Matilda then and now

‘Where Am I Now?’ Mara Wilson Explains What Happened When Matilda Grew Up

Where Am I Now?

True Stories of Girlhood and Accidental Fame

by Mara Wilson

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Mara Wilson says that the most complicated relationship she has ever had is with a fictional 6-year-old girl. That’s because you probably know Wilson best as Matilda, from the 1996 film adaptation of Roald Dahl’s classic.

“I wanted to be her so badly … ” Wilson tells NPR’s Rachel Martin. “She’s kind of like my big sister overshadowing me.”

Wilson, now 29, was a successful child actress — you may also recognize her from her starring roles as Natalie Hillard in Mrs. Doubtfire, or as Susan Walker in Miracle on 34th Street.

Wilson struggled with the feeling that people liked her characters more than they liked her. When she was in college, a teacher suggested that she write a letter to Matilda. Wilson says that going back to Dahl’s book helped her appreciate what a privilege it had been to take on the role of the brave, bighearted little girl.

She “gained power through knowledge,” Wilson says. She was “a young girl who was intelligent, and thoughtful, and considerate of her friends, and had a strong sense of justice.” Wilson says there are a lot of girls — a lot of people — out there like that, and she suspects Matilda feels very real to them as well.

In 2000, Wilson left acting and focused on writing. She talks with Martin about her new book, Where Am I Now?

Interview Highlights

Mara Wilson’s writing has appeared in Jezebel, The Toast, McSweeney’s and The Daily Beast. She lives in New York City. Ari Scott/Penguin Books hide caption

toggle caption Ari Scott/Penguin Books

Mara Wilson’s writing has appeared in Jezebel, The Toast, McSweeney’s and The Daily Beast. She lives in New York City.

Ari Scott/Penguin Books

On whether she appreciated being a child actor at the time

I think it didn’t really resonate with me until I got Matilda. At that point I was thrilled because Matilda was a book that I had loved, a character that I had loved. But beforehand it didn’t really dawn on me, and maybe it’s just because I was too young. I was 5, 6 years old. … I remember I got to have the most amazing birthday party ever courtesy of Danny DeVito and his family. I got to travel. And, on a pragmatic level, it helped me pay for college. I’m not a millionaire, but it was a cushion.

On why she caught the eye of directors and casting agents

I think I had a good ear for dialogue from a young age — and I think that was probably because I spent a lot of time eavesdropping on my parents and my three older brothers. I loved to read from a young age, too, so because of that I could read my lines, which made things a lot easier.

On her mother dying when she was 8, and the effect it had on her acting

Sometimes I wish I had stopped after Matilda because I think that that was really the peak for me. There wasn’t really anywhere that I could go from there. So I think that I was already starting to age out of acting. … I think it would have been a good time to re-evaluate things. But I think that after my mother died, I felt like I had to keep going because film was the only constant in my life. …

I was very depressed, I was very anxious, I can barely even remember Matilda coming out. I only have vague memories of the premiere, and it was really hard for me. So I think that I definitely became kind of disenchanted with acting, with Hollywood, while, at the same time, it was a crutch for me. It was something where, when it was done, I didn’t know what to do with myself.

On being a child actor who is no longer a child

They always want child actors to play parts that are a few years younger than they are, but when you’re a 12-, 13-year-old girl and your body’s changing and your voice is changing, you can’t. I couldn’t play 10 anymore. I didn’t look 10 anymore. I wasn’t as cute anymore because I looked halfway between a child and an adult — which is what puberty is. People didn’t know what to do with me, and I knew it, and I felt it, and it really hurt.

On going through puberty

I was on the set of a movie called Thomas and the Magic Railroad. … I came to set one day after a few months away, and people were kind of giving each other worried looks. … And I had to have the director come and sit with me and explain to me that my body was changing.

