Olivia Wilde on ’70s Fashion in “Rush”

“Extra’s” Ben Lyons caught up with Olivia Wilde at the Toronto Film Festival to talk about her upcoming 1970s racing flick “Rush,” in which her character wore cool ‘70s fashion.

Watch our interview, plus find out what kind of wedding she’s planning with fiancé Jason Sudeikis!


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HeyUGuys Interview

Really proving to be a safe bet in Hollywood, Olivia Wilde is turning up in a host of films, all so different to the last – showing off her ability to adapt to several different projects and genres. In her latest flick, Ron Howard’s Rush – she plays Suzy Miller – the formidable wife of playboy James Hunt, and we had the opportunity to discuss the role with her.

The film – which depicts the intense rivalry between Formula 1 racers Niki Lauda and James Rush – sees Wilde trying out her English accent, and we discussed that with the actress. She also tells which of the two conflicting personalities between the racers she’d be more attracted to, whether she has ever met the real life Suzy Miller – and discusses her working relationship with fiancé Jason Sudeikis.

How did you get involved in Rush?
When I heard Ron was making the film, I went to meet with him at his office in LA. We knew each other a bit from Cowboys & Aliens, which he produced. I thought the film sounded incredible. I didn’t know of the actual people – I didn’t know of James or Nikki – but I know that the story just sounded like and emotional, beautiful love story, He described the role of Suzy to me and I thought that she sounded incredible. I mean, here was James Hunt’s match, and that’s what we wanted to create. So once I was on board we just worked on that – on making her the most formidable opponent for James other than Nikki. Ron was just a wonderful director of course and wanted so much so much to put energy and focus into the female characters as well, which is not typical – I think other directors would have taken on this same project and just focused on the boys and on the racing. But Peter [Morgan] and Ron really cared a lot about making it clear that these guys were going through a lot in their personal lives as they were fighting each other.

Good work on the British accent, by the way…
Oh god, thank-you! My dad’s British, so I had no excuse not to at least give it a good try.

Can you still do it?
I won’t do it right now! [Laughs] Chris was also, of course, doing an accent, so we had a dialect coach. I think because we were both working on it and focussing on it that we kind of inspired each other to do a better job at it, you know. It was just so fun to inhabit this world – like not only to be British, but to be British in the 70s, and these particular people. It was just a lot of fun – it didn’t feel like work, it felt like just a lot of fun.

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TIFF 2013: Olivia Wilde on Rush and Third Person

Olivia Wilde had two movies at the Toronto International Film Festival. In the true story Rush, she plays Suzy Miller, a model who briefly marries F1 racer James Hunt (Chris Hemsworth) and moves on to Richard Burton. Hunt was the rival of Niki Lauda (Daniel Bruhl) and the film chronicles their 1976 racing season. Third Person was screening the day after my interview with Wilde, and I couldn’t even get a ticket this week. It is an ensemble drama written and directed by Paul Haggis.

CraveOnline: Obviously they can never fit everything in the film. Did you shoot any more scenes as Suzy that got cut?

Olivia Wilde: No. No, Suzy was never a big role. The story’s always been about Hunt and Lauda. Actually, Suzy got an extra scene because there was originally a scene between Burton and Hunt. That last scene of me in the restaurant with James was originally a scene with James and Richard Burton where Burton’s explaining that he’s marrying Suzy and that he wants to pay well for her to settle the divorce. In reality he paid about a million pounds. That was a lot in ’76. That scene ended up being my scene so I actually got a little bonus which was fun.

So you really only have three scenes to portray the entire arc of this relationship. What was the exercise of that for you?

Well, I knew that the purpose of including Suzy in this story was to show a different side of James, to show the kind of tumult of his personal life, that he had demons and that he self-medicated and it made him nearly impossible to live with. Behind this kind of smiling charming golden boy public persona, he was quite a tortured person. Also, before that point, that he was actually quite a charming and romantic person who proposed to a woman he had just met, doing something completely spontaneous and wild and she was totally charmed by that as well. I also wanted to make sure that we portrayed their love story as a love story, that you got a sense that there was something real there. She wasn’t just another one of his conquests, nor was she a kind of long-suffering victim. She was very much in love with him.

