The woman making Hollywood Wilde
To judge whether an actor has currency in Hollywood, look no further than what they’re working on and who they’re working with. Using this method, Olivia Wilde’s index is rocketing up the movie-making market. Currently in the highly acclaimed People Like Us opposite Michelle Pfeiffer and Chris Pine, and with no less than 10 feature films about to be released, filming, in post-production or in pre-production, Wilde is the woman everyone wants.
And by everyone, we mean some of the biggest and most respected names in the business.
She stars in the next film from Academy Award winning director (for A Beautiful Mind) Ron Howard. Rush, due for release next year, is set in the high-stakes, high-risk, high-glamour world of Formula One motor racing in 1976, the year champion driver Niki Lauda had the crash which almost claimed his life. Wilde plays supermodel Suzy Miller, who marries pin-up British racer (and Lauda’s rival), James Hunt (played by Aussie Chris Hemsworth). Howard describes the film as “fascinating, sizzling, sexy and entertaining in the mould of Apollo 13, Frost/Nixon and A Beautiful Mind” and under his watch, it’s set to be one of the must-see releases of 2013.
Along with Howard and man-of-the-moment Hemsworth, over the next 12 months we’ll see Wilde work alongside a host of Hollywood’s finest including Australia’s Naomi Watts and Eric Bana, Dame Judi Dench, Jane Fonda, Whoopi Goldberg, Liam Neeson and James Franco. She’ll be starring in an as-yet-untitled Spike Jonze project with Amy Adams, Joaquin Phoenix and Rooney Mara. And she’ll ham it up – even donning a creepy superhero onesie – with Steve Carrell and Jim Carey in The Incredible Burt Wonderstone.
So just what is it about Wilde that makes her, at 28, one of Hollywood’s hottest properties?
She was born Olivia Jane Cockburn and changed her surname to Wilde after Irish writer, poet and pithy epigram maker, Oscar Wilde. Her ancestry boasts a long line of journalists and writers, including both her parents – her mother, Leslie, is an award-winning writer and filmmaker who has covered a wide variety of international stories in almost every part of the globe and co-authored several books with Olivia’s father, Andrew, an equally respected journalist who has written on topics ranging from the Middle East, politics (he authored Rumsfeld: His Rise, Fall, and Catastrophic Legacy) and modern-day slavery. Leslie and Andrew Cockburn were also the writers and producers of The Peacemaker which starred George Clooney and Nicole Kidman.
Indeed, Wilde herself is no political slouch, serving as a board member of Artists for Peace and Justice, which provides education and health services in Haiti, and campaigning for Barack Obama in his 2008 Democratic presidential nomination. She has appeared in public service announcements and is a committed vegan. Perhaps not what you’d necessarily presume about the woman who has topped Maxim magazine’s Hot 100.
And that’s exactly what we love about Olivia Wilde, and perhaps why she’ll become a long-term player in Hollywood… she’s simply a stunning woman of substance.
For the rest of this article, pick up madison’s stunning August issue, on sale July 18.