‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’: Elizabeth Olsen talks Scarlet Witch’s ‘Wiggly Woo’

April 28, 2015 | 11:04 a.m.

Last summer, Elizabeth Olsen starred opposite Aaron Taylor-Johnson in Gareth Edwards’ big-budget reboot of “Godzilla.” On Friday, the duo is back on screen once more, playing twins Wanda and Pietro Maximoff in Joss Whedon’s highly anticipated Marvel sequel, “Avengers: Age of Ultron.”

Olsen, previously known for her acclaimed turns in such indie films as “Martha Marcy May Marlene” and “Kill Your Darlings,” said she’s enjoyed helping the sequel move in a somewhat stranger direction.

Elizabeth Olsen as Scarlet Witch in "Avengers: Age Of Ultron." (Film Frame / Marvel Studios)

Elizabeth Olsen as Scarlet Witch in “Avengers: Age Of Ultron.” (Film Frame / Marvel Studios)

“I think she allows the Avengers universe to become a little more supernatural, which I think is a cool access rather than just having Asgard as their access to something supernatural,” Olsen said.

Hero Complex caught up with the actress on the “Ultron” set in London to discuss her relationship with Scarlet Witch, working with Whedon and her rapport with Taylor-Johnson.

Were you familiar with Scarlet Witch before you were cast? How did you prepare to play this role?

Because there wasn’t necessarily a script to go by, I went through the actual comics themselves. Joss explained to me that I would look nothing like the drawings — he assured me of that. He told me about what he was planning on doing for Wanda and Pietro for their story, their origin basically, because it has to be different [from the comics] for contract reasons. I looked into all the comics, and she’s someone who seems like the superheroes. They all have this ability to never be hurt, or they always have their one fatal flaw, but there’s almost like a lack of emotions in a way… She feels everything that someone else experiences or has experienced. She can connect with someone through their head, through their emotions, that’s how she learns about their darkest fears. It was immediately a psychologically interesting character.

Elizabeth Olsen attends the Hollywood premiere of Marvel's "Avengers: Age of Ultron" on April 13, 2015. (Jason Merritt / Getty Images)

Elizabeth Olsen attends the Hollywood premiere of Marvel’s “Avengers: Age of Ultron” on April 13, 2015. (Jason Merritt / Getty Images)

Are you a fan of superhero films?

I always loved these movies, I loved superhero movies, I loved fantasy movies growing up, sci-fi. For me to see how these movies were going to be made is a really cool thing. Marvel makes their movies a very specific way, or at least the Avengers and how Joss films these films. It’s really fascinating and strange. It’s a new challenge. I didn’t know what it was going to be like so it’s just interesting to try to develop different kinds of skills because of this job. And to get to work with Aaron again, when you’re the new kid on the block, you kind of want someone you know to be by your side. That was a lucky situation also.

Now that you’re more familiar with Scarlet Witch, what do you make of her?

The character, she’s so nutty. [In the comics,] she and the Vision have kids, but the kids are taken away and she continues to imagine and pretend because she can convince herself that her reality is this reality where she has kids and this family life and he plays along with her the whole time, then she finds out that she doesn’t have these children and she just goes … nuts. Who knows? The amount of stuff that I read in the comic books that have nothing to do with this story, who knows what they’ll end up using and what they won’t, but the potential and understanding of the characters and the relationships are part of the larger thing that makes you excited. She’s such a cool character. There’s so many things they could potentially do with her, but it’s always about serving the larger story. We have maybe 13, 15 leads in this film that you try to give them all a proper character and stuff to do so everyone feels like they have something to do in the film and that’s just a lot of people to divide screen time among. You just are trying to tell one story and hopefully your piece is interesting.

Her relationship with Quicksilver is a defining aspect of her personality. Did your previous experience working together help you and Aaron shape their brother/sister rapport?

Absolutely. I think we have become brother and sister in a weird way. We can either have so much fun with each other, or just playfully be like, “You’re so annoying right now.” It’s nice to have that relationship with anyone you’re working with. So, it’s been fun. Again it’s nice to be in a place that was potentially really scary and to have someone … we can come into this with some sort of history and do it together. And our characters are so linked fully. We don’t experience things without each other. So it’s really nice to have someone you’ve worked with before be a part of that.

Elizabeth Olsen and Aaron Taylor-Johnson are photographed at Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, Calif. on April 11, 2015. (Jordan Strauss / Associated Press)

Elizabeth Olsen and Aaron Taylor-Johnson are photographed at Walt Disney Studios in Burbank on April 11, 2015. (Jordan Strauss / Associated Press)

How do you find working with Joss?

