Olivia Wilde Dreams Big On The Set Of The Incredible Burt Wonderstone
What would you say is the defining characteristic of your character?
She’s very smart, and she’s confident, and yet she’s a secret magician. She doesn’t reveal that she’s a magician in her own right until very late in the game. I’m not sure. She’s quietly brilliant [laughs]. On her best days. She’s a little bit crippled by insecurity.
What is her connection like with Jim Carrey? I know that you end up leaving Steve Carell’s character for him.
Yes, but not by her choice. In the end the work of many magician’s assistants is that it’s a job like any other. She needs it to survive. She needs a gig and she wants so work in the world of magic. So she is forced to find herself working for this very unsettling type of magician who has a very different style than she does. She’s put into some really odd situations with him and she kind of sadly goes along with it. I mean, out of necessity. But she is kind of unhappy to do so. Like wearing that red suit.
How was that tight luchador costume?
It’s so funny. We were at Universal City Walk and I didn’t think that anybody was going to take a picture. We had it locked down pretty well and then I saw the photo and was like, “Wow.” Then I thought, “They’re not going to know it’s me.” Then they sort of did know it was me. It was a costume that I didn’t want to get out until the movie, because it does have to be seen in context. Although hey, if it makes people curious that’s good too. It’s pretty funny, that costume. It’s an example of the position that Steve Grey, which is Jim Carrey’s character, puts me in. And how Jane, my character, really learns she has to go on a journey and stick up for herself – and finally gets to the point where she gets to design her own costume. That’s a great moment for her.
What’s it like working with Jim Carrey? What’s your personal connection to him been like?
He’s wonderful! It’s sort of surreal to be eating lunch next to Jim Carrey at [craft services] and then go shoot a scene with him. He’s a comedy god – all of these guys are. But really, Jim Carrey I grew up watching closely. Ace Ventura blew my mind. Fire Marshall Bill was a huge part of my childhood! To be with him and witness the process is such an extraordinary thing. I mean, he is a perfectionist. He is so incredibly physical, and in control of his physical comedy. It’s like watching a dancer. It’s amazing. He’s always at 100%. He has incredibly high standards for himself and it’s wonderful to watch him reach them. He’s a real interesting person too. We both share a passion for Haiti. He’s done a lot of great, interesting work down there. It’s amazing. I remember I sat down at the table read, and I suddenly realized that to my left was Jim Carrey and to my right was Steve Carell. Then there’s Steve Buscemi, Alan Arkin, James Gandolfini… I was thinking, “They must mean a different Olivia Wilde” [laughs]. I couldn’t believe it was happening and I took a picture secretly of our names on our little cards. I just couldn’t believe that I got to hang out with them. I’ve really learned something every day and taken advantage of that opportunity. Specifically with Jim, it does blow my mind of think of all the movies that are important to me. I think I’ve seen Dumb and Dumber 47 times at least. Now to be able to watch what it takes to reach those heights with all these people… Comedy is fun to make, but it’s taken as seriously as drama. Of course, you know all this, talking to people much more experienced than I am. I’m learning that in a really wonderful way and I’m hoping that this isn’t the last time that I get to do that.
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