ELIZABETH OLSEN is one of Hollywood’s most sought-after actresses, bagging six hit screen roles in just seven years and amassing a £10million fortune.
But years living in the shadow of her Nineties child-star twin sisters Mary-Kate and Ashley led the Avengers actress to consider changing her name.
The 31-year-old, who now stars in Marvel’s new Disney+ miniseries
WandaVision, has also revealed her older sisters’ intense fame almost put her off acting altogether.
Mary-Kate and Ashley, 35, were worth around £100million by the time they turned 18 thanks to appearances in films, TV shows and merch-andising deals in the late 90s.
On growing up around the famous twins, Elizabeth said: “It was insanity. There were times when my sisters would always be spotted and I would be in the car with them and it would really freak me out.
“Speaking about the influence her sisters had on her, she added: “It has helped me navigate how I want to approach my career. I always had this need to prove myself to everyone around me that I work really hard.
“I couldn’t walk in a room without everyone already having an opinion. The thing about nepotism is the fear that you don’t earn or deserve the work.
“There was even a part of me when I was a little girl that thought if I’m gonna be an actress I’m going to go by Elizabeth Chase, which is my middle name.
“And then, once I started working, I was like, ‘I love my family, I like my name, I love my sisters. Why would I be so ashamed of that?’ It’s fine now.”
Today we can reveal how Elizabeth’s journey to stardom has not always been plain sailing, with a “horrible” Game Of Thrones audition, panic attacks on set and a battle not to overshare about her life.
Elizabeth was born in California, two years after her sisters got their first screen role as babies in hit US sitcom Full House in 1987.
When the show ended eight years later they enjoyed global success with another comedy, Two Of A Kind, before starring in a series of films.
The twins decided to take a step back from acting when they hit their twenties and instead focus on fashion, developing their own brands, The Row and Elizabeth & James.
Elizabeth said: “Everything my sisters have ever worn in my entire life I have wanted to wear still as an adult today. I want their coats. I want their shoes, their dresses. And that is something that I never grew out of.”
The twins have said previously that if they were ever to return to the screen together, it would be as producers.
It has since been left to Elizabeth to keep the Olsen acting flag flying.
On discovering her own passion for entertainment, she said: “[Growing up] I was a dancer and I loved musical theatre. It started when I was seven, there was this musical theatre camp and a bunch of my friends would go every summer.
“Oddly my sisters didn’t love being in live theatre. They didn’t love live audiences. They were pretty shy and it made them nervous.”
Elizabeth and brother Trent would spend time after school on the set of the twins’ shows, sometimes scoring a bit part. She recalls: “We’d hang around on set and every once in a while, they would ask us, ‘So, do you guys want to be in this one? We’ll put gum in your hair’.
“To me, it was never acting. It was silly and fun.” Despite Mary-Kate and Ashley’s meteoric success, their parents — Jarnette, a former ballet dancer and David, a property developer — initially felt Elizabeth should have a more ‘normal’ career.
She said: “I thought I should go into something that was more structured. My mum thought I should go to law school, my dad thought I could do Wall Street.”
But, at 17, she moved to New York to study acting at the renowned Tisch School Of The Arts and would spend hours practising for auditions.
She added: “My father wanted me to have a back-up and get a degree, then when I started acting everyone got nervous I was going to drop out of college.”
Elizabeth’s hard work paid off and she landed her big break, aged 22, in 2011 cult thriller Martha Marcy May Marlene, for which she won several awards. S
I did this movie called Red Lights that no one saw. I was experiencing panic attacks for the first time.
he has since starred as nurse Elle Brody in Godzilla (2014), FBI agent Jane Banner in 2017 murder mystery Wind River and most notably as Scarlet Witch — a.k.a. Wanda Maximoff — in the Marvel Cinematic Universe films.
But while she had a role in the top-grossing movie ever — 2019’s Avengers: Endgame — inevitably there have been career lows.
Elizabeth has described her early audition for Emilia Clarke’s part of Daenerys in hit fantasy series Game Of Thrones as “horrible”.
On having to deliver the fiery queen’s lines in both British and American accents, she has said: “It was the most awkward audition.” And during the making of 2012 flop Red Lights, with Robert De Niro, Elizabeth was suffering frequent panic attacks.
She says: “I did this movie called Red Lights that no one saw. I was experiencing panic attacks for the first time. I didn’t want anyone to know, because I thought they wouldn’t insure me or something. I kept having them while filming, but I didn’t let anyone know. It was weird.”
This week saw the release of Elizabeth’s latest outing as the Scarlet Witch in the sitcom-inspired series WandaVision. Paul Bettany reprises his role as the superhero’s android lover Vision.
Set after the events of Avengers: Endgame, each of the nine episodes is modelled on a decade of American television, starting with the Fifties.
She said: “To prepare I watched a lot of Dick Van Dyke, Bewitched, The Brady Bunch, Family Ties, Malcolm In The Middle and Modern Family.
“WandaVision is such an incredible concept. It’s the first time we get to understand Wanda as the Scarlet Witch that she is in the comics, and that’s exciting for me because I haven’t yet been able to give her that time on screen.”
Elizabeth has moved to Richmond, South West London, with her musician fiancé Robbie Arnett, of Indie band Milo Greene, to film MCU’s Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness, out in 2022.
She said: “The thing that’s amazing about Marvel is that they never, as producers, tell anyone to get into any kind of physical shape.
“They don’t have expectations of you being thin or strong. They just assume if you think your character needs that, you will do that.”
Elizabeth is so dedicated to the Marvel movies that she once asked her boss when it would be most convenient for her to start a family.
She said of approaching Kevin Feige, president of Marvel Studios: “I literally asked, ‘So when can I have kids? When can I be pregnant?’ And he goes, ‘Live your life, and we’ll work around it’. I don’t think it’s happening within the next five years, but it’s something I’m really excited for.”
On what she has learnt from her family’s success, Elizabeth says it is to stay private. She explained: “My sisters are very tight-lipped, notoriously so. If it only involves me then I’ll share it, but if it involves another party ever, then I won’t. I don’t want to tell someone else’s story.”
Elizabeth insists she’s a “homebody” and loves nothing more than “grocery shopping”, baking and generally avoiding parties and the limelight.
She added: “Fame has also made me someone who is more of a homebody than maybe I would like to be but I know where not to go.
“If I could do whatever I wanted for the day, I’d start with the gym, then I’d go to the grocery store, because it’s my favourite thing.”
In her bid to stay private, Elizabeth has admitted she has an ongoing battle over whether to ditch her social media accounts.
She said: “Every day I think I should delete it. I think, ‘I want to promote Avengers’ and then I put something private up there and think, ‘This is stupid, why did I do that? I should delete it immediately’.”
For the sake of her fans, let’s hope she stays online.
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