Is Elizabeth Olsen from Silent House related to Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen?
—Howard Fox, Albuquerque, N.M.
Olsen, 23, is the youngest of the four Olsen siblings. Her brother Trent, 27, is the oldest, followed by twins Mary-Kate and Ashley, 25.
But unlike her sisters, who were child stars, Olsen did not begin pursuing her career seriously until a year ago. The California-born actress has since made her film debut in the indie drama Martha Marcy May Marlene, followed by the lead role in the horror thriller Silent House and Red Lights, a paranormal thriller that premiered at Sundance.
In between movies, she has managed to get top grades while attending New York University’s prestigious Tisch School of the Arts.
“I have never filmed a movie while in school,” she says. “I did press for Martha and [attended] the festivals while I was in school in the fall, and it was difficult. I never told my teachers I was working. I was just, ‘I am missing class. Is there anything I can do to make up for it?’ I just try to keep up as much as possible and somehow, I get A’s.”
Olsen is also getting A’s for acting. Having won numerous critics honors for Martha, she is in demand with other projects on her slate, including Liberal Arts and Therese Raquin, based on the Émile Zola novel, opposite Glenn Close.
“I didn’t think that after a year of trying to work, I would be in a position where I got to choose things,” she says. “I am in this excited, happy place where I get to choose things based on the character, the people involved and the director. Right now, I am choosing things that I think will challenge me, or things that I haven’t done, or don’t feel comfortable doing.”