Wilson was already 12 when she played 10-year-old Lily in Thomas and the Magic Railroad. She says going through puberty on set was intensely humiliating. Paul Vathis/AP hide caption

toggle caption Paul Vathis/AP

Wilson was already 12 when she played 10-year-old Lily in Thomas and the Magic Railroad. She says going through puberty on set was intensely humiliating.

Paul Vathis/AP

I was horrified, I felt embarrassed, I felt like I had done something wrong even though I hadn’t. They brought out these sports bras that were basically binders — they were meant to bind my chest. I felt completely humiliated. … When you’re in middle school, when you’re a preteen, you always worry: Is everybody talking about me behind my back? And everybody was.

On leaving acting behind

There wasn’t like one big moment where I knew I was done. … The rejection hurt because it had been just such a prominent part of my life for so long. It had been the thing that defined me.

I remember in college I would sleep through my acting classes — I would self-sabotage — because I was so afraid to let people see me as an actor. I was at NYU and I knew there were a lot of good actors there, and the thing about acting classes is you’re playing parts you don’t usually play. … not be afraid to make mistakes. Well, I was terrified; I was frozen with fear.

That’s when I started focusing more on writing. Writing I’d always loved. Even on the sets of various movies, I would always be in my trailer writing stories — usually very similar to whatever Judy Blume or Beverly Cleary or Bruce Coville book I was reading at the time — but I loved to write. I started writing dialogue, and I started doing performance pieces — like 10-minute solo performance pieces — and eventually I did a one-woman show, and that felt so much more real than being on a set every day.

There’s a saying … “If you can live without it, you should,” and I found that I could.

More With Mara Wilson

On where she is now

I feel good about myself, and I feel like I’m sort of in control of my own story and my own narrative. Which is a really good feeling to have, because I don’t think I had that when I was a child. I felt like somebody else was always telling my story or making up stories about me. … Making up stories and telling stories, and telling true stories, has always been what I wanted to do, and it is what I am still doing.

MIRACLE on 34th Street is one of the most heartwarming Christmas movies – and the little girl from the movie definitely stole the show.

The character of little Susan Walker was played by child actor Mara Wilson in the 1994 classic film, but what has she done since?

6 Remember the sweet little girl from Miracle on 34th Street? She’s been in a few TV shows recentlyCredit: Kobal Collection –

You may remember Mara as also playing Matilda a year later, when she was just nine years old.

The young star had also made a name for herself when she played the role of Robin Williams’ daughter in the 1993 movie Mrs Doubtfire.

After Matilda, she suffered the tragic loss of her mother and only took on a couple more roles before bowing out for a 12 year break.

She recently starred in the TV series BoJack Horseman and released her book, Where Am I Now?

6 The character of little Susan Walker was played by child actor Mara Wilson in the 1994 classic filmCredit: Kobal Collection – 6 Mara Wilson recently starred in the TV series BoJack Horseman and released her book, Where Am I Now?Credit: Getty – Contributor

In 2016, she

Opening up about her surreal childhood, Mara explained: “I never meant to become famous. I grew up in Los Angeles and child was acting, it was almost like a hobby.”

She also discussed how the sad loss of her mother – shortly after she finished filming Matilda – affected her life.

Mara revealed: “Danny DeVito took the film Matilda and showed it to my dying mother while she was in hospital so she could get the chance to see it.

“She loved the book and I found that very heartening. I didn’t know that for a while.”

6 In 2016, she shocked fans as she made a surprise appearance on Lorraine via a video link as part of her book promotionCredit: Getty – Contributor 6 Mara also starred in Matilda and Mrs DoubtfireCredit: Kobal Collection –

The actress revealed in her book that she discovered she was going through puberty when a casting director suggested she wear training bras.

She shared how she stumbled across pornography websites which promised nude images of her, and pictures of her feet when she was just 12-years-old.

She read a website that remarked that she was entering “the awkward years, when she’ll be old enough to have breasts, but not old enough to show them legally.”

