Growing up, I wanted to put child actress Mara Wilson, star of Matilda, Miracle on 34th Street and Mrs. Doubtfire, in my pocket, bring her out to say fun things and then put her back in my pocket. She was just so damn cute and precocious! I was clearly not the only one who felt this way, and the whole being-a-super-adorable-child-actor thing presented a problem for the very real Mara, who decided to leave Hollywood behind after 2000’s Thomas & the Magic Railroad.
Since leaving Tinsel Town, Wilson – who went on to study at New York University and now works as a playwright -- has remained mum about her early exit but has finally addressed her departure in a recent blog post.
"Imagine that when you were a child, you liked to finger-paint. 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, 15 to 29 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. 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."
Despite hearing from her fans on Facebook and Twitter "nearly every day," she doesn't lament not being in movies. "Film acting is not very fun," she blogged. "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."
She also talked candidly about not liking the celebrity aspect of acting, adding: "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 former child star also reiterated she has no desire to come to movies, and that she doesn’t "have any plans to pursue film acting. It's not my 'thing' anymore, if it ever was. Yes, I do still act [on stage] 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."
Unlike many of her contemporaries, who can’t get enough of the limelight, Wilson seems happy to remain where she is and has no inclination to resume her 15 minutes of fame. "And no, you will never see me on Dancing With the Stars. Sorry."
Sounds like despite all the Hollywood hoopla of her childhood, Mara has a really good head on her shoulders. And yep, I still want to put her in my pocket.
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