At the Cannes
Film Festival premiere of Taylor Sheridan’s Wind River, Elizabeth Olsen climbs onstage inside the iconic Palais des Festivals et des Congrès de Cannes. Looking old-school glam in a plunging blush-colored Miu Miu gown, she takes in the scene, smiling as the audience delivers its enthusiastic applause and Sheridan introduces the film. It is not Olsen’s first time at Cannes, but from her perspective, it might as well be. “The first time I was here, I didn’t soak it in,” says the actress during our beachside stroll the next day. “I was overwhelmed, and I don’t have very many memories of being present.”
This time would be different, she determined, starting with the decision to clutch her pink heels in her hand while onstage. “During Sundance, I had a bit of a panic attack when we were onstage. You have all the lights on you, and there’s really no point of focus. I hate it. It freaks me out. So, I thought, ‘I’m going to take my shoes off.’ And I remember every moment,” she says.
As not even a 2am post-premiere photo call manages to rattle the actress, you get the sense Olsen knows not only how to navigate the chaos that is the world’s most renowned film festival, but is also competently steering a career that, in the past seven years, has launched her to fame far beyond what maybe even she expected. “Now that I feel a bit more solid about what I’m making and I have a very clear intention for myself, I’m a happier person,” explains the 28-year-old. “I’ve started to figure out how I want to function as a human being in the world and balance it with work.”
She may feel like she is only now coming into herself, but from the outside, it seems like Olsen has always had a strong sense of direction. While the actress has, in the past seven years, made an impressive 18 films—ranging from well-received indies like Martha Marcy May Marlene to major blockbusters like Godzilla and The Avengers films—her love of acting and performing was established long before her 21st birthday.