Mara added: “The next page of search results linked to a website with a description that said, ‘If you want Mara Wilson nude and sex pictures, click here.’”

6 According to Celebrity Net Worth, Mara has an estimated net worth of £344,000 ($500,000)Credit: Twitter / @MaraWilson

Mara has shunned the limelight after a successful career and worked as a playwright, but has done some acting projects in recent years.

These include the TV series Big Hero 6 in 2018 and starring as a waitress in 2016.

She boasts an impressive 425,000 followers on Twitter, and keeps fans updated as to her latest ventures.

After the 2016 Orlando shootings in which gay men were targeted at a nightclub, Mara came out as bisexual.

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Mara Wilson says that the most complicated relationship she has ever had is with a fictional 6-year-old girl. That’s because you probably know Wilson best as Matilda, from the 1996 film adaptation of Roald Dahl’s classic.

“I wanted to be her so badly … ” Wilson tells NPR’s Rachel Martin. “She’s kind of like my big sister overshadowing me.”

Wilson, now 29, was a successful child actress — you may also recognize her from her starring roles as Natalie Hillard in Mrs. Doubtfire, or as Susan Walker in Miracle on 34th Street.

Wilson struggled with the feeling that people liked her characters more than they liked her. When she was in college, a teacher suggested that she write a letter to Matilda. Wilson says that going back to Dahl’s book helped her appreciate what a privilege it had been to take on the role of the brave, bighearted little girl.

She “gained power through knowledge,” Wilson says. She was “a young girl who was intelligent, and thoughtful, and considerate of her friends, and had a strong sense of justice.” Wilson says there are a lot of girls — a lot of people — out there like that, and she suspects Matilda feels very real to them as well.

In 2000, Wilson left acting and focused on writing. She talks with Martin about her new book, Where Am I Now?

On whether she appreciated being a child actor at the time

I think it didn’t really resonate with me until I got Matilda. At that point I was thrilled because Matilda was a book that I had loved, a character that I had loved. But beforehand it didn’t really dawn on me, and maybe it’s just because I was too young. I was 5, 6 years old. … I remember I got to have the most amazing birthday party ever courtesy of Danny DeVito and his family. I got to travel. And, on a pragmatic level, it helped me pay for college. I’m not a millionaire, but it was a cushion.

On why she caught the eye of directors and casting agents

I think I had a good ear for dialogue from a young age — and I think that was probably because I spent a lot of time eavesdropping on my parents and my three older brothers. I loved to read from a young age, too, so because of that I could read my lines, which made things a lot easier.

On her mother dying when she was 8, and the effect it had on her acting

Sometimes I wish I had stopped after Matilda because I think that that was really the peak for me. There wasn’t really anywhere that I could go from there. So I think that I was already starting to age out of acting. … I think it would have been a good time to re-evaluate things. But I think that after my mother died, I felt like I had to keep going because film was the only constant in my life. …

I was very depressed, I was very anxious, I can barely even remember Matilda coming out. I only have vague memories of the premiere, and it was really hard for me. So I think that I definitely became kind of disenchanted with acting, with Hollywood, while, at the same time, it was a crutch for me. It was something where, when it was done, I didn’t know what to do with myself.

I looked halfway between a child and an adult. … People didn’t know what to do with me, and I knew it, and I felt it, and it really hurt.

Former child actor Mara Wilson

On being a child actor who is no longer a child

They always want child actors to play parts that are a few years younger than they are, but when you’re a 12-, 13-year-old girl and your body’s changing and your voice is changing, you can’t. I couldn’t play 10 anymore. I didn’t look 10 anymore. I wasn’t as cute anymore because I looked halfway between a child and an adult — which is what puberty is. People didn’t know what to do with me, and I knew it, and I felt it, and it really hurt.

On going through puberty

I was on the set of a movie called Thomas and the Magic Railroad. … I came to set one day after a few months away, and people were kind of giving each other worried looks. … And I had to have the director come and sit with me and explain to me that my body was changing.

