The Stunning Transformation Of Elizabeth Olsen

Elizabeth Olsen is best known for playing the powerful Scarlet Witch in the mega-popular Marvel Cinematic Universe. Some people may think that she sort of popped up out of nowhere as a "third Olsen." Part of this is due to Elizabeth's quiet nature, and some of it is due to people simply missing her past on-screen work.

Some may think that Elizabeth Olsen benefited from having famous siblings, but she has made her own way in the entertainment industry. While she did consider taking sisters Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen's help, she didn't need it. She worked hard for many years to become the Hollywood star she is today. Telling that her career is "so different now," she said, "That has something to do with my own growth as a person, being more confident the longer you do it and figuring out my own voice and opinions ... It makes it all the more fun when you feel like what you have to say matters." Frankly, it's a shame more people aren't aware of all the things that came before her debut in "Avengers: Age of Ultron." It's time to rectify that. Here's the stunning transformation of Elizabeth Olsen.

She grew up on TV and movie sets

Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen starred in the sitcom "Full House" beginning in 1987. This was before Elizabeth Olsen was born, but the show and her sisters' subsequent fame would be a big influence on her childhood. To Elizabeth though, it was simply life. "It was just normal. ... It was never weird," she told Danny Pellegrino on his podcast "Everything Iconic." As she grew up, she visited the sets of her sisters' on-screen projects very frequently with her brother.

"When my brother and I would get picked up from school, that was our after-school care," she told SFGate. "It was really hanging around on set, so every once in a while, they'd 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." While it might still be a fond memory, she expressed to Pellegrino the desire to distance herself from the show and its sequel "Fuller House."

Elizabeth Olsen made her on-screen debut

Somewhere along the way, Elizabeth Olsen's interest in acting piqued. Olsen played a few small parts in projects that starred her sisters. She laughs off those exciting beginnings now. "Oh, I really got to exercise the acting muscles there — you can't imagine the awesome thespian demands on the kid playing Girl In Car in 'How The West Was Fun'!" she joked to The Guardian. "And my biggest scene was getting bubblegum out of my hair!"

After that, Olsen briefly tried to get into other projects, most notably "Spy Kids." She ended up not getting the part, but it definitely taught her how serious acting could be. "[The script] looked bigger than the Bible to me," Olsen said on the "Today" show. "I didn't understand why I would ever read something that big." Olsen, of course, has landed much bigger roles since that first foray into film. Maybe she's learned to speed-read!

She learned to distrust the media

The Olsen twins are pretty well-known for being reclusive and hesitant to meet with the press, and it appears that's a family trait. "I understand that it's not that normal to be worried about being photographed, when you're growing up, by strange men around Los Angeles who are chasing you in cars," Elizabeth Olsen shared with The Telegraph. Understandably, such experiences made her pretty suspicious of the paparazzi. "It made me despise those kinds of people, it made me despise gossip magazines."

In that same interview, she revealed that she likes traveling incognito, and does not want to reward "stalkery" behavior. Luckily, she's found a way to get around being recognized. "When I was at the airport yesterday, one guy came up to me and said, 'Has anyone ever told you, you're the spitting image of Elizabeth Olsen?' And I said, 'Oh yeah, I've heard that before,' and that was it." We can only hope she enters an Elizabeth Olsen look-alike contest someday, Charlie Chaplin style.

She coped with her parents' divorce

Many might assume that the Olsens' mom and dad, Jarnette and David, were stage parents, but that wasn't the case at all. "My mother's a ballet dancer — which isn't what you call a job — and the mother of four children, and my father works full-time in real estate," Elizabeth Olsen shared with The Guardian. "My parents had very little to do with my sisters' job really, at least not after getting them that first job." 

David and Jarnette Olsen divorced in February of 1996. Elizabeth was just 6 years old at the time. David married his coworker a month later. Some thought the split had fractured the family, as Ashley reportedly did not attend the wedding, but, despite this, David claimed that things were fine. "The reality is that the transition has been very smooth. Everyone sees eye to eye. The girls are fine," he told Entertainment Weekly. Today, Elizabeth is close with both her parents, even having her father visit on set sometimes.

