Elizabeth Olsen reveals playing Wanda in MCU made her lose roles in other movies: ‘I started to feel frustrated’

For Elizabeth Olsen, who initially made her mark in independent films, the success of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is the equivalent of turning a comic-book page to find yourself the subject of a massive splash panel. During a video call last week, she was asked how it felt to come to the fore as a blockbuster leading lady.

Written by Kyle Buchanan
Elizabeth Olsen is used to waiting in the wings. When she was an acting student at New York University, she landed an understudy role in the Broadway play “Impressionism,” starring Jeremy Irons. The show ran for 56 performances. Olsen didn’t take the stage a single time.
That sort of lost opportunity could mess with an actress’ mind, but Olsen was never in any hurry to seize the spotlight. Years later, when she was cast as the reality-bending witch Wanda Maximoff in Avengers: Age of Ultron, her character was more of an ancillary Avenger than the main event, and in three subsequent Marvel films — each with a more overstuffed ensemble of superheroes than the last — Olsen never rose higher than 10th billing.
But a funny thing happened after biding all of that time: WandaVision, a sitcom spoof about Wanda and her android husband, became an unexpected phenomenon when it made its debut early last year on Disney+. This month, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, which counts Olsen as its co-lead and pits her troubled witch against Benedict Cumberbatch’s goateed sorcerer, has proved even more major. The movie collected $185 million in its first three days of release, ranking 11th among the biggest domestic opening weekends of all time.
For Olsen, who initially made her mark in independent films, this is the equivalent of turning a comic-book page to find yourself the subject of a massive splash panel. During a video call last week, I asked how it felt to come to the fore as a blockbuster leading lady.
“I’m totally mortified!” she said. “I won’t watch it.”
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Hours after we spoke, Olsen would walk the red carpet at the Hollywood premiere of “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness,” but she planned to flee the theater as soon as the movie began. “This is pressure I’m feeling for the first time,” she explained. “I have a lot of anxiety with ‘Doctor Strange’ coming out because I’ve never really had to lead a commercial film by myself.”
She coughed, unwrapping a foil package: “Sorry, I have a lozenge.”