ELLE – “They can make me have a little vertigo when I have to go on stage, so I just finally decided to take them off instead of trying.”
Elizabeth Olsen is explaining why she kicked off her heels at the Cannes premiere of her latest movie Wind River. Sitting with her on a secluded patio tucked away behind La Croisette–the main oceanfront drag of Cannes–Olsen looks as fresh as a daisy in an elegant printed pantsuit, although she must be exhausted. The movie premiere the night before didn’t even start until 11pm, which is when we saw Olsen take the stage clutching those heels in her hand. By 2am she was still working–meeting and greeting at the movie after-party, even though another super-early start beckoned, followed by another full day of non-stop interviews and events. (She took her shoes off eventually after that appearance, too.)
Olsen plays Jane Banner, the lone FBI agent agent sent to the scene of a brutal rape-homicide in remote, snow-bound Wyoming. Initially ridiculed by the all-male local police and by hunter Cory Lambert (Jeremy Renner), Olsen brings gravitas and superior smarts to the role, as Banner fights to bring the culprits to justice.
She spoke with ELLE.com about the film’s rape scene, being a woman on set and making her opinions heard, and the pressure to fit into sample size fashion—especially when her sisters work in the industry.
On the film’s rape scene:
“There are all these things that can be drawn from it, whether it’s about women and being equal in a man’s world, or whether it’s about the taboo of rape, of talking about rape and blaming the victim. [Director Taylor Sheridan] shows that you can’t blame the victim. Just because you’re walking around in your underwear [as the victim was] and someone sees you, you’re not asking for anything–that’s not an invitation. Some of the volunteer work I do is with people who have been rape victims, and the amount of cases that they cannot prove, even though it’s an entire organization that has everything at its disposal! If you can’t get someone saying, ‘Yeah, I did this thing,’ or if you can’t literally match up DNA, then nothing happens.”
On the pressure to fit into sample size fashion:
“It’s a privilege to get to have a job in this industry, and I would never change it for the world, but I have a hard time with the pressure of looking cool, like fitting into dresses that were off a model’s body. I am not that. I don’t think I’m fat and I don’t think I’m overweight, I’m very happy with what I look like, but I don’t fit into those things and it’s a little uncomfortable. So, that kind of part of the job is a little frustrating.”
On the fashion (and life advice) she received from her twin sisters:
“The cool thing about watching my sisters is to me they’ve always handled everything with so much class. When you meet them in a work environment you know how capable they are, and how well their minds work, because you can’t miss it. It’s because of how disciplined they are, how interested they are, and how committed they are. So, to me, no one can take anything away from you or try and devalue you, if you know that you’re capable, and you know that you deserve to be there because you did put in the work, and you did put in the time.”
On speaking up and not being intimidated by powerful men:
“On set, I think if you’re there and you’re with all these men –I mean Taylor and Jeremy could be intimidating men, because they’re very direct and straightforward—there’s not a lot of BS with them–I can match that, and I don’t feel like I’m making myself like a dude, but I can match that kind of, ‘Yeah, I know why I’m here, too. I have an opinion, let’s talk about it.’ I think women in history are supposed to be quiet, and supporters, and nurturers, and agreeable, but the value of your opinion is huge.”