Sundance Breakout Star Elizabeth Olsen Talks Child Actors And Avoiding The Olsen Twins Brand

Around this time last year, Elizabeth Olsen was known—if she was know at all—as the younger sister of Mary-Kate and Ashley. She was enrolled in NYU’s theatre program and had been auditioning for Broadway and Off-Broadway plays. But she’d made the conscious decision to avoid the career arc—filled with Hollywood highs and tabloid lows—of her sisters.

Only last January did she begin actively seeking out movie work. Now here she is at the Sundance Film Festival, about to achieve breakout status based on her two new films, “Silent House” and “Martha Marcy May Marlene.” It’s been a long time coming for the 21-year-old, but it was worth the wait if it meant not being exposed to the same spotlight that Mary-Kate and Ashley were as pre-teen stars.

“I think that’s why I waited such a long time until I was comfortable as a person to start working professionally,” Elizabeth told MTV News. “It’s been what I wanted to do since I was seven or eight but I never wanted to be a child actor. I never wanted to be a brand. I want to be an actor. I feel good in my own skin. I just want to make movies and do theater.”

So what’s the key to avoiding getting sucked into the celebrity spotlight? Well, not thinking of yourself in those terms, Elizabeth explained.

“I think it’s just staying grounded. It’s not something I think about. I think it’s something media puts upon people,” she said. “I don’t think it’s something that people healthily think about, like, ‘Now I’m a celebrity!’ I don’t think people should think like that. I hope that whatever press comes about from Sundance will further the films’ hope for getting distribution.”