Park City, Utah – The younger sister of Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen is breaking into showbiz with two buzzed-about films at the Sundance Film Festival.
Elizabeth Olsen, 21, stars in Silent House, directed by the filmmakers who made the 2004 indy hit Open Water. When it debuted at Sundance, it was sold to Lionsgate for more than $2m.
Based on a film from Uruguay called La Casa Muda, Silent House is one continuous take as Olsen's character begins to suspect her summer house may be haunted. Olsen compares shooting the film to theatre, which she started doing as a child.
"When I was auditioning, I was like, 'Just so you know I'm used to the medium of theatre, so like I can stand on my feet for this long,'" she laughs.
Olsen's other film at Sundance is Martha Macy May Marlene, in which she plays a young woman trying to readjust to life after escaping from a cult.
"It's hard for independent films when they want to get money," said Olsen. "And to have a lead be an unknown – it's kind of a risk for people to take. And so the fact that they took that risk has like made my year, my life, I don't know! It was really exciting."
The actress may be enthusiastic about her career but turns serious when it comes to the idea of being a tabloid target like her big sisters, now 24, who are chased constantly by paparazzi. The Olsen twins have been in the spotlight since they were hired as infants to share a role in the TV comedy Full House.
"When I would go shopping with my sisters when I was younger, it would be dangerous. People would almost get us into car accidents. I just think it's crazy in general but I want to be an actor – and I have since I was a little girl – and if that happens, then you figure out how to deal with it where it doesn't completely infringe upon your life," said Olsen.
"I haven't experienced that personally yet. Hopefully I don't have to but I think it's a really weird part of this business."