He knows when the day requires attention to the actor, he always gives attention to the actor but he knows when it requires that more so or just physical things. I have a very specific way of moving. I’m not in combat, I’m not with the stunt guys learning how to do martial arts; however, we’ve had to make up some sort of movement that my character does in order to fight in a witchy way. It’s been a huge collaboration between me and Joss and this movement coach Jenny, the three of us have created our own physical vocabulary, they call it Wiggly Woo – that’s what they call it on the call sheet — when I do something. He’s been really fun and collaborative and receptive as well. You have a very specific thing that you just don’t agree with, he’ll listen.

He has a fantastic gift when it comes to writing for women.

He does. And I think that’s what he was excited about too. They need a larger female presence in these films [in addition to Scarlett]…. She’s kind of blown Black Widow up to be this awesome bad-ass character.

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Mark Ruffalo as the Hulk, left, Chris Evans as Captain America, Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man, Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye, Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow and Chris Hemsworth as Thor in "Avengers: Age of Ultron." (Marvel)

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Chris Hemsworth as Thor, left, Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man and Chris Evans as Captain America in "Avengers: Age of Ultron." (Marvel)

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Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda Maximoff and Aaron Taylor-Johnson as Pietro Maximoff in "Avengers: Age of Ultron." (Jay Maidment / Marvel)

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Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner, left, Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanoff, Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark, Chris Hemsworth as Thor and Chris Evans Steve Rogers in "Avengers: Age of Ultron." (Jay Maidment / Marvel)

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Ultron (voiced by James Spader), left, and Ulysses Klaue (Andy Serkis) in "Avengers: Age of Ultron." (Marvel)

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Aaron Taylor-Johnson as Quicksilver and Elizabeth Olsen as Scarlet Witch in "Avengers: Age of Ultron." (Jay Maidment / Marvel)

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Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanoff, left, and Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner in "Avengers: Age of Ultron." (Jay Maidment / Marvel)

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Iron Man's Hulkbuster suit (Robert Downey Jr.) versus the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) in "Avengers: Age of Ultron." (Marvel)

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Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), left, and Dr. Cho (Claudia Kim) in "Avengers: Age of Ultron." (Jay Maidment / Marvel)

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Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) and War Machine (Don Cheadle) in "Avengers: Age of Ultron." (Marvel)

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Elizabeth Olsen as Scarlet Witch and Aaron Taylor-Johnson as Quicksilver in "Avengers: Age of Ultron." (Jay Maidment / Marvel)

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Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark, left, and Anthony Mackie as Sam Wilson in "Avengers: Age of Ultron." (Jay Maidment: Marvel)

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Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), left, and Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) in "Avengers: Age of Ultron." (Marvel)

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Ulysses Klaue (Andy Serkis), left, and one of his mercenaries (Bentley Kalu) in "Avengers: Age of Ultron." (Marvel)

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Thomas Kretschmann as Baron von Strucker in "Avengers: Age of Ultron." (Jay Maidment / Marvel)

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The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), left, Captain America (Chris Evans), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) assemble in "Avengers: Age of Ultron." (Marvel)

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The heroes of "Avengers: Age Of Ultron," from left: Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders), Captain America/Steve Rogers (Chris Evans), James "Rhodey" Rhodes (Don Cheadle), Dr. Cho (Claudia Kim), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Clint Barton/Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), Bruce Banner/Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), and Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson). (Film Frame / Marvel Studios)

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Chris Evans as Captain America, left, and Chris Hemsworth as Thor in "Avengers: Age Of Ultron." (Jay Maidment / Marvel Studios)

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The villainous Ultron Prime (voiced by James Spader) in "Avengers: Age Of Ultron." (Film Frame / Marvel Studios)

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Aaron Taylor-Johnson as Pietro Maximoff/Quicksilver and Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch in "Avengers: Age Of Ultron." (Jay Maidment / Marvel Studios)

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Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner, left, and Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark in "Avengers: Age Of Ultron." (Jay Maidment / Marvel Studios)

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Chris Evans as Captain America, left, and Chris Hemsworth as Thor in "Avengers: Age Of Ultron." (Jay Maidment / Marvel Studios)

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Chris Evans as Captain America, left, and Chris Hemsworth as Thor in "Avengers: Age Of Ultron." (Jay Maidment / Marvel Studios)

