Olivia Wilde Interview
Olivia Wilde Interview
Olivia Wilde, starring alongside Chris Hemsworth in the true-life Formula 1 racing epic Rush, tells View about her happiness at being so busy, her enjoyment of working with director Ron Howard, and how exciting it is to be working on this and so many exciting new film projects.
What attracted you to the role, and how did you get involved?

Olivia Wilde

When I heard Ron [Howard] 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 Niki – but I know that the story just sounded like an 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 Niki. Ron was just a wonderful director of course and wanted 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…

Olivia Wilde

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?

Olivia Wilde

I won't do it right now! [laughs] I can do it, but - I mean, it was great. Chris [Hemsworth] was also, of course, doing an accent, so we had a dialect coach and 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, 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.
So off-set, were you and Chris speaking in British accents to keep up the momentum, or were you going back into your usual habits?

Olivia Wilde

I tried to keep the rhythms of it, just so I didn't completely lose it. It helped that no-one was American around, because that I think would have pulled me out of it. Even Chris being Australian [was] still vaguely English or foreign enough that I was able to kind of stay in the rhythms of it. But no, I didn't commit to it 100% all the time, in the way that Hugh Laurie did when we were doing House. I just tried to stay somewhat close to it.

But my proudest moment was one day on set when I spoke to Ron in an American accent and one of the crew members said, 'Wait a minute, you're American?' It helped that none of the actors was American, but of course Ron being American sometimes pulled me back to the way I actually speak. But it does help that I grew up with it constantly in the house.
You beat Chris – he does slip into the Australian accent a couple of times.

Olivia Wilde

Does he? It must be very difficult, and he had a lot more words to say than I did!
Are you a big fan of Ron Howard's movies? Obviously we all grew up with them. What would have been the ones that stood out for you?

Olivia Wilde

Well, Apollo 13 and Frost/Nixon. That film, the combination of Peter Morgan and Ron Howard was just electrifying, I thought, because their two skill sets just married together perfectly. Ron is full of heart, he's just such an emotional person, and he cares so much about humanity, and he brings humanity to every character. Peter is just so sharp and brilliant; his dialogue is just wickedly biting and intelligent and it's just a joy to say his words. It had been one of my dreams to work with both of them, never thinking that I'd actually get to do it at the same time.

It was great. Ron had been a producer on Cowboys & Aliens, so I got to know him a tiny bit, but through this experience it made me not only want to work with him again as an actor, but also to be a director like him someday. I followed him around set like a shadow, observing the way that he works on set, which is very unusual, I think.
When you did press for Cowboys & Aliens, you were saying then that you were looking at some projects to direct...

Olivia Wilde

Yes, because also Jon Favreau had been a great inspiration to me on that. He's a great director, and incredibly diplomatic in the way that Ron is. I mean, on this film, what I thought was so extraordinary is that Ron welcomes advice from everyone. He hires the people he respects and then he delegates perfectly. And he doesn't bristle when someone else has a better idea – he goes with it.

And that went for everyone, from Peter [Morgan] coming on set and saying he had an idea to Anthony Dod Mantle, our cinematographer - who's so extraordinary – having a different idea than Ron. Ron just incorporated all that genius seamlessly, and kept such a calm demeanour on set, that really kind of set the stage for everyone doing their best work, I think.

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Content updated: 19/08/2019 01:44

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