The actor stepped back from the entertainment biz

It wasn't in the cards for Elizabeth Olsen to be a breakout child star like her sisters. As it turns out, she just preferred being a kid. She had to make a decision when an angry ballet teacher threatened to drop her for missing so many classes after she'd been going on auditions. "I realized at that point, 'I really love ballet. I really love sports. I really love doing my camps. I really love taking my singing lessons and doing all these things and being a student,'" she told SFGate. Thus, her parents had her sit down and write a pros and cons list, and the cons won out.

However, she would still hold a love for the acting craft, as "it was something [she] always wanted to do, and it was something [she] continued." She noted, "I grew up with a really creative group of kids, and we would always make our own movies and plays." It would just take a few years for Elizabeth Olsen to start taking acting seriously.

Elizabeth Olsen caught the acting bug again

Another adult figure in Elizabeth Olsen's life would influence her to move back into the world of acting. A drama teacher at her Los Angeles high school helped her find the academic side of it. According to an interview by the website, she learned that acting was "something I could make tangible and more philosophical than just going to an audition and making a television show — it had so much history and soul."

Olsen went on to study at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts and, as a sophomore, she was accepted into the Atlantic Theater Company's conservatory program. She worked on student projects and auditioned for some professional shows. She was eventually cast in the off-Broadway production "Dust" and the Broadway show "Impressionism." From there, she was able to land an agent, and it looked like her career was taking off. "It all just kind of happened," Olsen said to SFGate. "I got lucky. Good place, good time."

She nearly quit the business

Just as the metaphorical train was about to leave the station on Elizabeth Olsen's acting path, there was another bump in the road. In 2004, her sister Mary-Kate Olsen entered treatment for an eating disorder. The next several years saw the paparazzi harassing the young woman. Things only got worse when the twins went to New York for school, where they had to drop out early. The twins would have to wear "grungy" clothing to try and escape the never-ending flash of photographers.

At this point, Elizabeth found the attention abusive. "They would follow us shopping and [Mary-Kate and Ashley] would almost get into car accidents because of the paparazzi," Elizabeth told the magazine Nylon. "And I didn't want to be a part of it. I just thought, This is such bulls**t." No doubt this difficult period just reaffirmed the Olsens' distrust of the media and informed a lot of Elizabeth's caginess when it comes to being photographed.

Elizabeth Olsen studied in Russia

As a part of her college education, Elizabeth Olsen got to spend some time on a completely different continent. As a junior, she flew all the way to Russia to study for a semester at the Moscow Art Theatre School. "My teacher was teaching me the whole Stanislavsky training, and I love Chekov, so I really wanted to go," she said to Nylon. Apparently, she used to speak a little Russian, but wasn't able to keep that skill.

Still, the semester proved very formative for Olsen and her art. She shared with the local New York City paper The Village Voice, "[It was] really physical. I don't think there's better theater in the world than in Russia. ...The semester I studied at the Moscow Art Theatre was much more about using your imagination. I thought a lot about theater in my life when I was there." Upon returning to the United States, she'd have more well-rounded skills.

She made a splash at Sundance

The 2011 Sundance Festival was Elizabeth Olsen's time to shine. She had been a part of many small film projects, but this is where she started to gain critical attention. She starred in two thrillers that year, "Martha Marcy May Marlene" and "Silent House," showing off her acting chops. Oh, and she was still taking classes at NYU at the time, in case that wasn't enough.

Critics were surprised by this seemingly sudden arrival, but this had been a long time coming. Olsen told Nylon, "When all the Sundance reviews were coming out and they were like, 'It Girl of the festival!' 'Came out of nowhere!' 'And she's an Olsen sister!' my dad would be like, 'Don't they know you've been doing this your whole life?! These people should be writing that you have been working on this forever!'" At least they were finally paying attention — better late than never! It was time for the world to know the real Elizabeth Olsen.

A star on the rise

After the festival, Elizabeth Olsen didn't really buy that she had hit the jackpot. "It's not like everything has changed. It's still a struggle, just a different kind of struggle," she told Nylon at the time. Films like "Liberal Arts" and "Red Lights" continued to let her shine, and helped set her as a star of the indie film market. Now Olsen sees that this part of her career really was a great step forward. 

