Frequently Asked Questions
Are you Matilda?
No, but I played her in a movie.
Are you that girl from Mrs. Doubtfire or Miracle on 34th Street?
Why don’t you act anymore?
How do you pronounce your name?
MAHR-a, like “car” or “bar” or, well, “mar”. It doesn’t rhyme with “Sarah.”
What do you look like now?
Is @MaraWritesStuff your official Twitter account?
You weren’t verified for so long! How did you get verified?
To be honest, I have no idea. I woke up one day and the check mark was there.
Can you help me get verified?
I wish I could, but like I said, I have no idea how it happened!
Will you follow me on Twitter?
If I find what you say funny or relevant to my interests, sure! If it isn’t, or if most of your Timeline is just asking people to follow you, probably not. Please don’t keep asking. Asking me to follow you almost certainly ensures that I won’t. Blame my contrary streak.
Hey, heh heh, DON’T follow me! See what I did there? …Will you follow me now?
Yes, I do, and no, I probably won’t. Sorry.
Why do you retweet so much?
I’m allowed to be a fan, too! Sometimes I really like what people say, other times I’m retweeting my (very funny and talented) friends, and I’ve been told this actually helped them get some exposure. I’m something of a Twitter Fairy Godmother, and I like it that way. If you don’t, you can always turn off my retweets.
Have you seen the video of Mrs. Doubtfire recut as a horror movie?
Yes. It was very funny the first few times I saw it! Now that someone sends it to me at least once a week, it’s a little less funny.
Do you know about Matilda: The Musical?
Yes, I’ve seen it! It’s a very good show and I highly recommend it. Tim Minchin stays true to Dahl’s spirit, and the actress playing Matilda when I saw it (Oona Laurence) was great. I had a chance to meet Sophia Gennusa, another one of the Matildas, at a First Book event, and not only was she was as sweet as can be and remarkably talented, she was also refreshingly down to earth. It’s an honor to share this great character with these girls.
Don’t you think you should play Miss Honey in Matilda: The Musical?
It would be a funny inside joke, but I don’t think I’m suited to play her at all. I’m not a dainty ingenue type and I’m only a passable singer. There are many other actresses who are better suited for that part. Maybe if they made it into a movie, I could have a cameo, but that’s for them to decide.
Don’t you think there should be a Matilda 2? Can you make that happen?
No, and no. I don’t have that kind of pull in show business (at least not anymore), and I think a sequel to Roald Dahl’s book would be disrespectful to his memory. If you really want there to be a Matilda 2, I suggest you write it yourself. Have fun!
What about a Mrs. Doubtfire 2?
I’ve heard rumors that one was in development a few years back, but I have no interest in being in it. And again, I can’t make that happen.
Can you make me famous?
Again, I don’t have that kind of pull, sorry. If I like the thing you made, there’s a chance I’ll post it on Facebook or tweet about it, but I can’t connect you to any industry professionals.
Do you watch your movies when they’re on?
Not usually. Sometimes other people will insist on watching them when I’m around, but I feel uncomfortable watching myself. I’m a perfectionist.
I am watching one of your movies! Should I take a picture of the screen or of a video with your face on it and send it to you?
You really don’t have to do that. They’re on cable a lot — which is great news for me, it will pay my ConEd bill that month — and I’m glad you like them, but pictures aren’t necessary.
Was _______ fun to work with?
Danny Devito, Rhea Perlman, Robin Williams, Sally Field, Sir Richard Attenborough, Elizabeth Perkins, Dylan McDermott, Tim Curry, Martin Short, Kathleen Turner, and most of the people I’m regularly asked about were wonderful.
Was _______ terrible to work with?
If they were, I’m not going to say so. Why sink to their level?
Will you be in my film project?
Unless I know you personally, probably not. I’m sorry. Additionally, I’m SAG-AFTRA, which means I’m not allowed to do film projects unless the filmmakers follow their rules. It would just be a headache and a bunch of paperwork for you. I can, however, direct you to some other talented actors (friends of mine from college, mostly) who would jump at the chance.
You say you don’t act anymore, but then you acted in THIS project! What’s that about?
I don’t act professionally anymore, i.e., I do not pursue acting as a career. I don’t go on auditions or casting calls: the business of acting stresses me out, and I don’t think it’s worth it. But I do enjoy acting with or for good friends, or at least for people I know and respect. Acting can be fun (stage and voice acting, especially) and I’ll do it if I feel like it will be. I’m sure you can think of many activities people do with people they love and trust, but would never do for money. (I can think of one in particular, but using that analogy has made actor friends uncomfortable.)
