Unlike her famous siblings, Elizabeth Olsen avoided the traps of growing up in the spotlight. Now, however, she’s ready for her close-up, writes Helen Barlow.
Despite the fact she’s the little sister of two of the best-known twins on the planet, Elizabeth Olsen has managed to stay under the radar – until now.
Only a year ago, Elizabeth, three years younger than millionaire fashionistas and film-star sisters Mary-Kate and Ashley, started making movies, with a supporting role as Jane Fonda’s granddaughter in Peace, Love & Misunderstanding, directed by Australian Bruce Beresford.
She followed that with leading roles in two movies, a horror thriller called Silent House and the drama Martha Marcy May Marlene, about a woman trying to adapt to life after fleeing a cult.
Both were surprise hits at the Sundance Film Festival last January and suddenly, everyone knows who she is.
The late bloom was deliberate, she says. It was part of a plan to avoid the child-star fame she dipped into alongside her siblings, then decided to avoid.
“I’d been wanting to work in theatre and in movies since I was six or seven but I waited until I was comfortable as a person to start working professionally,” Elizabeth says.
“I never wanted to be a child actor; I never wanted to be a part of that type of media attention. So, I’m an actor; I’m not a brand or a personality,” she says emphatically.
“I’m happy to be at Sundance because I think that’s where you want to be when you’re part of something that’s really, really special.”
The 21-year-old, who spent two years studying acting at the Tisch School of the Arts in New York before she started auditioning for films in January last year, seems mature beyond her years. “Staying grounded is not something I think about,” she says. “It’s something the media puts upon people.”
One US columnist quipped: “It’s good to know there’s an Olsen who grew up.”
Like Carey Mulligan and Jennifer Lawrence before her, Elizabeth’s star rose at Sundance, where she found herself lauded as the next big thing.