Renee Zellweger Is Nearly Unrecognizable At Elle Women In Hollywood Awards

Elizabeth Olsen On Parties, Her Famous Sisters And Her New Movie 'Silent House'

Fred Topel Fred Topel
March 7th, 2012 4:30pm EST

Elizabeth Olsen-AES-056768.jpgQ: You can design your own career at this point. How do you want to do that? Will you do big blockbusters or stay in indies?

EO: Well, what’s happening right now for me is that I’m first off so excited that right now I have choices. So I’m going through this thing where I’m like, “I’ll do that and I’ll do that and I’ll do that.” I kind of want to do everything because I’ve never been in a position like this before so it’s really exciting. So I’m doing a small part in this Allen Ginsebrg movie Kill Your Darlings. I’m in four scenes. I can’t wait to work on it. So that’s cool. Then I get to do a movie with Glenn Close for three months of my life and I’m very excited to do that, and that’s a period piece. I’m just trying to do things right now that are something that I’ve never worked on before, that’s a challenge and that is interesting to me and it’s with people that I respect and want to work with. And I’m also well aware that the life of an actor goes in and out and goes up and down. So right now I feel very lucky to be working and I’m going to keep trying to work until I have so many misses that I need to try and work again back up. But I’m very well aware that it’s going to be a roller coaster and right now I just feel so lucky that I’m in a position where I get to work on things that really get me going. And I also don’t have children and I don’t have to pay for a mortgage and things like that, so I can make choices to do independent movies because I just take care of myself. So I’m also lucky in that way. “Because I don’t have a child,” that sounded weird.

Q: But you don’t have to do something for the money.

EO: Yeah, I don’t have to do something that I don’t want to do which I understand. Like when I’m a parent, I’m going to try to do as many animation movies as possible. Are you kidding me? I’m going to pay for tuition very easily.

Q: Growing up in fame firsthand, what were your feelings about that were it to happen to you? Did you not want it or prepare for it?

EO: Yeah, I think both of those things. I don’t really want it to infiltrate my personal life and for the most part I don’t do anything that - - like I don’t really live in a part of L.A., I didn’t grow up in a part of L.A. where are like hotspots, so so far it’s fine. I’m very well aware of what reality is and I’m very well aware of what these other things are and that’s work. Even if you’re going to a party, that’s work. It’s not your life. It’s definitely not my reality. I’m seeing my little sister play in her championship basketball game tonight. That’s my reality. So I don't know, you just try and work and know that that’s why you’re doing your job.

Q: Your first films have been so impressive, what kind of training did you have before movies? Did you go to acting school?

EO: I very consciously chose to focus on theater when I was in high school because I wanted to be an actor. I kind of thought the idea of doing film work was very intimidating to me because it is a much more public thing that you’re choosing to do. So theater to me just felt like something that I wanted to do when I was in high school. So I went to a conservatory. I worked obviously at school and I did camps my whole life and I also did acting classes when I was a little kid with professional child actors, but I didn’t do that myself. I just enjoyed doing it. Then when I was 17 I went to Strassberg school in New York for a summer and then I went to NYU at the Atlantic Theater Company. Then I went abroad to the Moscow Art Theatre School and I understudied off Broadway for a semester while I was in school. That’s how I got my equity card. Then I understudied on Broadway. So my entire sophomore year, I understudied and was in school fulltime doing conservatory. That was really an informative time because my school then became very active in letting me audition for things, because the Atlantic Theater Company is a great theater company of its own in off Broadway theater in New York that does amazing material. They would have me understudy or audition for understudy parts that they were producing and so I got to meet casting directors that way and then I got to meet an agent that way. Then I started auditioning for things once I stopped, because at NYU you have three years of a conservatory training and I decided I didn’t want to try and work until at least those years are done. So then I started auditioning and then that is just what happened. That is two years ago.

Q: Were you an acting geek?

EO: I am a theater nerd and I didn’t realize I was until I went to theater school in college.

Q: What other passions do you have?

EO: Yes, I’m a huge foodie. I love cooking and I love going to restaurants. So that’s something that I actively do. For my birthday, my mom went to Williams Sonoma and she bought me pots. I couldn’t be more happy to have a new set of pots because I was using really bad ones before that made everything burn and it was so frustrating. That’s a big passion of mine. I also just like traveling. If I get the opportunity to I try and take it, especially if someone else is going to send me somewhere I will take it. So I love traveling and I really like being a student.

Q: What’s your dish?

EO: My best thing? Well, I started doing dinner parties when I was 17. I did dinner parties for my friends seasonally which is kind of weird. So I try and cook based on whatever the season is. I haven’t been doing as much cooking now but during the summertime I would just get so many heirloom tomatoes and cook them three different ways. Or I really like making this one pasta soup with raw zucchini. You just make zucchini look like pasta and you marinate it in a sauce and it just becomes a pasta.

Q: Theater nerd question, what’s your dream role?

EO: Yeah, I have a few. There’s a Eugene O’Neill play called Strange Interlude and it tracks the life of a woman from about 20 until 50. So I think I have to be a little bit more in the middle of those ages to be able to play that part. That’s a big one. I’d really love to do a Sam Shepherd play and I’d really love to do something by Martin McDonagh, whatever it is, whether it’s television, a movie. Seeing his plays in a theater is so fun for me and I just think he makes it a ride, so those and I also love Lucy Thurber who’s not an unknown but she does awesome, awesome plays that are kind of removed from reality a little bit. I got to do a workshop of hers when I was in college at a theater festival and I’m a big fan of hers.

Q: What’s your dream country to visit?

EO: Well, I really want to go to Rome, Italy and Greece.

Q: Favorite L.A. restaurant?

EO: Ink, have you been there? Unbelievable. 

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