Elizabeth Olsen may save the day in Marvel films, but on Wednesday evening she highlighted her own hero: Gail Abarbanel, the founder and director of the Rape Foundation and Stuart House.
In her speech at Variety’s Power of Women event presented by Lifetime, Olsen spoke passionately about Abarbanel, also in attendance, and the Los Angeles organization that the activist founded nearly five decades ago.
“When I learned about tonight, I asked Gail if there is anything that she would like to do next with the foundation, because in my mind she’s already thought of everything. She said, ‘Yes, to stop sexual abuse on the internet,’” Olsen said. “To me that sounded very, very big and maybe impossible. But if you were to ask her what she wanted to create in 1974, I think that would have also sounded just as big and impossible.”
Olsen recalled her first meeting with Abarbanel, who founded Stuart House after recognizing how poor support networks for sexual abuse victims were during her time as a social worker in Santa Monica. The organization has since become an internationally renowned model for child advocacy centers, providing a place where children who have been sexually assaulted are provided free medical, legal and psychological care.
Olsen first met Abarbanel in 2015, when she received a tour of Stuart House and its facilities.
“I learned about all the ways that Stuart House has managed to fill a need in a system that can otherwise be so damaging to child victims,” Olsen said. “Without a program like Stuart House, it’s not unheard of for a child to have to go to as many as six different agencies to report their abuse and sit through interviews by professionals with no training whatsoever on how to work with children. At Stuart House, they provide in-house police detectives, prosecutors, child advocates, therapists and forensic services to help expedite investigations and child protection actions.”
Olsen also took a moment to describe the volunteer work she does for Stuart House, which involves working alongside carefully vetted adults as they welcome and engage with children waiting for appointments, providing a safe, comfortable space for victims.
“I don’t say this lightly, but the kids who come to Stuart House really love coming… There’s a boy who is 5 who’s been with us for the last three months and he started coming early just because he wants to play with our magnetic tiles,” Olsen shared. “Ultimately he’s having a positive association with the people and the place where he is receiving treatment — treatment that will ultimately be life-saving for his future. And his future is one of many that Gail has helped transform.”
Video Gallery Update
Elizabeth attended the Filming Italy Festival, which was held at the Forte Village Resort in Santa Margherita di Pula on Thursday. I’m still trying to find out what award she won. I’ll update this when I do. So glad they’re starting to do events again!
COMIC BOOK – Currently, WandaVision does not yet have a release date. While the series likely won’t be arriving until sometime in December, it was included in a Disney+ trailer last week showcasing the upcoming titles set to arrive on the platform still this year and both the new trailer and this new key art is very exciting for fans, especially considering how much flux entertainment — particularly Marvel offerings — has been in this year due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Earlier this year, production on WandaVision, Falcon and the Winter Soldier, and Loki were all shut down due to the pandemic, though production on the series reportedly resumed earlier this month.
WandaVision will likely feel much different than previous Marvel Studios projects, considering just how strange its concepts appear to be. Paul Bettany, who plays Vision in the MCU, said earlier this year that the show is
“Yes, I’m back for WandaVision… I am such an admirer of Kevin Feige, he has taken such a risk with the show, and the concept of this show. It’s beautifully written by [Jac Schaeffer] and her staff of writers – and it is f-cking bonkers,” Bettany said. “I mean it’s so out there and nuts, the choices that they are making. And fans will not have to wait that much longer… they’ll much more of an insight, very, very, soon as to what it may look and feel like.”
You can check out the official synopsis for WandaVision below.
“Marvel Studios’ ‘WandaVision’ blends the style of classic sitcoms with the Marvel Cinematic Universe in which Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen) and Vision (Paul Bettany)—two super-powered beings living their ideal suburban lives—begin to suspect that everything is not as it seems. The new series is directed by Matt Shakman; Jac Schaeffer is head writer. Debuts on Disney+ this year.”
VULTURE – What’s for you will not pass you, according to a lot of quote cards on Pinerest, and the role of Daenerys Targaryen was apparently not for Elizabeth Olsen. At Vulture’s Emmy studio this week, Olsen told us about one of her early auditions, which happened to be for a certain HBO fantasy about ten years ago. “When I first started working, I just auditioned for everything, because I like auditioning. And I auditioned for Khaleesi. I forgot that,” she said. “It was the most awkward audition I’d ever had.” Olsen says she auditioned with a monologue from the end of the first season: “[From] after she just burned. And she’s making this speech to thousands of people about how she’s their queen. They didn’t know if they wanted a British accent or not. So, you did it in both. It was terrible. Anytime someone says, ‘Bad audition story.’ That’s one I remember.”
Now, though, Olsen is as Thrones-obsessed as the rest of us. “I’m just so deep in Game of Thrones that all I can think about is Kit Harington,” she said. “I mean, he’s just brainwashed me.” Welcome to the club!