Exclusive Interview with Olivia Wilde

BATD ON Mar 13, 2013 AT 12:22 pm

Having shot to fame as Alex in the obsession that was The O.C, Olivia Wilde has since appeared on the silver screen most famously as Quorra in Tron. This year, the New York born actress plays Jane in the Steve Carrell comedy, The Incredible Burt Wonderstone. Here, the gorgeous Olivia tells us a little about her character in the film, and what it was like to work alongside the kings of comedy Steve Carrell and Jim Carrey.

Olivia Wilde at the Golden Globes

How did you get involved in this film, and what interested you about your character, Jane?

Not easily. I didn’t expect to get this role. I knew that they were going to cast a real comedian in the part of Jane. And the names that they were floating around were much more impressive than I. And, I was just happy to audition, which was really just to have the chance to meet Steve Carell, whom I have loved for a long time. And just to have fun. And just to play around and do a fun audition. I think that in itself was like a little performance, and it can be great. So when they called me and told me I got the role, I was shocked. And I really worked hard to create something in Jane that made her stick out a little, made her special. Because, so often in these films, the girl can fall to the wayside, in terms of interesting idiosyncrasies in the character. So I worked with Steve and with Don Scardino, our director, to create something a little more interesting in Jane, and I’m very happy with her.


What kind of background helped to give Jane her unique personality?

Yes. Well, that, we wanted to find a reason why Jane wasn’t a magician. If she wants to be a magician so badly, what is holding her back? Why is she a stagehand in the back? And I thought, what if she has crippling stage fright? What if she cannot bear to be in front of people because of some failure in her childhood of performing. So we added the scene where she’s quite literally pushed on stage, and she’s like a deer in the headlights. And is awful at being a magician’s assistant, initially, and slowly gains confidence and comes into her own. But all of that happened in pre-production, just creating those little explanations for why Jane is where she is in her life.

Steve Carell and Olivia Wilde

Steve Carell and Olivia Wilde


Do you think Jane is a magician at heart?

Yes! And when she’s alone she does great magic. But, if you’re an actor at home alone, and you’re a great actor, it’s wonderful, it can be fun. But it’s a very dependent art form. You depend on the audience. It’s different than many other art forms. So I think that Jane needed to be literally shoved into the spotlight in order to achieve her dream, eventually.


Describe the relationship between Jane and Burt Wonderstone.

Yeah. Well, they say never meet your idols because you’ll be disappointed by them, and I think what happens is such an extreme case of that. She is so honored that Burt would want her on stage with him, and then the second she’s there, he reveals himself to be a total pig, and she’s devastated. But what I love so much about Jane is she tells him that right away. She doesn’t kind of cower and play along. She tells him, “I hate you.” Within ten seconds, “I hate you.” And then she sticks with him, because she does feel a certain obligation towards him and Anton. So that’s when it kind of changes into pity. And eventually she’s his only friend. And Jane is a very loyal person, and she wants to be able to tell Burt to go back to his roots and to reconnect with why he became a magician, because that’s also why she wants to be a magician.


Did you enjoy working with Steve Carell?

Yeah! I want to work with him again! He’s fantastic, and I want him to direct something that I’m in, because he has so much experience and such a love for actors. And he’s probably the kindest person in Hollywood, and that’s why it’s so fun to see him playing an asshole. Because it’s clearly not him, but he’s very good at it. And I just think he is extraordinary. So yeah, I hope to work with him again.

The Incredible Burt Wonderstone

The Incredible Burt Wonderstone

And what do you think Steve Buscemi brought to the role of Burt’s partner in crime, Anton?

Steve Buscemi is so talented. He can play a maniacal killer, he can play a gangster. He was brilliant as a magician. He himself loves magic, so I think he really had fun with it. And he brought such heart to that character, such sincerity, that was absolutely necessary to play off of Burt and to show how they had gone in different places in their career. They had slowly fallen apart as a team. But I think only Steve Buscemi could play this role, because he does it with such kind of quiet brilliance. I call him “The Quiet Killer,” because he’s just very humble, and then ends up being the most brilliant part of the scene. Even if he’s sort of standing to the side, he’s just so expressive and so intelligent. And I think he makes everything he’s in so much better.


What did you think of Jim Carrey’s work in the role of Steve Gray?

Yeah, we’re so lucky to have Jim in that role. And he brought a tremendous amount of energy to the film, and so many ideas. He created that character with so many details. He designed the tattoos, he came up with the costume. When he discovered the wig, everything changed and he took a different route with it. And I don’t think anyone else would have found Steve Gray, because Jim does such a tremendous amount of work in creating these characters. For him it’s not about fitting into a film and fulfilling a job, for him it’s about creating another entire person to add to his roster, that then blasts into a film and works his magic. But watching Jim work was really fascinating.


Talk about the process of creating your character. Did you enjoy working with David Copperfield?

Well, creating Jane was fun. We really wanted her to be kind of sweet and approachable. And I knew that she had this insecurity that had stopped her from coming into her own, so everything we created, from her hairstyle to her clothing, was in reflection of that. I think we just worked hard to make her a confident– I’m sorry. I mean, we worked hard to make her, like, a professional woman, but also just a very, very sweet, sweet girl. In terms of David Copperfield, we were very honored to have him as our advisor, and he’s a very nice person.


Were you a fan of magic before getting involved in this movie?

I’ve always loved magic. And when I was a kid, I had magicians at all my birthday parties. And I’ve always loved watching magic. I’m a very easy audience.


What do you think Don Scardino brought to the film as a director?

Don, in his many years on Thirty Rock, has learned to let actors who love to improvise fly. And he loves actors. And he himself is an actor and really kind of speaks the language. And he creates a very calm and welcome, comfortable set. And I think so much of what the director is doing is setting the tone for a film, and allowing people to feel comfortable imagining. And I really admire Don’s kindness and open mind.


Was it hard to keep a straight face at times during filming?

It was hard, but I think that’s why the movie’s so good, because they’re so funny. I loved learning from their professionalism. They showed up and, I’d say the person who broke the most was Steve Carell, but that’s because he loves watching actors be funny. He loves it, and he gets such a kick out of people having a good time. But, of course, he didn’t break very often. I had a really hard time, in certain scenes, not bursting out laughing. But, we’re working.

The Incredible Burt Wonderstone will be in theaters 15 March 2013, this Friday. 

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