Normally the breakup happens in the third act of a biographical story. This really changed things up, because they’re divorced before the halfway mark.

I really love the way Peter Morgan structured the script. So complex, and the editor did a brilliant job, I thought as well, of making it all clear. But really, if it’s a love story, it’s between Hunt and Lauda. The structure of it if you think of them as the love story works perfectly. They come back together in that final scene by the airplane which is one of my favorite scenes. My other favorite scene is when the Italians pick them up by the side of the road. Those two Italian guys and they’re like, “Lauda! Niki Lauda!” That scene’s brilliant but the end, the scene by the airplane, I just think it’s so moving. Peter Morgan says he wrote the whole movie for that scene and I love it because you get the sense that Lauda’s begging Hunt to stay in it, to stay his competitor because he is who is driving him to greatness. Without Hunt, can Niki push himself that hard? I thought that was great.

Do we know that Suzy kept watching the races?

Yes, she did.

So that’s not artistic license.

No, she did. She watched him for years and she’s still very fond of him, remembers him fondly and lovingly. She believes that they were in love and it just couldn’t work. I actually think it’s a very evolved, loving line when she says to him, “You’re not terrible. You’re just who you are at this moment in your life.” Most women, when a relationship doesn’t work, or most people I think find it hard to be that understanding. I think it’s quite loving of her to not say, “Yeah, you’re an asshole. You fucked up, you were a terrible husband.” She’s like, “No, it’s just who you are. It’s who you are right now and I have enough self-respect not to deal with it.”

When you see the role of Suzy in the story was to show that side of James, how much research do you do on the real Suzy?

As much as I could. There isn’t a huge amount available, so I read everything I could, I watched anything I could. I looked at all her photos trying to understand her. I learned a lot from the biographies on James Hunt because I thought, “What kind of woman would fall in love with him? What does that take? What kind of spirit was she?” And she’s still, although I think in her young, wild days she was just an amazingly spontaneous wild woman and now is more mature of course and only remembers the good things about James, when at the time I think he could be a nightmare. He could be a total nightmare.

The movie might bring back some memories.

Yeah, yeah, we’ll see.

CraveOnline: You’ve gotten a lot of great roles in film and television, in comedy and drama, but this summer was Drinking Buddies a really monumental role for you?

Olivia Wilde: Yes, game changer. That one was a passion project of mine and I think one of the reasons that people responded well to it is because we made it for the right reasons. We made it not for the result. We made it for the process. It was an exercise in telling a story honestly. I was so proud of it from beginning to end. It was a movie we made for no money, just in Chicago, literally working in a brewery with people working around us, borrowing people’s offices so we could shoot for an hour and then let them back in, and it was just a wonderful experience and I learned a lot from it. So to see it being embraced has been really great and I think it emboldens my drive to do more films like it.

How is it going to change the way you approach characters moving forward?

Well, aside from I doubt I’ll be able to improvise every movie from now on, but I think if you took that process of Drinking Buddies which really helped me understand a character very, very well because I had to be so aware of who she was. I had to be ready for any situation, any conversation at any point so I had to know her in such a deep way so that if another actor decided to bring up a question in a scene, “Where did you go to college? What do you like to eat? What’s your dream in life?” I’d be able to answer those questions. That should be a part of every process for every character. That should be part of the preparation. So if I take every script from now on and imagine having to put the entire thing into my own words and to really understand that person in a very deep way, I think it would serve me in a positive way.

Have you found that even people who never watched “House” know who 13 is?

That’s funny. I always assumed if they knew 13 then they watched the show, but maybe you’re right.

I think there were people who wanted to know who you were and they learned about number 13.