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From left: Chris Hemsworth as Thor, Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark and Chris Evans as Captain America in "Avengers: Age Of Ultron." (Jay Maidment / Marvel Studios)

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From left: Chris Hemsworth as Thor, Chris Evans as Steve Rogers/Captain America, Jeremy Renner as Clint Barton/Hawkeye, Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark/Iron Man and Don Cheadle as James "Rhodey" Rhodes in "Avengers: Age Of Ultron." (Film Frame / Marvel Studios)

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Elizabeth Olsen on location in Aosta, Italy, for "Avengers: Age of Ultron" on March 24, 2014. (Photopix/Getty Images)

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Aaron Taylor-Johnson on location in Aosta, Italy, for "Avengers: Age of Ultron" on March 24, 2014. (Photopix/Getty Images)

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An actor films on location in Aosta, Italy, for "Avengers: Age of Ultron" on March 24, 2014. (Photopix/Getty Images)

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Elizabeth Olsen and Jeremy Renner are seen on location in Aosta, Italy, for "Avengers: Age of Ultron" on March 24, 2014. (Photopix/Getty Images)

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Director Joss Whedon and star Aaron Taylor-Johnson on location for "Avengers: Age of Ultron" on March 24, 2014 in Aosta, Italy. (Photopix/Getty Images)

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Actors in motion-capture gear on location for "Avengers: Age of Ultron" on March 24, 2014 in Aosta, Italy. (Photopix/Getty Images)

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Elizabeth Olsen and Aaron Taylor-Johnson are seen on location in Aosta, Italy, for "Avengers: Age of Ultron" on March 24, 2014. (Photopix/Getty Images)

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Aaron Taylor-Johnson is seen filming 'Avengers: Age of Ultron' in Pont-Saint-Martin on March 24, 2014 in Aosta, Italy. (Photopix / Getty Images)

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Jeremy Renner is seen filming on location for "Avengers: Age of Ultron" on March 24, 2014 in Aosta, Italy. (Photopix / Getty Images)

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General view of location of 'Avengers: Age of Ultron' in Pont-Saint-Martin in Aosta, Italy, on March 24, 2014. (Photopix/Getty Images)

How’s the experience been on set with the other actors?

Italy was so much fun for me; it was the beginning but it was also jumping in full force. We did not stop. We were doing 15 hours a day. It was me and Jeremy Renner and Aaron. Because of that, I got to work every day all the time, nonstop, and it was all heavy action. It’s [stuff] I’ve never done before. “Godzilla” was the closest thing I’ve ever had to do to an action thing, and that’s just me running on a street with people screaming. This was battle, which is just so silly to me, but so much fun. The adrenaline you get and the momentum of the day’s work because we were on a specific location so we couldn’t run long. Everything was so jam-packed. It was like being shoved into a project. Everything else got simpler. That’s how I like doing every project. I want to start with harder things at the beginning, there’s not that anticipation of, “Oh there’s that scene that is this huge epic part of my story.” You don’t have that anxiety to it. One of the most horrible things [Scarlet Witch experiences] in the film happened on the third day of shooting, and that was awesome.

Is her psyche a fun place to inhabit?

It is. It’s a little odd because at the same time you want there to be enough variation but the whole thing about these superheroes is they all have their thing. They all hook into something: Thor is from Asgard, he never knows what’s going on, he takes things maybe a little too seriously. Cap takes everything seriously. Iron Man is always running his mouth at everyone; Black Widow is super sassy. Everyone has their thing. You don’t want to just fall into whatever your thing is, so it’s been interesting with what is given in the material to create a character that can breathe and exist beyond this story. It is kind of our origin story for me and Aaron so you really want to create some sort of journey that you can follow, which I think we do and I think the script does that for us.

Are you likely to reprise this role in future films?

They make you sign up for a couple …

— Gina McIntyre | @LATHeroComplex

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Comments


2 Responses to ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’: Elizabeth Olsen talks Scarlet Witch’s ‘Wiggly Woo’

  1. Loreen says:

    I really think that Olsen sisters are beautiful women, especially because of the combination between blonde hair and deep green eyes. Althought many people are seeing them alike, I must say that my favorite one is Mary Kate Olsen.

  2. Eli Nathen says:

    Scarlet Witch done outstanding role in Avengers Age of Ultron, I am really fan of her and his red jacket. Jacket I already bought from Sky-Seller online store. The best part about the Scarlet her magical mind readness.

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