Hollywood might be a dazzling destination, but for rising star Mia Wasikowska, there’s only one place that she can truly call home - Australia.
And the 24-year-old, who is known for her roles in Alice In Wonderland, Jane Eyre and more recently Stoker, The Double, was recently offered the opportunity to film there.
Tracks tells the true story of Robyn Davidson, a young woman who, in 1977, undertook a perilous solo trek across 1,700 miles of stunning Australian outback, with just a few camels and her loyal dog Diggity to keep her company.
But it wasn’t only the chance to film on homeland that enticed her, it was also the fact that her photographer parents wouldn’t have let her live it down if she hadn’t accepted the role.
“When I first mentioned to my parents that I’d been given the script for this film called Tracks, they were like, ‘Oh my God, you have to do it, it’s such an important story for Australia’,” explains the actress, who trained as a ballerina in her youth.
“They had read the book when it came out in the Seventies and Robyn is a really well known character in Australia. She’s a brilliant, brilliant lady.”
Tracks meant spending “seven or eight” weeks Down Under and Wasikowska took full advantage of the relative proximity to her family, inviting her brother on set so they could take in the majesty of the renowned Ayers Rock together.
“It’s very out of their world,” she says of her “great, supportive” relatives. “No one in my family is in films, so it’s kind of an exotic thing to do. I like to share it with them when I can, so if they can come on set and be with me for a little while, that’s the nicest thing.”
Another bonus of filming Tracks was being surrounded by several sweet-natured animals, the camels and the loyal Labrador, who accompany Robyn on her travels.
Like Robyn, Wasikowska was awed by her furry friends, especially as her childhood dream was to have a pet. “I always wanted a dog so much, but we weren’t allowed one,” says the actress, who relaxes by drinking endless cups of tea and reading.
“We had almost every other animal for short periods of time. We’d get a fish and then the fish would die, then a rabbit and the rabbit would die, but we never really had that great experience of having a best friend who was a dog. But now I’ve had that.”
The animals may have been dream companions but one of the more unsettling aspects of the film and the book is the relationship between photography and privacy.
To fund the trip, Robyn had to sell her story to National Geographic magazine who sent their photographer Rick Smolan, played by Girls’ star Adam Driver, along.
At times, their relationship was fraught, with Robyn desperate to escape the glare of publicity.
“It was interesting, because there’s a certain type of photography which is very invasive and I think for Robyn, Rick’s presence represented that the thing that enables you to do something, also takes something away from the experience,” says Wasikowska, who rates the work of screenwriter and director Jane Campion and actresses Juliette Binoche and Helen Hunt.
“I completely understand that. Every now and then I’d be like, ‘Bah - if only the cameras weren’t here’, which is similar, I think, to how she felt, being documented during her journey.”
• Tracks opens in cinemas tomorrow