She shared with Vanity Fair, "What I would have told myself then was to be patient in choosing the next jobs and to believe the noise a bit and to know that this is a hard place to get to." She further discussed how these years were a great learning experience of the Hollywood business. "I had to learn how to make work choices; I had to learn how to pick jobs differently. I went through a few years of kind of just doing things because I was so lucky and happy to be offered opportunities. ... in hindsight, I could've made smarter choices that could've led to a different place."

She auditioned for a huge fantasy series

It's safe to say Elizabeth Olsen will always be known as Wanda Maximoff. But, if things had worked out slightly differently for her, the actor might have been synonymous with another beloved character. During an appearance on The Hollywood Reporter's "Awards Chatter" podcast, Olsen revealed she'd actually tried out for the iconic role of Daenerys Targaryen in the hit fantasy series "Game of Thrones." However, Emilia Clarke ultimately went on to play the Mother of Dragons. 

Although Olsen thoroughly enjoys auditioning, she acknowledged that, on this particular occasion, it didn't go her way. "I auditioned for, like, the assistant to the casting director in a small room in New York with just a camera on me and them reading the script," Olsen recalled. "I was doing the Khaleesi speech when she comes out of the fire. It was awful."  

During a 2019 interview with Vulture, Olsen described her "GOT" try-out as "the most awkward audition" thus far, noting she had to do it both with and without a British accent. In fact, it's her go-to audition horror story. Much like the rest of us, though, Olsen did go on to become a fan of the show.

Elizabeth Olsen joined the Marvel Cinematic Universe

Elizabeth Olsen's big splash, of course, came with her cameo at the end of "Captain America: Winter Soldier." Playing Scarlet Witch in the titan of cultural zeitgeist, the Marvel Cinematic Universe introduced Olsen to the general public. She would continue the role in "Avengers: Age of Ultron," "Captain America: Civil War," "Avengers: Infinity War," and "Avengers: Endgame." Being the true thespian she is, Olsen was drawn to the character's emotional struggle. "There was so much emotional depth to her and then there's the fact that she is her own villain because of her inability to understand what her powers are and how to control them," she explained to Harper's Bazaar in 2018.

Of course, this newfound fame gave Olsen a ton of new attention, which disrupted her private lifestyle. "Every day I think I should delete [her Instagram]," she said. "I'm trying to treat that aspect of my life as part of the job. ... It's a distraction more than anything." Still, she appreciates her fans and lovingly calls the MCU community "magical."

An engagement ... and a breakup

Elizabeth Olsen met actor Boyd Holbrook on the set of "Very Good Girls" in 2012. A source from the film's set told Us Weekly that the two had "great chemistry" and really hit it off. Olsen and Holbrook moved in together in 2014 and a few months later were engaged. This was not long after sister Mary-Kate announced her engagement to Olivier Sarkozy. Another source claimed that Olsen and Holbrook had been planning to get engaged for quite some time.

Regarding her engagement, Olsen told Marie Claire in a 2014 interview (via E! News), "I'm relaxed about it, but I am excited and planning ideas because it's fun." She continued, "It's just like throwing a party to celebrate life." Unfortunately, it was not meant to be. The two split in January 2015. What's worse, apparently Olsen dumped Holbrook on the same day that his best friend passed away (via E! News). Olsen's private nature has kept us from learning too much about the split, but we assume it greatly affected her ... despite her alleged decision to break up with Boyd over the phone.

She's used her privilege for good

Elizabeth Olsen's down-to-earth lifestyle has apparently made her realize the importance of her position in the public eye. Her casting as the Scarlet Witch, a character with Jewish and Roma ethnicity, led to some concerns of white-washing. Olsen was surprised by the critiques, but understood where they were coming from. She said to The Telegraph, "I know I'm a white blonde American woman, and I know what that looks like to other people." She added, "I think it's very important not to fool yourself. You can be who you are and still be able to relate to different kinds of people in the world."