That’s hilarious. Well, I do hear it quite often and it makes me laugh because I remember the day I was in the writers room in “House” and David Shore, our head writer, said, because it was a nickname that House had come up with for me because I had a racing bib on that said 13. Shore said, “I think your name will be 13.” And I said, “Really? That’s ambitious. Won’t people find it confusing or odd?” He said, “No, it’s a name that is memorable and it will become a symbol of the show. You’ll see, it’ll stick.” So when people yell, “13!” I always think of David Shore saying that. I’m like, “You were right, man.”

Third Person hasn’t shown yet, so what kind of character did you get to play in that?

That’s a really exciting film. I play a young writer who is having an affair with Liam Neeson’s character who is also a writer, a quite well known novelist. She’s an icier character than I’ve played. She’s complex. She’s kind of damaged. She’s very smart and very mercurial and we learn a lot of tragic things about her but I spend most of the movie in a conversation with Liam. It’s fascinating because he’s so good and so subtle that when I watched the film I saw even more dimensions than I saw in person. He’s really, really good in this role. I call him the big friendly giant but he also carries this weight of a survivor on him that I think he’s probably had since he was a kid. I bet he was one of those little kids with grown-up eyes. So I’m really excited for people to see that. It’s a really intricate film. It’s three simultaneous stories and great actors. I think it’s Paul Haggis’ best thing in a while.

Did that come as an offer with your history with Paul?

I originally worked with him on a show called “The Black Donnellys” so we became good friends and then we started an organization together in Haiti with a couple people in the entertainment world called Artists for Peace and Justice. Paul and I have known each other a long time and this was an intimate experience, working on really difficult material with the writer who’s also the screenwriter. I was very honored to get this role. It was one of those roles you get and you’re like, “Whew, okay, this is the big leagues. This is varsity.”

What can we expect from Better Living Through Chemistry?

That’s a funny film. I play a pill popping drunk miserable trophy wife who convinces Sam Rockwell to kill my husband. I love Sam Rockwell so in that instance it was just getting to play with one of the most amazing actors of my generation, just so interesting and funny. That’s a great film. I can’t wait for people to see that.

Do you hear anything from Team Tron?

Occasionally it bubbles up and I hear things, little whispers of sequels. I told them at this point I don’t know who I would play because I can’t fit into that suit, so I told them I’ll play the mom.

Do you think you wouldn’t continue that story with Quorra in the real world?

Oh no, in seriousness, yes. I’d be into it. I liked Quorra a lot. I helped create that character from such an early stage that she felt very much my own and I was very proud of her. The film went through this kind of corporatization process. It’s a difficult story to tell and difficult to know what audience it’s for, but I would have a lot of fun being Quorra again. The last couple times we’ve talked, I said I would do it if they asked. We’ll see. We’ll see. Maybe they’ll take their time with it.

You can wear real clothes this time.

That’d be nice. I said they can make the suit out of sweatpants. 


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Olivia Wilde Naked in New Film: “You Pretend Like You Are Skinny Dipping”

Sounds like filming a nude scene with Liam Neeson isn’t that intimidating. Not if you ask Olivia Wilde!

E! News caught up with the actress at the Toronto International Film Festival on the red carpet at the Third Person premiere to get the details about her latest project.

After hearing that the legendary actor was attracted to working on this film because of “Olivia Wilde, naked,” the brunette beauty made a quick joke.

“One of the biggest reasons I did the movie was a clothed Liam Neeson,” Wilde quipped.

All kidding aside, the 29-year-old actress gushed that she has always been a fan of Neeson’s work and that the whole cast of the romantic drama is “stellar.”

Wilde looked very glamorous at the premiere wearing a yellow Valentino dress with nude Jimmy Choo pumps and a neon pink lip color.

So, how nude is Wilde in her upcoming role?

“You know, the funny thing is, I’m nude in this film, but you don’t see all the goods and it’s a silly scene,” Wilde revealed. “It’s not even a sexy scene.”

Sexy or silly scene aside, how did she prepare?

“You pretend like you are skinnydipping,” she said. “You know you just shut your eyes and run.”


