You may not have heard of Elizabeth Olsen-yet, but you soon will.
The youngest Olsen of the clan that was made into a household name by her paparazzi targeted older twin sisters, Olsen debuts in the tense indie Martha Marcy May Marlene, playing a young woman who walks out of a cult-like group and struggles to restore normalcy in her life, as well as reconnect a broken bond with her sister. A festival lightning rod, Olsen has emerged as Sundance’s “It” girl, and early Oscar buzz has already begun to swirl around her performance.Olsen, a student at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, underwent some aggressive research for the role. “If I had talked to someone who inspired some of the events in the story, I would feel like I owed them reverence in a weird way,” said Olsen in an interview. “I’d want to tell their story, and this is a made-up story from (Writer/Director) Sean’s imagination. There also wasn’t really much time, which was to my advantage because I didn’t second-guess all these things.”
While at first glance it is easy to dismiss Olsen’s imminent rise as Hollywood nepotism, the graceful actress earned the part with her own chops. In fact, while her sisters reside in a world of glitter and glam, the younger Olsen has taken a DIY approach to her career-and her life. Director Sean Durkin recalled how Olsen arrived to her audition with four giant suitcases; more telling of a nomadic college student than Hollywood inner-circle. "I think I had my detergent with me," Olsen explained. On the same day she was to move out of her apartment, she was heading to a film set and was essentially homeless.Declining offers of posh living arrangements, Olsen is working her way through the ranks on her own terms, living next to a Laundromat in a rough NYC neighborhood. With what is being described as a breakthrough performance (“She never feels like she’s trying, and she can convey a lot with her eyes without saying anything,” Durkin has said), Elizabeth Olsen is already entrenched as an indie darling. And once Martha Marcy May Marlene hits the mainstream, it is a safe bet that she will be updating her digs on her own dime. Of course, that is if she wants it. Growing up under a blanket of flashing bulbs, Olsen is more steak than sizzle, never one to seek the limelight.
"'You mean, there's another one?'" Co-star Sarah Paulson said as she recalled her reaction upon hearing about the third Olsen sister before the duo began production on Martha Marcy May Marlene. "Where have they been hiding her?"
Where she has been hiding, no one cares. That Elizabeth Olsen has been found-it kind of feels like Christmas morning.