Stepping OUT of her famous SISTERS’ formidable SHADOWS, Elizabeth Olsen is PROVING that she’s ready to join the big GUNS of the FILM world.
EWindlizabeth Olsen and the rest of the team from her new film River are running late – 45 minutes and counting – when they arrive at a villa just off Cannes’ buzzing La Croisette strip. Elizabeth, co-star Jeremy Renner and director Taylor Sheridan had been taken for lunch on a yacht in the Mediterranean, but got stranded, with no transport to take them ashore. “We were literally in the middle of the ocean,” says Elizabeth. “I was like, ‘Get me out of here!’”
It’s worth mentioning simply because actors arriving late for interviews is almost expected. That the 28-year-old is genuinely “mortified” by the incident – “incredibly rude,” she says, chastising herself – is hugely to her credit. It’s tempting to think that this desire for professionalism is a quality she absorbed from her older sisters, twins Mary-Kate and Ashley, the former child stars turned fashion designers and major-league entrepreneurs. But Elizabeth puts her cool head down simply to growing older.
“I think getting older is a very good thing,” she says, her soft voice barely carrying above loud rock music that’s reverberating from outside. “It’s nice to come into yourself as a person. For me, as an actor, I feel like I handle things differently now than I did [before].” She allows herself a slight smile. “Haven’t had anxiety yet, which is cool!”
When ‘Lizzie’ – as she likes to call herself – was born in 1989, in the Los Angeles suburb of Sherman Oaks, her older sisters were already starring on TV show Full House. A stream of direct-tovideo movies followed, leading to a business empire that saw Olsen merchandise carried in 5000 stores worldwide.
“It was all I knew,” reflects their younger sibling. “It was something I grew up with and always knew.” By 2007, with the twins barely in their twenties, Forbes valued their combined net worth at more than US$100 million.
If it had an impact on Lizzie, initially it was a negative one. “I think the stuff that was weird were the things that were exploitative, when the media got really personal and in their faces as they got older,” she says. “And that made me think, ‘I don’t want to do movies. I just want to do theatre [because] that’s not okay. I don’t want my privacy to be taken away.’ But then my sisters are remarkable and navigated that brilliantly, and they didn’t let that stop them. They are great businesswomen and incredibly good at what they do.”
Since calling time on their acting careers, Mary-Kate and Ashley have branched into fashion, establishing the hugely popular designer label The Row, which earned them a CFDA womenswear designer of the year award in 2012. They’ve since launched retail collections Elizabeth and James (named after their sister and brother, James), Olsenboye (inspired by the family’s original Norwegian name) and StyleMint (a customised T-shirt line). Today, sporting a crisp white tee and a navy suit, with white swallows stitched into the fabric, Lizzie is the perfect model for her sisters’ designs.
Is she amazed by her siblings’ achievements? “Amazed? Yeah, I’m shocked by them!” she exclaims, then pauses. “Not shocked, actually, that’s the wrong word to use. They’re really inspiring women. And I think they handle themselves with a lot of class.” >