After doing "Wind River," a film about sexual violence on a reservation, Olsen was moved to volunteer weekly at the Rape Treatment Center. However, as with many of things she does, she kept it on the down low. "I don't need to tell people what charity I do," she said in a Vanity Fair interview. "I think it's funny when people are like, this is my charity. It's also not something to brag about. It's a really devastating thing in the world."

Sorry For Your Loss was a major passion project for her

When it came to Facebook Watch series "Sorry for Your Loss," Elizabeth Olsen was totally in from the jump. As she explained to BuzzFeed, Kit Steinkellner wrote the script for the pilot episode and handed it over to Robin Schwartz, who contacted Olsen and encouraged her to produce the project too. "So the three of us and one other woman, who ended up moving on from the project, pitched it all over town and got it made," Olsen said. 

The whole process took four years total, which was a major "learning experience," according to the actor. Olsen fully embraced the challenges of producing, even when it meant working around the clock when usually she'd just get to do her part in front of the camera and head home. "I've loved the obsessive attention that is required," the Marvel star gushed. In fact, Olsen felt even more comfortable in her dual roles during the show's second season, once they'd all settled into a comfortable groove together. 

Elizabeth Olsen signed on to take her Marvel role to the small screen

Soon after the announcement for the streaming service Disney+, Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige revealed that a series featuring Scarlet Witch and the character's superhero love interest Vision was slated to premiere on it. Elizabeth Olsen divulged to Variety that the show, titled "WandaVision," would be set in the 1950s. "Paul [Bettany] and I are really excited," she added.

Olsen and Bettany have worked together quite a bit in MCU films, and it seems like they get along very well. And they're even able to throw some playful shade at one another. For example, Bettany quipped in a BUILD interview, "It was very difficult working with Lizzy. I felt like I carried her the whole way through." And he meant literally, as he physically carried Olsen in scenes. 

With Scarlet Witch's rising status in the MCU, Olsen is being thrust even further into the limelight. While success is no doubt welcome, hopefully Olsen can balance the demands of her popularity with her need for privacy.

She didn't want to be associated with Mary-Kate and Ashley

In February 2021, certain internet denizens were shocked to learn that Elizabeth Olsen was related to famous twins, and DTV favorites turned fashion designers, Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, as BuzzFeed reported. Early in her life, Elizabeth appeared in two of her elder sisters' projects, "How the West Was Fun" and "Full House." However, Elizabeth was initially concerned about being viewed as a nepotism hire when she began acting herself.

As the "WandaVision" star told Glamour UK, she was interested in auditioning from the age of 10. "But during that time, I thought 'I don't want to be associated with [Mary-Kate and Ashley],'" she admitted. The youngster realized that if she was known predominantly as their little sister (Elizabeth is three years younger than her twin sisters), people might question whether she'd truly earned the right to be an actor too. 

In fact, Elizabeth briefly considered going by her middle name, Elizabeth Chase, just to differentiate herself further. Now, of course, nobody would dare suggest she's only famous because of her sisters — especially since many people forget they're related. 

In 2019, Elizabeth Olsen got engaged to Robbie Arnett

While Elizabeth Olsen had been engaged briefly in the past, by 2019, she was ready to give forever-love another shot. That's the year she accepted a ring from Milo Greene frontman Robbie Arnett, according to People magazine. Congrats, you two!

Olsen and Arnett had been dating for several years when they made the engagement official, first appearing in public together back in March 2017. The couple made their red carpet debut later that year at the Gersh pre-Emmys party, and they have been together ever since. Olsen and Arnett later married in 2020, as noted by People.

Olsen has said she could imagine children in her home. "I was also thinking, 'There's this small room upstairs, which would be good for a kid,'" she told Modern Living (via People). "I don't know where things will lead, but I do think about it in that way: 'I think I could raise kids here.'"

She learned that 'no is a full sentence'

Elizabeth Olsen was eager to forge her own path in the industry without simply being known as the other Olsen sister, but she did learn plenty about it from Mary-Kate and Ashley. In an interview with Glamour UK, the indie breakout star explained how her famous siblings taught her the power of saying no — that "no is a full sentence." She continued, saying, "The word 'No' specifically was something that I remember my sisters isolating and it becoming really empowering. And for women, it's a really empowering word."

