The “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” star also talks about why she shies away from social media and why she’s drawn to the character of Wanda Maximoff.
Elizabeth Olsen was among the first actors to get nominated for a major award for their work in the Marvel Cinematic Universe for her ongoing performance of Wanda Maximoff.
She was nominated, alongside co-stars Paul Bettany and Kathryn Hahn, for their work in the inaugural Disney+ MCU series, “WandaVision.” The groundbreaking series was a sendup of classic sitcoms with a complex, darker story lurking underneath — and all of it held together by Olsen’s performance.
Now, the actress gets to carry that story into its next chapter as what essentially amounts to a co-starring role alongside Benedict Cumberbatch in the latest MCU feature film, “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness,” out now in theaters.
Based on how “WandaVision” ended for her character, Wanda Maximoff, as she transformed fully into the Scarlet Witch, fans are speculating right now on whether or not Wanda is a hero alongside Cumberbatch’s Doctor Strange, or a villain he must deal with.
That very complexity in the character of Wanda — which is definitely ripped right from the Marvel Comics pages — is a huge part of why Olsen has been so excited to continue portraying the character.
In a wide-ranging interview with Harper’s Bazaar UK ahead of the release of the film, Olsen said that she enjoys challenging audiences with her roles. “I love playing characters whose actions people disagree with,” she told the outlet.
“In a world where we don’t really care to understand other points of view, I feel like if we as an audience can have empathy for people we don’t agree with, that’s a good thing,” she explained. “Then I can kind of be their lawyer and defend them. I get behind their actions, even if I don’t agree with them.”
This latest evolution for Wanda has been a refreshing development for Olsen, too: “It was so fun for me because all these years I’ve been playing a character who is struggling; now, she has clarity for the first time — she knows exactly what she wants, and she doesn’t want to apologize for it.”
“I think there’s a womanliness that comes with that: a strength in feeling completely entitled,” she added.
But that same confidence that Wanda now possesses after her experiences in “WandaVision” does not entirely carry over to Olsen herself when it comes to her Marvel work. She told Jimmy Fallon this week that she can’t bring herself to watch her MCU work at the premieres, even though she attends, for fear this will be their first “flop.”
And while she was stunning, as usual, on the red carpet, Olsen revealed she has a complex relationship with those experiences, as well. “I just love clothes that make me feel confident and strong,” she said of getting dressed for the occasion. “It’s like armor.”
The problem is that once she’s there, it doesn’t seem to give her quite the confidence she’s hoping for. “It’s kind of fussy. I don’t really know how to pose for a picture, so I’m always standing like a stick person or I’m kind of moving my body through space awkwardly because I don’t know how to make clothes look cool on a red carpet,” she conceded.
She’s not complaining, though, as she knows it’s part of her job to get out there in the public and battle through her awkwardness — which she clearly does well as she always slays on the carpet. In fact, she finds it odd when celebrities complain about the public aspect of their shared profession.
“It’s always weird for an actor to complain about being in the public eye, because that means maybe something’s going well for you,” she explained. For her, it’s a difference in perspective. She says she doesn’t think of herself as a public person, but rather she’s living her life and happens to have this job.
In fact, despite appearing in the public eye, as it were, to promote her films, and being a part of a very famous Hollywood family, both Elizabeth and her older sisters Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen have mastered the art of being huge Hollywood celebrities who keep their lives as private as they can.
Olsen explained that she is very selective of where she goes, even to the possible detriment of her career, saying that if she doesn’t feel comfortable in those situations, she doesn’t go there. It’s the same attitude she’s taken to social media, which she’s ultimately rejected.
“I thought, ‘What am I trying to say? What am I trying to share?’ You have this influence, and there’s financial power in that kind of influence,” Olsen said. “That didn’t make me feel great.”
Instead she focuses her platform on affecting positive change, and particularly with her two favorite charities, the Latitude Project, for Nicaraguan communities, and Stuart House in LA, for minor victims of sexual assault.