket sales of late, but if you're an actor whose films have already earned their first billion in one calendar, you can afford to be choosy.

Said the actress: "So far I've really enjoyed being part of the smaller productions."
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