Matilda’s Mara Wilson Visits With I Live In Dallas Before Her 2017 Fan Days Debut


Dallas Fan Days 2017 will have its fair share of pop icons in attendance, but arguably none as nostalgic as actress Mara Wilson. You may recognize Mara from her childhood roles in classic 90s movies such as Matilda, Mrs. Doubtfire, and Miracle on 34th Street. Many people, such as myself, grew up watching her on the big screen and were left wondering what happened to the promising young actress after she abruptly exited the Hollywood scene. We were lucky enough to catch up with Mara in an exclusive interview before she makes her first Dallas appearance next weekend.


ILID: Do you have a favorite place you try to visit or thing to do when you are in the Dallas area?

Mara Wilson: I actually haven’t been to Dallas. I applied to college there at Meadows School of the Arts (SMU) because they had a really good reputation for theater and dance. I’ve been to other parts of Texas and always had a great time. I grew up in southern California and when I moved to New York it really made me miss Mexican food. So yeah, that is definitely a priority when I will be there.

ILID: What was the hardest part about being an actress at such a young age?

Mara Wilson: There is a lot. I think that I developed some perfectionistic tendencies because there is so much pressure to get it right over and over again. I was extremely lucky because it could have been much rougher for me. Obviously there were going to be some things that are going to be difficult no matter what like aging up out of Hollywood and being a teenager in the public eye. The good thing is that I had a loving family and supportive friends. I tried to make the best out of it and I think that I did.

ILID: Why did you return to acting and doing voiceovers almost a decade after leaving Hollywood?

Mara Wilson: I’ve always loved doing voiceovers. There is so much more that can be done with just your voice. If you are face or screen acting you are always going to be limited. I will always be limited because I’m a short brunette but nobody cares what you look like as long as you have an interesting voice. I’ve played characters that I would and could not ever play. I’ve played animals, humans, morally ambiguous characters, and young/fun characters too. I really like it. I never dreamed of giving up voiceover even when I was done with Hollywood and I always hoped I wouldn’t have to. As it turns out, I didn’t!

ILID: What would be your dream role?

Mara Wilson: I would love to be a Disney villain and do voiceover for that. I love to do voiceover for villains. I got to do a lot of theater in high school and think I kind of got the “dream role” stuff out of my system. But I think it is still really fun to be creepy and evil, especially as a person who is five foot tall and not very intimidating. I would really love the chance to do more voiceover work in that aspect; that would be fun.

ILID: Which of the characters that you portrayed are you personally most similar to?

Mara Wilson: I think I have a lot in common with Matilda because we both really love to read and learn. I’m lucky though because I have parents, brothers, and sisters who love me very much. Obviously I am not a genius but I definitely think that drive to learn is something that has always been within me. I also think that she tries to be brave and stand up for other people when she thinks things are unjust. I try to also. I think she is a little more careful about it than I am. I also secretly love the Faceless Old Woman who lives in your home from Night Vale because I am totally nosy and love to know everyone’s business. I love to people watch and know what they are thinking. That is absolutely fascinating to me.

ILID: You played Matilda in the movie so that makes you the leading expert here. She can manipulate and move things with her mind. Is she a Jedi, future Hogwarts student, or what?

Mara Wilson: I’ve heard most of them and even that she is a X-men. However, I have never heard that she is a Jedi but that would make sense. I did hear that Daisy Ridley was a fan of Matilda and that she used that as inspiration for Rey, which is extremely exciting for me because I was a huge Star Wars nerd growing up. I can’t even tell you how much of an honor that is and how exciting that is for me. I’ve also heard that Matilda would have done well in Hogwarts. I think so too but I feel that she would be torn between whether she was a Gryffindor or Ravenclaw.

ILID: If you could choose a superpower, what would it be?

Mara Wilson: I think that I would like not to have to sleep. There is so much that I want to do but feel so tired. It would be nice if sleep could be something of a luxury but not something that I necessarily have to do. I like sleeping and I think I may like it a little too much. There is so much else that I want to do in the world and life and I wish that I did not have to [sleep] sometimes.

ILID: Last year you released a book entitled Where Am I Now? What inspired you to share your story?

Mara Wilson: I always wanted to write and knew I wanted to be a writer even when I was young. I think I did it partially in tribute to the wonderful people that I worked with. I also partly did it because I have been doing live story telling for a while and really loved telling my story. I think that you don’t understand when people just go away from the public eye. People want to know what happened between the IMDB entry so I thought that I would take control, fill in the gaps, and add my own narrative.

ILID: What is the number one thing you would like people to know about you?

Mara Wilson: I am always trying to be a better person, to understand and to grow. I think that’s really what is important. I try to better myself every day, to be kind. At the core of it all that is who I am.


If you would like to know more about Mara, she will be appearing at the Dallas Fan Days on October 20-22. She will be signing autographs as well as doing photo ops. Tickets and further information about Dallas Fan Days can be found here. Also, you can find Mara’s book Where Am I Now? on Amazon in addition to most major book stores.