Wilde Blue Wonder
By Krista Smith
Vanity Fair – December 2010
Beauteous offshoot of the Cockburn journalism clan (grandfather Claud; uncles Alexander and Patrick; parents Andrew and Leslie), Olivia Wilde is putting a new twist on the family story. After juicy roles in two TV series, The O.C. and House, she’s starring in the long-awaited movie sequel TRON: Legacy. The author charts the 26-year-old actress’s ascent.
Olivia Wilde has never believed in waiting. After graduating from Phillips Academy, in Andover, Massachusetts, she sidestepped college, took the stage name Wilde (yes, after Oscar), and headed west. At 19, following a six-month courtship, she married movie producer and director Tao Ruspoli, the son of the late Italian prince Dado Ruspoli. She is the daughter of Andrew and Leslie Cockburn, the investigative journalists and documentary-film makers, but she rejected the family trade in favor of a career in front of the camera. Breaking out as the provocative bisexual teenager on the television sensation The O.C. and then landing on another Fox hit series, House, she now finds herself, at 26, in the role of Hollywood’s next hot property. In December she will star opposite Jeff Bridges in TRON: Legacy. The first TRON (1982) revolves around hacker Kevin Flynn (Bridges), who is abducted into the virtual world of the computer and forced to fight his way out. Though it wasn’t a box-office smash, it was a forerunner in special effects and became a cult classic. Bridges reprises his role 28 years later. “I got to spend most of my time with Jeff—just learning from him, watching him, and listening to him,” says Wilde, who plays Quorra, his warrior protector. “Being able to shadow him was a master class in acting, and also in behaving.” After TRON, Wilde will appear with Harrison Ford in director Jon Favreau’s Cowboys & Aliens. “What’s great is that I don’t have to play the weeping lady in distress,” she says. “I get to play a pretty cool and powerful woman.” She adds, “I love the horses, I love the guns. For an actor, to be in a Western feels almost like a rite of passage. It’s uniquely American.”