Wilson was already 12 when she played 10-year-old Lily in Thomas and the Magic Railroad. She says going through puberty on set was intensely humiliating. (Paul Vathis/AP)

I was horrified, I felt embarrassed, I felt like I had done something wrong even though I hadn’t. They brought out these sports bras that were basically binders — they were meant to bind my chest. I felt completely humiliated. … When you’re in middle school, when you’re a preteen, you always worry: Is everybody talking about me behind my back? And everybody was.

On leaving acting behind

There wasn’t like one big moment where I knew I was done. … The rejection hurt because it had been just such a prominent part of my life for so long. It had been the thing that defined me.

I remember in college I would sleep through my acting classes — I would self-sabotage — because I was so afraid to let people see me as an actor. I was at NYU and I knew there were a lot of good actors there, and the thing about acting classes is you’re playing parts you don’t usually play. … not be afraid to make mistakes. Well, I was terrified; I was frozen with fear.

That’s when I started focusing more on writing. Writing I’d always loved. Even on the sets of various movies, I would always be in my trailer writing stories — usually very similar to whatever Judy Blume or Beverly Cleary or Bruce Coville book I was reading at the time — but I loved to write. I started writing dialogue, and I started doing performance pieces — like 10-minute solo performance pieces — and eventually I did a one-woman show, and that felt so much more real than being on a set every day.

There’s a saying … “If you can live without it, you should,” and I found that I could.

On where she is now

I feel good about myself, and I feel like I’m sort of in control of my own story and my own narrative. Which is a really good feeling to have, because I don’t think I had that when I was a child. I felt like somebody else was always telling my story or making up stories about me. … Making up stories and telling stories, and telling true stories, has always been what I wanted to do, and it is what I am still doing.

Copyright NPR 2020.

I can’t remember my life before her.

She was “born” the year after I was—1988—but in many ways, she’s been like a big sister: someone I have admired, someone I have aspired to be like, and at times, someone I have resented. On some level, she’s an archetype, beloved and widely appreciated. On another, I feel as if we have a unique connection—that I am one of the privileged few who really understands her.

She is, of course, Matilda Wormwood, from the novel Matilda.

Childhood can be a dark and scary time, and no one knew that better than Matilda’s creator, Roald Dahl. He could be a bit of a curmudgeon, and was never shy in his books about denouncing the things he disliked, from animal abuse to chewing gum. Matilda, I believe, displays what he considered to be the best virtues: a love of learning and an innate sense of justice, courage, warmth, and a dry wit. She’s thoughtful and self-confident, but never obsessive or conceited. She is extraordinary, but never elitist. She’s perfect.

Sir Quentin Blake, who illustrated many of Roald Dahl’s novels, has imagined a world of possibilities for a 30-year-old Matilda—including a career as a world traveler.

Courtesy of Quentin Blake.

If we count the book as her birthdate, she would be 30 years old this autumn. But in the book, as well as the film and musical based on the novel, she’s forever a child. For a long time, it was hard for me to imagine what she would be like as an adult. How could someone so self-actualized, who had learned and done so much as a child, ever really grow up? Would she continue to inspire others, the way the book and film about her continue to do? What do you do when you’ve read every book in the library and banished a tyrant by age seven?

“Hey, Matilda! Show us your magic powers!”

From elementary school to college, I heard that at least once a week. Even now, when people approach me about Matilda—the 1996 film in which I played the title role—they always want to know more about her magic powers. Hundreds have told me that after seeing the movie, they tried to move glasses or slam doors using their mind. They’ve asked me if I did that, too. No, I always want to say, of course not. I saw how the magic was actually done—though special effects are magical, in their own Arthur C. Clarke-ian way.