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Olivia Wilde on “Rush”, Being Herself, and Saying No to Plastic Surgery

When Olivia Wilde answers a question, she doesn’t beat around the bush. Unlike other actresses, a conversation with her feels like you’re having an actual conversation instead of one where the subject has been carefully trained to say the same sound bites over and over again. As the 29-year-old star explained to us at the Toronto Film Festival, “I am just very much myself” when talking to journalists.

In her newest film, “Rush,” which premiered at TIFF last week, Wilde plays Suzy Miller, a model who was married to Formula One racecar driver James Hunt. The movie is based on the true story of Hunt and his rivalry with fellow driver Nikki Lauda. Despite Hunt’s on-track accomplishments, it was his lifestyle out of the driver’s seat that earned him the biggest headlines. While he certainly didn’t hide his partying ways, it did a number on his marriage with Miller, who would eventually leave Hunt for legendary actor Richard Burton.

Wilde sat down with Moviefone to talk about playing the elusive Miller, her thoughts on turning 30, and why she’s so open with the press. Oh, and she’s really not a fan of plastic surgery for young women (keep reading; she’ll explain).

Moviefone: It must be tough acting alongside Chris Hemsworth. How do you concentrate without looking into his dreamy blue eyes?
Olivia Wilde: I know! Well, luckily my character was looking into his dreamy blue eyes so I had an excuse. But he’s fantastic. He’s such a sweet person. He’s just a nice guy, really hardworking, and really grateful of everything he has. He was embodying James Hunt. He worked very hard to get the role and he was completely committed. It’s always nice when another actor is upping their game. It makes you want to up your game. It’s like OK, let’s play ball. And we were both working in accent and doing a period piece and playing real people; there’s a lot of pressure. But because he was totally committed it helped me be the same.

The film premiered in England a few days ago. I assume it’s pretty nervewracking watching yourself attempt that accent in front a room full of Brits.
Yeah, I was nervous before. I was like, What if I hear everyone laughing at my accent? I don’t know, every actor worries that when they do an accent people will scoff. And yet, they were very kind, which made me happy. I got lucky. It helps that my dad has an English accent. I also knew when filming, I was very conscious of wanting it to be perfect. And the crew gave me the thumbs up — we shot in England, so it was helpful.

Did you meet Suzy Miller?
I didn’t meet her, no. She’s sort of elusive. She approved of the film — she gave us her blessing — but it might have been difficult for her to be around it.

Yeah, it seems tough to find information about her, other than she was married to James Hunt and Richard Burton.
She’s kind of an enigma. It’s interesting because she was in the limelight quite a lot but you can’t really find a lot. I had this theory, which is baseless [Laughs]: Maybe [Richard] Burton helped her get rid of a lot of stuff that was available. Like, at that time people were doing that — killing stories, getting rid of existing photographs and things like that.

Yeah, celebrities were able to do that then.
Because they weren’t on the Internet! They weren’t everywhere at once. You could just get negatives. So I wonder if there was some sort of deal made, because it’s difficult to find a lot about her.

It’s interesting to think there was a time you could do that.
It’s like remembering a time when there was fact-checking [Laughs].

But I feel like you personally have a pretty good relationship with the media. You’re pretty open about discussing anything.
I think so. I think being raised by journalists gives me a little bit of insight into what it’s like to interview people. But I don’t have an automatic defense mechanism. I sort of give them the benefit of the doubt and hope they do the same for me. But so far, I think the terrifying thing about it is that it can all shift. If someone decides that they can make you a villain or a victim, that can be done in an artificial way. It’s such a strange thing. So I think I have been lucky. I am very much just myself. But you never know. In a way we’re all cast members of a soap opera.

So I recently read your column where you gave advice for turning 30 years old.
Oh yeah!

While it was definitely directed more towards women…
[Laughs] It was. But guys can get something out of it.

Well, I was going to say, the one thing I thought was really good advice for anyone under 30 was to not freak out about the great things that other people have done prior to that age — just concentrate on yourself.
Yes, yes. Because that is the first thing that occurs to you. [Thirty] is a milestone that you’d always imagined you’d crossed with a lot of accomplishments under your belt. And no matter what you’d done, you’re still going to expect that you would have done more. But there’s people like Albert Einstein and Emily Bronte and Orson Welles. There’s just an incredible list of people who have accomplished a lot.

