Mara Elizabeth Wilson (born July 24, 1987) is a former child actress who was in several films in The '90s (best known as the title character in the feature film adaptation of Roald Dahl's Matilda), but decided to leave when she realized "film acting is not very fun", in her own words.
She still works in entertainment, but as a playwright after graduating from NYU. She also writes a blog, "Mara Wilson Writes Stuff", to which she often posts humorous stories and the like. Her Twitter feed is similarly humorous. She's also written for Cracked.
She has also done guest spots on That Guy with the Glasses, revealing that she has unholy powers that she will use to punish those who blindly mock her. According to Linkara, she obtained these powers from God Himself.
She also has a recurring role on Welcome to Night Vale as The Faceless Old Woman Who Secretly Lives In Your Home.
Evidently, she's well aware of the existence of TV Tropes, too, mentioning Artistic License Physics (back when it was known as You Fail Physics Forever) and Cloud Cuckoolander, as well as a tendency to check this page. (Hi, Mara! We're happy you exist!)
In September 2016 she released her first book Where Am I Now?: True Stories of Girlhood and Accidental Fame
- Ability over Appearance: For the remake of Miracle on 34th Street, filmmakers considered giving the child a Gender Flip to be a boy. But someone recommended Mara for the part and after an audition, they cast her.
- Actor-Inspired Element: The doll that Matilda waves at during the "Little Bitty Pretty One" sequence was designed by Mara herself.
- Adam Westing: An Inverted Trope variation. Usually, when an actor engages in this they're playing a Cloud Cuckoo Lander variation of themselves. Mara Wilson's idea (at least when it comes to Channel Awesome) of this is to WIELD UNHOLY POWERS FROM BEYOND OUR REALM!!
- Awesome, Dear Boy: She was a huge fan of Matilda the book and jumped at the chance to play her in a film.
- Bi the Way: Came out as bisexual after the Orlando nightclub shootings.
- Big Applesauce: Graduated from Tisch School of the Arts at New York University in 2009; she continued to live in New York City until 2017, when she moved back to her native California. She performed spoken-word and comedy shows (notably What Are You Afraid Of?) at NYC nightclubs, her play Sheeple enjoyed a run there, and she often tweeted and blogged about her experiences in the city when she lived there.
- Career Resurrection: Somewhat. She's not acting anymore and is focused on her writing, but her appearance on Nostalgia Critic got a lot of people interested in her life after child stardom.
- Cerebus Retcon: According to one Cracked article, when she was younger she found herself on a foot fetish website devoted to child actresses - which she found quite funny. Years later she told a friend about it and then realised she had been on a child porn website.
- Clark Kenting: In the Nostalgia Chick's Matilda review. Disguised with her hair in a bun and a thick pair of glasses.
- Converted Fanboy: Once convinced that Doug was an asshole because of awful fans of his harassing her, now is practically an honorary Channel Awesome member and good friends with both him and Lindsay.
- Contractual Purity: People are thrown off that Matilda now has...filled out in her adult years. She's joked that it's only a matter of time before someone accuses her of ruining their childhood because of her boobs. On a different note, people assumed that because she was in family friendly movies that her play Sheeple was also family friendly. She has described the phenomenon, at least where fans' reactions to her figure or adult discussions of her sexuality (even before her outing) are concerned, with some humor, in both interviews and her memoirs as "the Matilda/Whore Complex". She did however say in her autobiography that her parents had a rule that she could only star in family friendly movies. She also felt pressure to not be seen drinking or getting rowdy at parties out of fear of upsetting her kid fanbase.
- Creator Backlash: Miracle on 34th Street mainly because Susan was rewritten a lot during filming. She was conceived as a more interesting and intelligent child, but they kept dropping these traits to emphasise her cuteness. A lot of critics had a Tastes Like Diabetes reaction, which Mara herself agrees with.
- The Dreaded: When she shows up in Channel Awesome content, she generally appears as this.
- Even Evil Has Standards: Her internet persona may be an evil revenge-hungry she-demon, but she doesn't hate kids.
- God Never Said That: Despite people claiming the opposite, she is not ashamed of Thomas And The Magic Railroad. She claimed she had fun making it, and loved working with everyone on it. Most of her bad feelings about working on it comes from the fact that she had begun puberty shortly before filming began, so her breasts were developing around the time they did re-shoots - which didn't help her issues with body image.
- I Am Not Spock: Apparently, people she encounters still call her Matilda, prompting her to remind them that Matilda doesn't exist. She's been at some pains to emphasize that her overly perky, precocious film characters are quite different from her real personality, even back then. But she has said that Matilda was very close to her real personality, which is one of the reasons she wanted to play her in the first place.
- Never Heard That One Before: Yes, she's well aware of the "Matilda grew up to be Carrie White" fan theory, no need to parrot it at her.
- Promoted Fanboy:
- Has mentioned in an online Theatermania article that Matilda was a favorite book of hers from early childhood, and that as soon as Mara's agent mentioned over the phone to her mother that a script called Matilda was submitted among the flood of scripts on her desk, her mother immediately asked for the script, knowing how much Mara loved the book.
- Starred as a waitress as a background character in an episode of Broad City.
- Remake Cameo: Discussed. She declined the suggestion to play Miss Honey in the musical version of Matilda, but said she was open to having a cameo if they made a film.
- She Is All Grown Up: She jokes about how her figure filling out from puberty tends to throw people a bit.Nella: Holy shit, Matilda! You've got a great rack!
- Ship Tease: Not above giving "the slash-ficcers more material" (her words), though you really need Shipping Goggles to see it.note
- Tastes Like Diabetes: Her getting typecast into these kinds of roles (and consequently people tending to assume she was actually that nauseatingly precocious in real life) is what got her to quit acting.
- Vacation, Dear Boy: She opted to make Thomas And The Magic Railroad to visit the UK.
- What Could Have Been:
- She was sent the script to Donnie Darko but was ill at the time and got freaked out, so she turned it down.
- She auditioned to play the dual roles in Nancy Myers's remake of The Parent Trap but was turned down for being deemed too young.
- She really lobbied hard to play Sam in The Safety of Objects, wanting to break away from children's movies. She was however deemed too voluptuous for the androgynous character, and asked to read for the more feminine friend. She didn't get either.
- In her autobiography right after she retired from acting, she turned down a part in an 'experimental' comedy series called Arrested Development.
- She has mentioned many times on her Twitter account, as well as Where Am I Now?, of auditioning for many of the roles that would eventually go to a younger Kristen Stewart, including Catch That Kid.
- What Do You Mean, It's Not for Kids?: She expressed horror on her Twitter page when a newspaper mentioned in summer 2013 that fans of the Matilda musical (which not long before won multiple Tony awards) staged nearby in New York City would love to see Mara's play, Sheeple at a nearby venue purely based on the fact that she played Matilda Wormwood in the 1996 movie version. As she often stresses, Sheeple is most definitely not for kids.
- Batman Beyond (the episode "Mind Games")
- Miracle on 34th Street (the 1994 remake)
- A Simple Wish
- Thomas and the Magic Railroad
- Mrs. Doubtfire
- The Nostalgia Critic (the review of A Simple Wish)
- Demo Reel (the episode "Lost In Translation (Bromance Version)")
- Shut Up and Talk (guest of first episode)
- The Nostalgia Chick (the review of Matilda. Nostalgic Foods, and she also apparently helped out with the Charlie's Angels review.
- Welcome to Night Vale: Recurring as The Faceless Old Woman Who Secretly Lives In Your Home.
- BoJack Horseman: Jill Pill
- Big Hero 6: The Series: Liv Amara