I suppose I can’t blame them for asking. The powers—or “miracles,” as they’re called in the book—make for some of the most exciting parts of Matilda. Who doesn’t want to see a levitating piece of chalk write a ghostly message, or a television explode? Still, I’ve been frustrated by it, because I believe they’re missing the point: Matilda’s story is allegorical. Reading and education do give you powers, just not necessarily telepathic ones.

Mara Wilson discusses being diagnosed with mental illness aged 12

“I was always a very anxious child,” Mara Wilson says, minutes after our first introduction. It becomes clear from the very beginning of our interview that Wilson is as candid as they come. She’s prepared to bare all when it comes to her mental health, a topic of conversation that’s very close to her heart.

Meeting the former child actor is somewhat surreal. While there is a clear distinction between 31-year-old Mara and the telekinetic Matilda who she played in 1996, she emanates a level of intelligence, charisma and charm that one can’t help but compare to Roald Dahl’s beloved character.

The second I walk into the room to conduct our interview at a hotel near Tottenham Court Road, she lights up with a beaming smile, standing up to shake my hand and complimenting me on my choice of pink nail polish. More than two decades spent in the public eye has clearly left Wilson with impressive interpersonal skills and a very firm handshake.

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Sharing the full story, not just the headlines

Many people would say that Mara Wilson shaped their childhood, starring in Mrs Doubtfire at six years old and taking on the titular role of Matilda just a few years later. However, she’s now helping to shape people’s present and future by raising awareness of mental health issues and sharing her own story as part of her new role as an ambassador for Texas-based charity Okay to Say.

Born the fourth of five children in Burbank, California, Wilson’s acting career began with a series of commercials, before being cast as Robin Williams’ daughter in the hit film about a father who dresses up as his family’s female, elderly housekeeper. Wilson’s journey to stardom took off rapidly from there, starring in a number of high-profile films in very quick succession of one another.

On the surface, Wilson was the epitome of a child star of the 1990s, globally recognised and universally loved. However, under the surface, her struggles with mental illness were steadily growing, exacerbated by her mother’s breast cancer diagnosis in 1995 and death the following year.

Mara Wilson speaks to Sabrina Barr about her experiences with mental health issues (Photo courtesy of Okay to Say, Jon Hatcher)

Ahead of the Global Summit on Mental Health Culture Change taking part in London this week to mark World Mental Health Day, we spoke to Wilson all about the importance of detecting mental illness in children as early as possible, drawing on her own experiences, and the progression that still needs to be made to destigmatise mental health once and for all.

While one may assume that being on fast-paced film sets throughout her childhood may have caused her mental health to worsen, the truth was actually quite contrary, with Wilson describing the environment as “very free and supported, from what I can remember.”

It was only when shooting stopped for various film projects and Wilson had to return to the humdrum of everyday life that her anxiety began to take a stronger hold on her life. “I think that not having that in my life probably felt like coming down from some kind of high,” she says in retrospect, a pensive expression on her face.

After filming wrapped for Matilda in the mid-1990s, Wilson began to experience panic attacks for the first time. A few years later, at the age of 12, she was diagnosed with OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder), depression and panic disorder.

The signs that she had been suffering from mental health issues had been in clear sight for a number of years. Following the death of her mother, to whom Matilda was dedicated, Wilson began to experience symptoms indicative of a person with OCD.

“That’s when I started washing my hands obsessively until they were red and raw and chapped,” she explains. “That’s when I started thinking that certain numbers were good or bad, that’s when I started thinking ‘I can’t walk in that crack, I can’t walk through that door, or I have to do it a certain way’. That’s when it started really affecting me.”

One of Wilson’s primary aims as an ambassador for Okay to Say is to encourage people to learn how to detect mental illness among children as early as possible so as to make sure that they’re provided with the care and treatment that they need. For Wilson, finally receiving a medical diagnosis after years of panic attacks and anxiety gave her an enormous sense of relief. While she was often described as “anxious” throughout her formative years, she explains that adults were initially reluctant to have her formerly diagnosed.

