Elizabeth Olsen Explains How She Broke Into Blockbusters


Olsen details how she scored roles in the MCU and ‘Godzilla.’

We’ve got one more clip from Elizabeth Olsen’s Collider Ladies Night interview to share before the full piece arrives on Friday! We’ve kept things WandaVision-specific for the most part with the “blank slate” vs. “clean slate” conversation and the one pertaining to Wanda’s accent, but now it’s time to shift the focus to Olsen’s journey in the industry, specifically how she booked her first franchise roles.

Elizabeth Olsen in Martha Marcy May Marlene
Image via Fox Searchlight Pictures

Martha Marcy May Marlene put Olsen on the map like never before and after that, she continued to accumulate solid independent credits like Liberal Arts and Kill Your Darlings. So how exactly do you go from making a name for yourself in the independent sphere to booking colossal blockbusters like Godzilla and Avengers: Age of Ultron? Olsen had to take the initiative to express interest in those types of films to get the ball rolling.

“It was actually a funny decision I had put out in the world. I talked to my agent, my manager who are like my other mothers. I just love them so much. And I told them, ‘I want to be considered for the projects that I grew up …’ – like, as a kid, looking at Star Wars and I was obsessed with Star Wars. You couldn’t peel me away from Star Wars as a child. And so I was trying to figure out, how do I start putting that out there because I feel like all I’m getting are these really disturbed women in independent films. [Laughs] [Now] it’s just a disturbed woman in a big franchise! They said take meetings with the people who run these companies and so I literally did. I met with Kevin [Feige] and a couple other people that were working there at the time. And then I met with the people who were running Legendary at the time. And there were a few others in different places.”

Elizabeth Olsen in Godzilla
Image via Warner Bros.

So how exactly do these “general meetings” work? Olsen broken down how the process went for Godzilla:

“The funny thing is, at the Legendary meeting, they said, ‘You know, directors cast films. We don’t cast films. We’re creating an incubator for directors to do what they want to do.’ And I was like, ‘Totally fair.’ So I just kinda got lucky that Gareth cast me in Godzilla. When he showed me this teaser of what he was gonna do, which they showed at Comic-Con, it was such beautiful filmmaking and you throw Bryan Cranston and Juliette Binoche in and you’re like, ‘Sign me up!’ [Laughs] So that was how that one happened. Luckily Gareth came from independent cinema as well and so I think that’s how that worked out for me.”

As for Age of Ultron, that proved to be an interesting experience because Olsen was making that decision right along with her Godzilla co-star, Aaron Taylor-Johnson:

“Joss [Whedon] had Aaron and I in mind for Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch, and so Aaron and I both took separate meetings with Joss while we were doing reshoots for Godzilla and Aaron and I kind of were like, ‘Are we both gonna do this? This is so funny! Should we move on from being husband and wife [to] being brother and sister?’ [Laughs]”

Aaron Taylor Johnson and Elizabeth Olsen in Avengers: Age of Ultron
Image via Marvel

The big takeaway here? Olsen booked both roles soon after taking those general meetings.

“I think what happens is you just get in the forefront of people’s heads when you take those meetings and whatever the discussions are that happen. And that’s what happened with Kathryn Hahn with Kevin Feige for WandaVision. She went on a general around the same time they were prepping WandaVision and she was like the first person that came up when they wanted to cast Agnes. There is something to it about taking these generals that feel so awkward usually because it always feels like you’re marketing yourself, which is what you’re kind of doing but you’re all just trying to have a conversation about what they’re doing as well, or what they’re interested in putting out in the world.”

So not only are these “generals” vital to insuring that the folks working on these movies know that you’re interested, but it’s also an opportunity to learn more about other projects that may be available to you. And when it came to the MCU specifically, Olsen also had the benefit of having a family member who’s a huge fan of the franchise and knew a thing or two about it’s potential:

“It wasn’t like I was a comicbook person. It was just that I loved Iron Man. [Laughs] I really loved Iron Man! And I remember hearing my brother talk about, ‘Oh, are you meeting on Guardians?’ He already knew about all these things that were happening that I didn’t, and he was really telling me how exciting the next chapter of Marvel was gonna be and so the way he talked about it made me excited. And, you know, he’s not in the industry; he’s just a fan!”

Paul Bettany and Elizabeth Olsen in WandaVision
Image via Disney+

This right here is only one step of Olsen’s journey through Hollywood. Be sure to check out our full conversation on Friday for more on Olsen’s earliest influences, why studying acting in a formal setting was important to her, what made WandaVision such a unique experience and so much more!

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‘WandaVision’ Guide, Week 1: Every Question We Have After Episode 1 and Episode 2

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