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QUOTE: It's "embarrassing," she says " when all the attention is on me."
1997-00  Jason World Entertainment, Inc. (JWEI)
All rights reserved.
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The Interview
with Liesel on A Little Princess

Liesel Matthews: (Taken from the official A Little Princess Press Kit and various articles)

Months before cameras were set to roll, the filmmakers embarked upon a search for Sara Crewe. Says director Cuaron, "We understood from the very beginning that this script has a soul, and this soul is Sara Crewe. So we knew that no matter what we did, the movie was not going to work if we didn't have a great Sara."

The filmmakers conducted a talent search that encompassed cities in the United States, Canada, and Europe. They saw tapes and photos of nearly 10,000 young girls. Their search ended in Chicago with 10-year old Liesel Matthews.

"When we looked at the tests, we all picked Liesel independently -- not because she was so much better that everyone else, because many were terrific," remembers producer Johnson, "but she had qualities that worked perfectly for Sara Crewe. Looking at her on film, we could see that she had an inner life and a strong sense of imagination and contentment."

Director Cuaron concurs, "Liesel is very complex; she can be very funny or very emotional; she has her own mind. Sometimes she can be like a character taken out of a book of adventures, and that reflects in the movie. "The script for 'A Little Princess' made me cry," says Liesel Matthews.

After the screening of "A Little Princess" at Chicago's Webster Street Theatre, Liesel stood in the lobby surrounded by squealing young fans. Returning a signed notebook to a girl about her age, Matthews, 11, giggled and said "Are you sure you really want this?" Matthews considers acting a hobby. It's "embarrassing," she says " when all the attention is on me."

Matthews is not new to the actor's life. Her mother is a former member of the drama department at Chicago's Roosevely University, and her stepfather is an attorney who has produced local shows. In 1989 her mother cast her and her brother Matt, then 7, in a university production of "Macbeth."

By 1993, Matthews was often working in the Chicago stage at night. Last year a talent scout saw her in "To Kill a Mockingbird" and invited her to L.A., where she won the Princess role. "I wanted someone who wasn't worried about technique," says director Alfonso Cuaron. "Liesel was more interested in having fun than establishing a career. That's rare."

After a three-month shoot in L.A., Matthews is still not committed to an acting career. "We don't want her to feel limited," says her mother. Matthews will take a year off, then think about her next project. "If I leave school to make a movie," she says, "it's bound to affect my education. My entire life will change. I'm not ready for that. I'm just a little girl."

Copyright 1997-00 Jason World Entertainment, Inc. All rights reserved.
Hosted by (JWEI)
*Note: This interview is being used with permission*