“The day I got was one of the best days of my life, because I knew that I was not alone anymore,” she says with a smile stretching from ear to ear. “I knew that there were people out there that had what I had, and I knew that there was treatment for it. I was 12 years old and I was thrilled that I was finally diagnosed.”

Mental illness affects approximately one in 10 children and young people, as outlined by the Mental Health Foundation. However, the charity states that 70 per cent of children and young people living with a mental health issue did not receive treatment or care as early as possible.

One of the obstacles that people who suffer from mental illness face is the stigmatisation of mental health that still exists in today’s day and age, an issue that Wilson feels extremely passionate about. She rolls her eyes as I mention the flippant way in which many people reference “depression” and “OCD” in everyday conversation, evidently exasperated by the frequent improper use of the terms.

“It annoys me when people talk about OCD as a personality trait, because I think that one of the reasons that I didn’t get treatment for a long time is because I thought OCD was just an attribute,” Wilson says.

“People who are obsessive compulsive, they don’t like having things clean necessarily, or they don’t like washing their hands a lot. They don’t like these things – it’s that they have to, they need it. It’s not a preference thing, it’s a deep thing within them.”

A very significant aspect of the conversation surrounding mental health is the different way that men and women approach the topic. Charity Recovery Against Mental Health reports that women are more likely than men to receive treatment for a mental illness. However, this could be a case of women feeling more comfortable talking about their emotional wellbeing, with men frequently being taught growing up that talking openly about their mental state is a show of weakness.

I was intrigued to hear Wilson’s views on the way in which mental health is especially stigmatised around men. Her concise answer was symptomatic of a true wordsmith: “I think that women are not expected to be angry and men are only expected to be angry,” she says with a knowing glint in her eye.

Shape Created with Sketch. Sow Ay illustrations on mental health

Show all 18 left Created with Sketch. right Created with Sketch.

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A clear example of this is the recent comparison made between Serena Williams and Brett Kavanaugh, with the former expressing her anger during the US Open final and the latter expressing his during a hearing in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee. “Funny how a black female tennis player is held to a higher standard to keep her emotions in check than a Supreme Court nominee,” former journalist Deborah Ross tweeted.

Wilson’s ability to string words together in a sharp-witted and epigrammatic manner has helped her build a very strong presence on social media, amassing a following of 420,000 on Twitter. While Wilson uses social media to make witty quips, connect with her fans and discuss important issues that she wants to shine a light on, she does acknowledge the negative impact that using social media excessively or improperly can have on a person’s emotional state.

“You can have real connections on social media but it isn’t real life, necessarily,” she says. “That is not who you are. That is just an extension of yourself and that is a representation of yourself.”

This week, in addition to the Global Summit on Mental Health Culture Change, Wilson and Okay to Say will also be attending Thrive LDN Culture, a film festival where participants aged between 15 and 24 are being encouraged to submit short films about their experiences with mental health issues.

While Okay to Say provides support and resources for those who are living with or suffering from mental illness, part of the charity’s aim is to also consider the family and friends of those affected.

Looking back on her childhood as a Hollywood starlet living with mental health issues that she didn’t fully understand, Wilson is emphatic that her relatives were as loving and supportive as they could have possibly been, especially considering the devastating impact that the loss of her mother had on her family.

Now looking ahead to the future, the author of Where Am I Now?: True Stories of Girlhood and Accidental Fame is full of verve and purpose as she embraces her role as a mental health campaigner, striving to make misconceptions attached to mental illness a thing of the past.

“I would say I’m optimistic. I definitely think it’s changed since I was first diagnosed. We still have a while to go, we still have disorders that we don’t understand,” she says. “We’ll talk about mental health but maybe not take action on it, but I am feeling optimistic about it.

“I am glad that I am able to help in any way.”

