Elizabeth Olsen is ready for stardom should her new film “Martha Marcy May Marlene”
yield an Oscar nomination on top of the rave reviews it’s already earned her.
But it’s not because she’s the younger sister of Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen, the former child stars who still command serious tabloid attention. Olsen has been living in famous circles for as long as she can remember.
“I grew up in L.A. with families who are part of the [entertainment] industry in one way or another,” Olsen says. “They’re successful, but they’re amazing, grounded, wholesome people, and they treat it like a job they get to do.”
That approach served her well for “Martha,” a haunting tale of a woman who leaves a cult only to find its emotional scars aren’t healing as quickly as she hoped. The film hinges on Olsen's performance, and she delivers in ways more accomplished actresses might not match.
Olsen's acting career is suddenly ablaze, what with several films ready for release next year and a just-announced role alongside Glenn Close in the period drama "Therese Raquin."
Her first screen credit actually happened back in 1994 with "How the West Was Fun." If you missed that straight-to-DVD title from the Olsen Twins, she played the "Girl in Car."
She's taken a more serious approach to her craft since then.
“All the work I put in in the [acting school] conservatory has been really helpful,” she says. “I wouldn’t have the confidence to approach anything if I didn’t have the tools they provided,”
That came in handy while shooting the upcoming feature “Peace, Love & Misunderstanding” alongside Jane Fonda. Lately, Olsen keeps rubbing elbows with legendary actors.
“There are times I’m completely intimidated with the people I’m working with at first. Then, you remind yourself you have tools, if not the experience, to back you up,” she says.
That said, she considers the last year to be a remarkable learning laboratory given her time shooting “Martha,” “Peace” and the forthcoming “Silent House,” a remake of a single-take Uruguayan thriller.
The latter two films have yet to hit theaters, but if the glowing reviews for “Martha” are any indication Olsen could be one of five actresses battling for a golden statuette come early 2012.
She’s ready for it, but isn’t worried about any fame fallout.
“I have no interest in fame or celebrity,” she says, laughing. “It’s weird to me, a fictitious world that doesn’t exist but if you make it exist than that’s not healthy,” she says. “I’m more aware of it than other people are, but it’s not something I fear. I’m more in control of it.”