Mia Wasikowska acts crazy in horror/thriller ‘Piercing’

Christopher Abbott and Mia Wasikowska in ‘Piercing’

After playing repressed or relatively stable characters in period dramas such as Damsel and Madame Bovary, Mia Wasikowska jumped at the chance to go to the dark side in Piercing.

She plays a disturbed escort named Jackie in US writer-director Nicolas Pesce’s gory S&M horror/thriller Piercing, which opened today in Australia after premiering at Sundance.

Jackie turns the tables on Reed (Christopher Abbott), a married guy with a new baby who checks into a hotel and calls for an escort with murderous intent. A deadly game of cat-and-mouse ensues.

The Aussie actress initially was cast as Reed’s wife but was offered the co-lead a week and a half before shooting was due to start. “I had 24 hours to rethink the whole thing and decided to do it on a whim, before I had the chance to over-think it,” she tells IF.

“I had been playing very repressed or very held-together women so it was exciting to play someone who is so different. When I first read the script I was anxious because you did not really know who was in control. It becomes a weird kind of dance.”

While the role seems emotionally as well as physically demanding she says the confrontations were carefully choreographed and she has no problems separating from her character when scenes are completed, explaining, “I like to switch on and off.”

Monster Fest teamed up with Rialto Distribution to launch Piercing on seven screens ahead of the February 1 US debut via Universal Pictures. Check here for the locations. Inspired by Ryû Murakami’s novel, it is Pesce’s somophore effort following The Eyes of My Mother.

She is looking forward to the world premiere at Sundance of Judy and Punch, Mirrah Foulkes’ directing debut, a re-imagining of the clasic puppet show Punch and Judy. Mia’s Judy joins forces with a band of outcast heretics to extract revenge on Damon Herriman’s Punch, a narcissistic, violent puppet master in the Madman Entertainment release. “Mirrah has done a great job; it’s fun and really kooky,” she says.

After starting out at the age of 15 in Paul Goldman’s Suburban Mayhem and breaking out internationally in Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland, she never imagined her career would reach such heights. “It’s been a great ride,” she says.

Last year she starred opposite Kate Winslet and Diane Keaton in Blackbird, an English-language remake of Bille August’s Silent Heart, directed by Roger Michell.

The drama centres on a a terminally ill woman (Keaton), who brings her family together for one last weekend before she commits suicide, with Winslet and Wasikowsa as her daughters.

She also starred in Bergman Island, Swedish director Mia Hansen-Løve’s English-language debut, which looks at an American filmmaking couple who go to the remote island of Farö (where Ingmar Bergman lived and filmed) to work on screenplays and find the lines between reality and fiction start to blur.