Elizabeth Olsen Talks Scarlet Witch in Avengers Infinity War


Elizabeth Olsen is apologizing for being “tired and inarticulate” for the second time in 15 minutes, but actually she seems exactly like her usual whip-smart, thoughtful, engaging self. The Montage Hotel in Beverly Hills is crammed today because 20 of the all-star cast are here for the movie junket—including Scarlett Johansson, Chadwick Boseman, Robert Downey, Danai Gurira, Zoe Saldana, Mark Ruffalo, and Sebastian Stan, to name a few. This craziness is how we end up in what Olsen calls an “absolutely creepy” room, furnished only with two hard chairs and some posters. She apologizes again because there are no snacks and drinks available in there, and then—almost immediately—the lights begin flickering. “It’s definitely haunted,” she says.

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Despite this possibly supernatural distraction, she turns her full attention to talking about how Black Panther changed everything, her pro-level ability with finger gestures, and dealing with sensitive non-human dating issues.

She’d prefer to tweak her Avengers costume just a little.

“It would just not be a cleavage corset. I like corsets, but I’d like it to be higher. Everyone has these things that cover them—Tessa Thompson does, Scarlett does. I would like to cover up a bit. It’s funny because sometimes I look around and I’m just like—wow, I’m the only one who has cleavage, and that’s a constant joke because they haven’t really evolved my superhero costume that much. But then you look at where it started in the comic books and it was a leotard and a headband so…oh, it’s horrible, it’s so horrible. So at least they know that’s not cool. But then they made Wonder Woman, you know? And that’s what she’s in. I think of the costumes and what we have to wear—it’s more about iconic images, because that’s what these movies are…. I think that’s the goal with the costumes, and it’s not representing the average woman.”

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Marvel superhero movies are getting inclusivity right.

“That’s why I like working with Marvel, because its almost like they’re not trying to slap anyone over the head with it, but they recognize that they have such a huge platform, and they’re using it to be as inclusive as they can with their storylines and representing the world. That’s why [Black] Panther felt like such a huge thing in culture, and they’re aware of it, and their goal is to not make the same stories that have happened over and over and over again. I think that’s why the movies continue to be successful from a story and tone point of view.”

Even Scarlet Witch can find love…

“I think its really sweet [between The Vision, played by Paul Bettany, and Scarlet Witch]. The funniest thing about it is that Paul’s whole journey with The Vision is that they should just try to figure out what it’s like to be human. This is that step, of his discovery of what it’s like to be human, and [Scarlet Witch] keeps losing everyone she loves—so it’s nice to get to find some sort of relief in her journey.”

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…and it’s probably easier to date a non-human than other dudes, right?

“He’s probably more human and sensitive than any guy out there. He has all of the facts of what adds up to being sweet and kind and generous.”

Her finger-waving superpower gestures are totally on point now.

“It comes naturally now, I don’t have to do isolation exercises. Originally, we had a general idea of what Joss [Whedon, director of previous Avengers films] wanted the movement to be. Then a choreographer, Jennie White, who is now a good friend of mine because we spent so much time together, translated what was in his brain to the character. Then for this movie, the stunt team really embraced the Scarlet Witch and they now have become like weird nerds [about it]. They got a stunt person, the incredible C.C. [Ice], equally a nerd, who loves martial arts and it’s evolved. That’s how I started working on this—with just a week of only stunts in Scotland. I’ve never had that opportunity before, so it was fun.”

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Elizabeth Olsen as Scarlet Witch in Avengers Infinity War

Marvel Studios

Home decorating is her secret skill, but she still thinks her sisters have better taste.

“That’s all I would like to be doing. I would like to have a company. I’d like to flip houses. I actually just flipped my home. I have never done that before and I was the person who did it without a designer. So that was really stressful. But the thing is, my sisters have the greatest taste. So out of any cool person I’ve met, any interesting artist, director, actor—my sisters have always had better taste than anyone I’ve ever met, so I could never look at myself and think that I have.”

She really wishes she was in The Handmaid’s Tale.

“It was one of my favorite books in high school. Culturally, it’s such a brilliant story, and it’s so creepy that it’s more relevant now than ever. There’s a post-democratic, authoritarian world, and it’s almost like a post-feminist world, where we revert back. I just kind of think it’s amazing that [the book] came out 15 years ago and Trump is president now, and there are all these women’s rights issues being argued for. The impact it had when it came out was so genius.

The thing that I like most about it is that there are rules that that reality lives by, and everyone watches it and understands the rules. I think it’s really hard to get an audience to go there. Also Reed Morano [director] I love, and Rachel Morrison, who shot Black Panther. All of those combinations of women who have been working their asses off are now getting this obvious credit that has been due.”

Avengers: Infinity War is out now.



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