Elizabeth asserted how we're advised to turn down plenty of obviously bad stuff (e.g., drugs) when we're young, but Mary-Kate and Ashely taught her to just say no to whatever she wasn't feeling. It helped the star advocate for herself as she was gaining a foothold in the industry, particularly when she felt like something was off. "We don't have to follow suit if it doesn't feel right. We need to be listening to our gut," she asserted.

She's earned an impressive net worth

Elizabeth Olsen's breakout year came in 2011, when Olsen impressed audiences in back-to-back indie standouts "Silent House" and "Martha Marcy May Marlene" (via IMDb). As of this writing, she has 26 acting credits to her name. In 2018 and 2019, Olsen also executive produced "Sorry for Your Loss." She's also contributed songs to various projects as well. Suffice to say, if she was ever worried about being in her famous sisters' shadows, she has more than proven her staying power as a star in her own right.

Celebrity Net Worth estimates her earnings at an impressive $11 million, much of which likely comes from Olsen's massive Marvel paychecks. She stars as Wanda Maximoff, aka Scarlet Witch, across several movies and in the TV series "WandaVision." In 2019, The Hollywood Reporter revealed that Scarlett Johansson, Chris Hemsworth, and Chris Evans each made around $15 to $20 million for "Avengers: Endgame" alone, while Robert Downey Jr. earned a whopping $75 million. Although the publication didn't cite Olsen's earnings, you can bet it was quite the paycheck.

She filmed Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

Wanda Maximoff is set to make her triumphant return in "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness," and Elizabeth Olsen couldn't be happier to bring the fan favorite back to the big screen following the success of "WandaVision." During a Zoom chat with the New York Film Academy, the actor confirmed they'd shot for nine months on location in England during the pandemic, admitting it was a difficult readjustment for her. 

"[Director] Sam Raimi is lovely and I got to learn a lot from him," Olsen said. "It was odd going from 'WandaVision' and bringing this character to a different film that felt more based in the Marvel films. I felt like I was putting on old shoes." She further divulged that the movie is the most frightening in the MCU yet, thanks in large part to horror legend Raimi, who directed the "Evil Dead" series.

She'll star in the series Love and Death

She's predominantly known as a movie star, but Elizabeth Olsen is quickly finding that some of the most interesting work is on the small screen. At some point in 2022, she'll appear in the HBO Max limited series "Love and Death" alongside the high-profile likes of Patrick Fugit and Jesse Plemons. Variety reports that the show is based on the real-life story of murderess/housewife Candy Montgomery, who ruthlessly killed her church friend, Betty Gore, in 1980.

Olsen is playing the challenging lead role, with Fugit as her husband. Lily Rabe stars as Betty while Plemons portrays her spouse. Behind the camera, Nicole Kidman is and TV legend David E. Kelley are executive producing.

"Love and Death" is inspired by a collection of articles on the case, which were published in Texas Monthly. As Sarah Aubrey, head of original content for HBO Max, acknowledged, they're "incredibly fortunate to have Elizabeth at the center of our story to bring out all the layers of Candy that make this story so unforgettable." Kevin Beggs, chairman of Lionsgate Television Group, added, "We cannot imagine a more perfect artist to play the leading role of Candy than Elizabeth Olsen."

A post-acting career plan

In many ways, it feels as though Elizabeth Olsen's career is just getting started. It's unlikely, then, that she'll consider retiring any time soon. Whenever Olsen is finished with acting, though, she has a good idea for how to carve out the rest of her days in relative obscurity. In an interview with BuzzFeed, the "Martha Marcy May Marlene" star shared how she'd love to live in a small town and run a little store. "A shop with flowers and different artisanal goods, and also food for breakfast and lunch. Once a month there would be a dinner you can buy a ticket for," she suggested, adding, "I like simplicity and I really love communities."

Although Olsen told The New York Times in 2019 that she isn't considering motherhood in the next five years, she did reveal that she asked how that would all work with her Marvel commitments. She said the president of Marvel Studios, Kevin Feige, told her, "Live your life, and we'll work around it." As of this writing, the "WandaVision" star is content to work hard, keep her life as private as possible, and just be happy.