Do you still find yourself having to keep that emotion in check, not wanting to look at other people’s accomplishments before they were 30?
Yeah, I think I sort of went through that. In your late twenties, you sort of think, What am I going to have accomplished by the time I am 30? You feel like you should be doing something that’s going to change the world — something so profound. And aside from discovering the theory of relativity, what do I expect from me? [Laughs] What can I possibly do? So that’s why I put that in there. I just focus on being a good person, and personally, that’s been helpful. But yeah, I check in and remind myself of that.

The second piece of advice on there that I thought was interesting was about not getting plastic surgery at a young age. I feel like a lot of actresses don’t openly talk about that.
Yeah! Because I don’t think they want to be judgmental of friends. They don’t want to say “You’ve done something wrong.” People understand that the pressures are immense. I think it feels presumptuous of young actors to say, “Why would you ever do that?” And then, who knows, when you get to 50 you might feel so overwhelmed that you need to do this because you’ve changed dramatically and the public expects you to look one way.

So I think that’s why people keep quiet about that. I wrote it because I am sort of tired of being quiet about it because I am just so sad about how much younger people are when they start getting surgeries now. I just see people every day with weird little Barbie noses and plumped-up lips. It makes me sad because you’re not even giving yourself a chance to see what you look like when you’re older! I feel like everyone gets better looking.

I also think there’s a pressure in Hollywood, particularly among actresses, that once you become older that people don’t want you as much because you’ve aged.
And that’s silly. I mean, I have the most respect of people who have taught us what actual beauty looks like at an older age. Like Vanessa Redgrave. Vanessa Redgrave is still stunningly beautiful and has had no work done and looks like a woman in her 70s should look. But there are very few people who allow us to even see that, because they’ve all been altered. I mean, I don’t want to be a hater, I am not a hater. Just love yourself.


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Chris Hemsworth, Olivia Wilde “Rush” Into Toronto

Chris Hemsworth and Olivia Wilde drove into the Variety Studio on Saturday to discuss their Formula One pic “Rush,” which premieres Sunday night at the Toronto Film Festival.

“I likened it to Magic Johnson and Larry Bird,” Wilde said of Ron Howard’s new racing feature. “They were rivals who needed each other to achieve greatness.”

Based on the the true story of legendary Formula One drivers Niki Lauda and James Hunt during the 1970s, “Rush” was a smooth operation from day 1, according to the actors, thanks to near flawless script from Peter Morgan.

“I was shooting ‘The Avengers’ at the time I read the script,” Hemsworth recalled. “And the idea of working with Ron (Howard) and a film that was written by Peter Morgan was a no-brainer.”

Morgan, the Oscar-winning screenwriter of “The Queen,” began writing the story of Lauda, a friend of his wife’s, on spec some years ago, intrigued by the driver’s courageous story.

“The dialogue was so sharp,” Wilde boasted of Morgan’s script. “I don’t think people expect from a film about sports, about athletes competing, that you’re going to have such sharp dialogue.”

“(Plus) it was nice to be on a movie which wasn’t being written while we were shooting–there’s a lot movies like that where at lunch they’re like ‘change the ending!’” she laughed.

The only real change, Wilde said, was that Russell Crowe was originally supposed to play billionaire Richard Burton in the film but that scene was eventually cut from the final draft.

“It was such a team effort,” Hemsworth said of independently financed film, applauding Howard for creating an environment where the actors felt free enough to make “the magic” happen, while also championing cinematographer Dod Mantle (“Slumdog Millionaire”), who next reunite with Hemsworth, Howard and Morgan again on their next project “Into the Heart of the Sea” for Warner Bros.

“We’re getting the whole team back together,” he said with a grin.

“Rush,” produced by Working Title Films and Imagine Entertainment, opens nationwide Sept. 27.


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