Will you be on my podcast?
The great thing about podcasts is anyone can make one. The bad thing about podcasts is anyone can make one. If you ask me to do your podcast and I have never heard of it, I have no way of knowing if it’s a real thing, if you can be trusted, and if I will be safe doing it. Many are done in people’s homes, and I would not be comfortable being in a stranger’s home.
Additionally, asking me to do your podcast is asking for my time without any kind of payment or recompense. This is fine if it is good exposure and a way to promote something I’m doing, but if you have a small audience, there really isn’t much payoff for me. I know that sounds cruel, but think about what you do for a job, and imagine if people wanted to you to do it for free and without much recognition. You probably wouldn’t do it unless it was for a friend, and neither will I. My rule is I will not do any podcasts unless I have heard of them, am a fan of them (as was the case with Welcome to Night Vale), or know the people who do them.
Why do you have the same hairstyle you had as a kid?
…Does this really bother you?
Anyway, the truth is I don’t. I had various short hairstyles through high school and college, and I have very long hair now, longer than I ever had as a kid. I probably won’t ever get rid of the bangs, though, because I have what gossip columnists have a “five-head”. One reason I like not being an actress anymore is that I’m not, and never have been, very glamorous or stylish. I played nerdy girls, not pretty girls. There are many more attractive actresses and famous people to look at, I’m fine with not being one of them.
Was it really that you left acting or was it just that they didn’t want you anymore?
I like to think of it as a mutual break-up: Hollywood didn’t really want me anymore, and I was over it, too.
Why do you talk about your acting all the time?
Because people ask. When people ask me about other things, I answer them.
I’m a dude. Will you be my girlfriend?
I’m immensely flattered, and if we knew each other in person and were attracted to each other, I’m sure we could date. As it stands, probably not. I’m sorry.
I’m a lady. Will you be my girlfriend?
Again, immensely flattered, and if I were into ladies and we knew each other in person and liked each other, I’m sure we could date. Additionally, there are one or two ladies in real life who have called dibs for whenever Gay Fairy taps me on the head. I’m sorry.
Can we be best friends?
If we met in real life, perhaps we could be friends. I have made friends online, but it was through discussion, shared interests, and appreciation of each other’s work that we became friends. It was not by someone asking to be my best friend. Friendship is a mutual thing.
I have noticed that we do not have the same beliefs/religion! Should I try to convert you to mine?!
No thanks. I’ve come to my beliefs my own way, and it was a rather long and private process. You are extremely unlikely to change what I believe — and, I imagine, vice versa. Please respect that.
Someone is saying mean stuff about you on the internet! Should I tell you about it?
Please don’t. People are free to dislike me for whatever reason, but I don’t need to be told about it. Just let them be and let me be.
I think you’re horrible! Should I tell you about it?
I’m sorry you feel that way, but if you don’t mind, I’d rather you not tell me. You’re free to hate me, but please don’t tweet it at me or write it on my Facebook wall or contact me just to tell me that. It’s just rude.
You were wrong about something, and I would like to correct you in a courteous and constructive way. Should I do that?
Yes, please! Correct me if I’m wrong. Seriously, I’d rather know when I’m wrong.
Are you and the Nostalgia Chick really neighbors?
In a New York sense, yes. We’re within walking distance. But keep in mind the average New Yorker walks far more than an average suburbanite.
What do you think of Doug Walker?
He is a very nice guy! And Shut Up and Talk was probably my favorite interview ever.
What do you do during the week?
Write, and work for this awesome nonprofit organization.
Why don’t you blog more?
Because, believe it or not, I put a LOT of thought into my entries. I’m also busy writing other things right now.
Can I read more of your writing?
Thanks for your interest! I’m working on making that happen right now. I’ll let you know!
Why do you take yourself so seriously?
I’m the only thing I don’t take seriously.
People don’t really ask you these questions, do they?
Every one of these is either a direct question I’ve been asked multiple times, or a statement made about me I figured I should address. Trust me, I know I’m not that important. If I come off as aloof, it’s just because I’m bemused that people care about a former child actor/would-be writer they’ve never met. And if you read anything I’ve written, I think it’s pretty clear that ninety percent of the time, the joke is on me.