Pin It

Mara Wilson on Being a Child Star and What Happens When “You Lose That Praise”

mara-wilsonMara Wilson is happy to prove that not all child stars end up like Amanda Bynes or Lindsay Lohan.  Wilson, who starred in Mrs. Doubtfire and Matilda back in the 90s, is actually a successful writer and playwright.  But she understands why most child stars have problems.

Wilson, who calls herself a ‘recovering child actor,’ remembers how hard it was to grow out of that cute phase.  “You lose that praise.  You lose what you had,” she said in an interview with NPR.  “And you are so used to it; it’s almost like a drug.  And all of a sudden it’s like withdrawal.  You just go off of it, and you feel very rejected.”

The 25-year-old started acting as more of a hobby than a career choice.  “I tried to take it seriously when I was on set and tried to be professional—as professional as a 6-year-old can be,” she said.  “But I don’t think I really wanted to be an actor.  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.’”

Looking back on her child star days, Wilson acknowledges that the pressure of shooting movies was incredibly high.  “I had a moment when I was a child where I was filming a scene, and a soccer ball hit me in the chest, and I had to keep on going with the scene even though I was hurt, because I didn’t know what else to do,” she recalled.  “And as soon as they yelled cut, I started crying.  Everybody on the crew burst into applause, and that made me cry harder.  My mom said, ‘No, don’t worry, they just thought you were being professional.’  And that’s the kind of thing you have to do.”

“You’re also in this environment where you realize that, ‘Hey, I can’t really make a mistake because making a mistake is going to cost time and money, and it’s not going to help out the production.’  So you realize, or you think, rather, as a child that this is something that can’t happen: I can’t make a mistake.  I have to be perfect.  I have to get it right all the time.  And that’s not a healthy mindset for a child.”

Leave a Reply

Latest Videos

http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/watch-david-mamet-in-the-1976-sh.jpg
Watch: David Mamet in the 1976 Short Documentary ‘The Playwright Directs’
Though David Mamet is best known for his distinctive writing style in his scripts for the stage and screen, he has also directed theater and film. The 1976 short documentary titled The Playwright Directs depicts Mamet directing actors through several scenes at an almost frantic pace, dispensing pearls of wisdom throughout, like his thoughts on […]
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/watch-marvels-agents-of-s-h-i-e.jpg
Watch: Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 1 Bloopers
Forgetting lines? Corpsing? Delivering lines in Spanish? Unruly props? All in a day’s work on the set of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, apparently. Clark Gregg, Ming-Na Wen, and the rest of the cast find plenty of humor while playing super-serious secret agents in the Marvel Universe. While you’re waiting for season 2 of the series […]
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/audtion-tapes-robin-wright-and-h.jpg
Audition Tapes: Robin Wright and Haley Joel Osment Audition with Tom Hanks for ‘Forrest Gump’
Check out Robin Wright auditioning for the role of Jenny from Forest Gump opposite Tom Hanks. Interestingly enough, Hanks doesn’t quite have Gump’s southern drawl down just yet while the other actors audition with him. In fact, Hanks would base Gump’s voice on the voice of Michael Conner Humphreys, who played the young Forrest and […]
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/bryan-cranston-emmy-award-speech.jpg
Watch: Bryan Cranston’s Emmy Award Speech: “I love to act. It is a passion of mine and I will do it until my last breath.”
The Emmy Awards weren’t the most exciting awards show this year but with Bryan Cranston winning for Outstanding Actor in a Drama for Breaking Bad, we at least got to hear one heck of a fantastic acceptance speech. “I was a kid who always looked for the shortcut,” he said. “I did happen to stumble […]
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/audition-tapes-gerard-butler-aud.jpg
Audition Tapes: Gerard Butler Auditions for ‘Dracula 2000′
Check out Gerard Butler auditioning for the role of Dracula in the movie, Dracula 2000. The film, about a group of thieves who break into a chamber expecting to find paintings, but instead find Dracula himself, also starred Christopher Plummer, Jonny Lee Miller and Nathan Fillion. Bulter has some sweet rock star hair, huh?