What happened to the original MatildaAs musical dominates Olivier awards, former child star Mara Wilson, 24, rants about how film acting 'is tedious'
23:21 GMT, 16 April 2012
She will always be remembered as the adorable seven-year-old with a magic finger able to move items around the house.
But like several child stars before her, Mara Wilson has shunned an adult career in acting, and the celebrity life that goes with it.
As the West End show Matilda The Musical dominated at the prestigious Olivier Awards, we took a look at where the star of the 1996 Hollywood film was now.
Former child star: Mara Wilson, 24, starred as the title role in Matilda in 1996 when she was seven, but has abandoned acting to study art and work as a playwright
Twenty-four-year-old Mara, who previously starred in Mrs Doubtfire at age four, only went on to have bit roles in a handful on TV shows and low-budget films, before turning her back on film acting completely.
She studied art at New York University and now works as a playwright.
In her blog, Mara Writes Stuff, last month, she said that acting was like finger-painting – something she was only good at as a child.
She explained: 'It was a fun pastime, but
it came easily to you, so you never took much pride in it. Regardless,
you got a reputation for your finger-painting. Now imagine that, fifteen
to twenty years later, people are coming up to you and telling you that
they have your finger-paintings up on their walls and that your
finger-paints changed your life.
Flashback: Mara with her on screen family, Brian Levinson, Danny De Vito and Rhea Perlman
'It’s flattering, but you haven’t finger-painted in years, and it seems like something you did a long, long time ago. You’ve realized you don’t particularly enjoy getting your hands dirty and that there are other outlets for your creative urges. But people are adamant: are you going to finger-paint again When Wait, you’re not Why not That’s what it feels like.'
She said that she is bombarded with
messages on Facebook and Twitter, but only about half took into
consideration what she wanted.
The former star said there were much
more talented, 'conventionally attractive' actresses out there who were
taking the roles 'I would have been offered', such as Anna Kendrick,
Ellen Page or Jennifer Lawrence.
Wonder child: Mara also starred in Mrs Doubtfire in 1993, at age four, with Matthew Lawrence, Lisa Jacub, Robin Williams and Sally Field
She added: '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. The best times I had on film sets were the times the
director let me express myself, but those were rare.
'My point is that film can be exciting, but more
often, it’s tedious. 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.
'The short answer is no, 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. Yes, I love
working in theater and have always loved voice-over, but pursuing a
full-time live-action film career does not appeal to me.
Mara quipped: 'And no, you will not ever see me on Dancing With The Stars. Sorry.'
Mara is very active on Twitter, with her tagline saying: 'Hi, I'm Mara. Apparently, I was mildly famous once. Now I'm a writer Please don't ask me to follow you.'
In an interview in 2009, Mara spoke about teenage girls knocking on her door at 12am to introduce themselves and invite her to parties.
She said she never went and didn't like to talk about her past as an actress, as it was like 'an embarrassing childhood memory'.
'I remember cringing a bit and thinking “Oh no, they’re going to lump me with the Olsen twins”. I’m not an Olsen twin. And the thing is, I have nothing against the Olsen twins. I’m just not like them. I’m not very glamorous; I’m a nerd. I came to NYU for academic purposes..