We’re Here For Mara Wilson Calling out Critics Who Find Her “Too Opinionated”

Mara Wilson, who was our collective childhood hero as Matilda and continues to be our hero in adulthood, has had enough of people using her childhood role in an attempt to discredit her. Wilson is actively political on Twitter, kicking ass and taking names, and she’s pushing back against her more conservative critics.

I love when people call me Matilda when they think I’m being too opinionated or political

Because Matilda, who incited a riot at her school and got rid of an abusive tyrant at age six, wouldn’t be political at all

— Mara “Get Rid of the Nazis” Wilson (@MaraWilson) June 24, 2019

She’s right; Matilda was a freaking icon. She not only faced off against her cruel, uncaring parents but against the evil Mrs. Trunchbull, who would lock children in a cage if they misbehaved. Her voracious desire to read probably led to her consuming a great number of political texts as she grew up, further encouraging her to take a stand against injustice. If you think Matilda would be apolitical or conservative, you misread the book and certainly didn’t watch the movie.

But Wilson is more of a hero than her famous role. A talented writer and vocal activist, her Twitter is a joy to behold. Seriously, if you’re not already following her, do so today.

People don’t like it when a celebrity’s politics run contrary to theirs. They especially don’t like it when a woman, especially one who’s political leaning trends left, gets politically vocal. Words like “opinionated” get tossed around, as if having opinions is a bad thing. Men rarely get called “opinionated” with that connotation; it’s a term that seems solely designed to attack women who don’t sit there and keep their politics to themselves.

Not to generalize, but this especially happens when celebrities speak out against the current American administration. Celebrities are told to shut up, that they’re out of touch, and that no one cares about their opinions. Again, this goes doubly for women. Wilson has never shied away from being vocal, though, even as Twitter remains a hellscape. She uses her privileges for good, which means she’s exactly like her heroic role in Matilda.

The Internet rallied around her in agreement that Matilda is not an insult.

Matilda was a tiny, but vitally important feminist icon only uncultured swine fail to understand this

— Yvonne 🌐 (@Yvonne_Nicole_) June 24, 2019

Matilda was my social justice awakening. Not even out of primary school, and she understood that tyrants must be toppled. She’d be out there fighting fascists left, right, and center.

— Bree NicGarran, Writer & Witch 🏳️‍🌈🕯 (@BreeNicGarran) June 24, 2019

Keep on giving it to the Trunchbulls of the world.

— Andrew (@AndrewSnarks) June 24, 2019

“Oooh you were in a widely beloved film about a badass kid who took no shit, what a burn”

— Hannah Wears the Lilac 🕊 (@harleylecter) June 24, 2019

Wilson is going to be our hero forever, it seems. Thank goodness for Matilda continuing to save the day and put assholes in their place.

(image: Amy Sussman/Getty Images)

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Mara Wilson Hated Being a Movie Star

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Former child star Mara Wilson is letting people know that acting and celebrity are not all that they are cracked up to be. Us Weekly took note of a blog post that the now 24-year-old Wilson wrote in March on the subject and shared its main points with readers yesterday.

Although many of us have fond memories of cute little Wilson, with her bangs and impish grin, from family-friendly fare like “Mrs. Doubtfire,” “Miracle on 34th Street,” and “Matilda,” the actress herself doesn’t. “Film acting is not very fun,” she writes. “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.”

Now working off stage and behind the scenes, mainly as a playwright, she says: “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.”

Wilson was born in Los Angeles into a large family. She has three older brothers and a younger sister. Her mother, Suzie Shapiro Wilson, died of breast cancer in 1996, while Wilson was filming “Matilda.”

Wilson went to the Idyllwild Arts Academy near Palm Springs, California, and graduated in 2009 from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. Although she has no interest in returning to a live-action film career, she says she is happy to do voice-over work and loves the theater. She is not at all opposed to doing some acting, 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,” she emphasizes.

And just in case her fans weren’t totally clear on her message, she closes her blog post with: “And no, you will not ever see me on ‘Dancing With The Stars.’ Sorry.”