Before she was starring in world-shattering big-screen epics like “Avengers: Age of Ultron” and “Captain America: Civil War,” Elizabeth Olsen made her mark in independent films like “Martha Marcy May Marlene” and “Kill Your Darlings.” Just don’t make her choose a favorite.
The 26-year-old actress, who reprises her role as the Scarlet Witch in Marvel’s “Civil War,” joined “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” actor John Boyega to announce the nominations for Film Independent’s Spirit Awards, honoring her love of working independent projects. Following the presentation, Olsen chatted briefly with CBR News, explaining why both small- and large-scale productions have their appeal, particularly when they include the chance to watch her fellow “Avengers” stars at work in the midst of major movie undertakings.
CBR News: When working on films like “Civil War,” what do you like about the huge level of production and those kind of opportunities?
Elizabeth Olsen: It’s movie magic! You step on set, and you get to work with the best of the best. These people go and they end up working on something smaller in between a lot of times. You get to work with the best DPs, you get to work with the best camera operators. You get to work with the best stunt people. You get to work with the best costume designers. It’s just cool because you’re around so much talent.
It’s also a whole other learning experience of how to perform in those kinds of films, because it is different. Many people say that it’s the same preparation, it’s the same character development, it’s the same that kind of work, but on set, it’s just different. It’s just larger, it’s not intimate, it’s just different.
To watch [Robert] Downey and [Chris] Hemsworth and Scarlett [Johansson] and [Chris] Evans and [Mark] Ruffalo and watch how they deal with that and kind of absorb that information, I feel like I get a little master class every day.
Conversely, what do you love about making independent movies? What’s the great thing for you when you’re working on a smaller budget and with more artistic ambitions?
It’s such a team atmosphere, and there is such adrenaline that goes to it. You never want to leave set. You always want to be there for the light change; you want to be there for the new camera set up. You don’t want a stand-in to stand in for you when they line up the shot. You’re like, “I’ll stand here. I can stand here. I’ve got two legs.”
There is so much adrenaline and so much collaboration. There’s really just one goal. There’s an integrity of the director, integrity of the artist, integrity of the DP, and everyone’s communicating together, and there isn’t another hand that’s trying to, not impede, because sometimes another hand is helpful, but it’s just that — you are all in very nice communication with each other, and everything is hopefully transparent. It’s just a really creative environment.