Marvel

Elizabeth Olsen's 'Avengers' Teacher Tells Us How To Get Perfectly Spooky Scarlet Witch Hands

Be your spookiest self.

Elizabeth Olsen burst onto the Marvel scene in "Avengers: Age of Ultron" in the spookiest way possible. As new character Scarlet Witch, she started out as a spooky bad guy who could harness energy as part of what was basically an evil science experiment alongside her also-evil, super-fast twin bro Quicksilver (Aaron Taylor-Johnson), and ended up as a still-spooky New Avenger.

Those distinctive movements -- from the harnessing and throwing of energy to the spirit fingers that'll warp your brain -- didn't happen by accident. You can thank Jennifer White, Olsen's movement coach, for all of that. Olsen isn't just waving her arms around at will; everything you see her do is the result of a thought-out and choreographed practice.

A modern dancer, White was brought on to "Avengers: Age of Ultron" by director Joss Whedon. She's on location now for "Captain America: Civil War," and revealed some of her witchy secrets to MTV News.

  • What she and Elizabeth Olsen really call Scarlet Witch's powers.
    Marvel

    "Lizzie made up the term wiggly-woo," White revealed. "She and Joss together created the term wiggly-woo. That's how we refer to it: 'Then she's gonna wiggly-woo.' Which actually makes it kind of sound less than it is because it's quite comical, but it's an easy term for her witchery."

  • On what really inspired Scarlet Witch's movement set.

    Director Whedon was the driving force behind how Scarlet Witch would move, White said. "He had some really clear things at the beginning. He was really like, 'something's going to fall from above, and then you spin it, then you're going to rip her apart.' He would show me and I'd be like, 'wow, you don't need me here, you're doing it amazingly.' But he had the whole film to do, so I guess that's why. He's very physical and would always show us exactly what he wanted. As the film went on, he trusted me more, trusted Lizzie more, and we were able to suggest to him. It was a real collaboration. He's incredibly physical....Especially on the dance floor. That's how he moves. He's just constantly like dancing-fighting or whatever. It's interesting to see. It's incredible. He has such flexibility in his knees. It's insane. He does some weird knee stuff, where I'm like, we should be careful."

  • On how Scarlet Witch could be super, super boring if she felt like it.
    Marvel

    "She doesn't have to do anything. She's just so powerful, she can manipulate with her thoughts, she can change reality with her mind, so it's kind of like, why would you even need to put your arm up?" White said. "Obviously it makes it much more interesting for her, and it's kind of awesome. She's so powerful, she could be the laziest hero. This weird chick that sits in the corner, no one even knows it's you doing everything. Possibly, but it wouldn't be as interesting."

  • On the proper finger position for mind-bending Hawkeye.
    Courtesy Jennifer White

    "That one's a very subtle moment, when she tries to manipulate the mind," White said. "She doesn't have to try very hard. I think it was a slight shifting of the fingers. The two middle fingers are lower than the other ones and then it's this kind of wiggle, I guess, like you've got electricity to pull things through. Then the palm has a curve in it so it's also pulsing in the middle of the palms, and then feeling like the energy waves are coming out the fingertips and then heading toward Hawkeye. It doesn't work on him, and he shoves the arrow into her forehead and she gets an electric shock. It kind of backfired, that one. It didn't go so well."

  • On how to make the spookiest face possible.
    Marvel

    "We did a tilted head and the eyes up," White said of Olsen's creepy facial expression. "If you do that now, tilt your chin down but your eyes up, you'll see it's really kind of scary when you do it. Especially if you tilt your head to the right and then keep your eyes up to the left. It feels a little bit like you're a witch. A little spooky."

  • On what it takes to have the most alert hands in the biz.
    Marvel

    "Lots of clapping, clap the wall, clap each other's hands, just to get that zinging feeling," she said. "It's so easy to forget about the hands, even though that's the whole movement. It has to be alive constantly, even when she's standing still, just to have hands at the ready all the time. We did do exercises but not like horizontal to vertical to horizontal. Not that kind of training."