Olivia Wilde, a 28-year-old American actress (with dual citizenship for Ireland), is best known for her striking facial features and diverse supporting roles in both dramas and comedies.
Voted on #1 Maximum‘s Hot 100 list in 2009, Wilde is not overshadowed by her good looks, as she proves she can still kick some pretty serious ass on the big and small screen. Although, you’ll rarely find her as a lead actress, Wilde can be seen in several supporting roles in any given year (seven in 2011 alone), which allows her to take part in many different projects at once.
Born to two journalists, Olivia changed her last name to Wilde (inspired by her love for Irish poet & author Oscar Wilde) from her family name, Cockburn. I would say that was a rather good move on her part.
Wilde’s family contains several journalists other than her parents, including her uncles and grandfather. She’s noted that this background has made her particularly critical and analytical. Due to her parents occupations, Olivia was introduced to several socialites at a young age, who inspired her to be an actress from the age of two. She was raised in Washington, D.C., but studied acting at the Gaiety School of Acting in Dublin, Ireland, close to where her father was raised.
Wilde’s career didn’t exactly begin with a bang. She has always starred in supporting roles, both in television and film. This type of career has its perks and downfalls, but for Olivia, it’s given her the opportunity to take on a lot more projects each year.
Her first substantial role on television came in a short-lived Fox drama titled Skin (2003), which only survived six episodes. Olivia’s first big screen appearance occurred in 2004′s The Girl Next Door, but it was such a small role, you probably missed it. Also in 2004, Wilde was one of the key models for Abercrombie and Fitch’s “Rising Stars” campaign.
In what I would consider her first memorable role, Olivia starred in teen soap-opera The O.C. as a supporting character that starred in 13 episodes from 2004-2005. If you were a teen during these years, then you were absolutely watching The O.C.
Back in high school, I personally remember sitting in homeroom when everyone, and I mean everyone, was talking about last night’s heart-wrenching episode. I remember Wilde’s character, Alex, as an intriguing one, opening the door for main character Marissa (Mischa Barton) to enter into a same-sex relationship. Although instances like this weren’t extremely taboo, for the young teen audience who watched the show religiously, the scenario was often unspoken of.
Wilde’s controversial roll in The O.C. definitely put her on the map. In a similar fashion to past AOTW Milla Jovovich, Wilde’s striking facial features made her memorable enough that audiences could name to the face from project to project. In 2006, Wilde played Angela Holden in the biographical crime drama Alpha Dog, as Johnny Truelove’s (Emile Hirsch) girlfriend. Because the film was based on true events, Wilde was able to portray a real life person instead of a fictional character.
Wilde earned a lead role in the small comedy/romance film, Bickford Shmeckler’s Cool Ideas (2006). Although the film went largely unnoticed, Wilde won The Comedy Festival’s Best Actress Award and Vail Film Festival’s Rising Star Award.
In 2007, she starred in another short-lived TV show, The Black Donnellys, but this time as the lead female. Although the organized crime drama lasted only 14 episodes, Wilde’s convincing performance earned her a spot on the popular long-lived TV series, House.
Wilde joined the Fox network’s medical drama in 2007 as Dr. Remy Hadley, it’s in this role that she gained recognition as an actress. When Dr. Gregory House looks for new members to fill his medical team, he gives all prospects a simple number. If you know anything about House himself, then you know how his less than personable attitude would make replacing names with numbers an obvious choice. Simply known as “Thirteen” Wilde portrayed a medical intern with some dirty secrets. Much like her role from The O.C., Wilde plays a bisexual, although such roles had become more commonplace then when she starred in 2004. She’s eventually handpicked by House to join his medical team, giving her a regular role on the series.
Producer Katie Jacobs noted that all candidates for House’s medical team had the potential to join the cast full time. No one, not even the writers, knew who would stay on as regulars. Much like in the show, Wilde had to prove her abilities as being better than the other candidates, and eventually earned her spot because of the writer’s interest in her character. Wilde starred in over 80 episodes of House, and finished the series when it came to a close in May 2012.
Paving the Way into Theaters with ‘Tron’
While filming House, Wilde added more projects to her schedule. She was eventually cast in Turistas and Year One, but it’s the popularity of Disney’s Tron: Legacy in 2010 that turned her into a household name.
In the sequel to the 1982 film, Tron, Wilde plays Quorra, the “isomorphic algorithm” and confidant of Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges) in the Grid. Flyyn refers to her as his apprentice since he’s given her volumes of information regarding the world outside the Grid. Quorra is smart, inquisitive, and intriguing. It was an important role for Wilde that gained her both female and male fans worldwide. In order to accurately portray some of the action scenes, Wilde trained in martial arts and worked out regularly.
Tron: Legacy earned several nominations and awards, including a Best Breakout Star nomination for Wilde at the MTV Movie Awards. The film earned over $40 million in its opening weekend, and grossed over $400 million in box offices worldwide. The film became a fan favorite and plans for a sequel were already underway before the film’s release date.
Tron: Legacy also inspired an animated series called Tron: Uprising, as well as a Manga version. The extreme popularity of the film skyrocketed Wilde’s career.
Since her splash with Tron: Legacy, Wilde has joined several projects that offered her an array of diverse roles. In 2011 alone, she starred in the science-fiction Western Cowboys & Aliens, comedies The Change-Up and Butter, and sci-fi thriller In Time.
Most recently, she starred in People Like Us and The Words as an interested prospect of Dennis Quaid’s character. According to IMDB, Wilde has ten projects in various stages of production, including The Longest Week, starring Jason Bateman and Billy Crudup, which has no official release date (but we’ll let you know when it does).
Did I mention Wilde’s also a super awesome human being? She’s not only board member of Artists for Peace and Justice, which provides education and health services in Haiti, but supports campaigns for President Obama, the Global Poverty Project, and The Fair Foods campaign.
There’s no telling what roles Olivia will take on in the future, but she’s able to pull off just about anything. From action films to comedy and romance, Olivia has the power to win over audiences, even if she’s on screen for just a short time. This is one actress who enjoys challenging herself in new ways. We can only look forward to seeing more of this talented actress on the big screen.
‘People Like Us’ Trailer:
Interview with Olivia:
Olivia Wilde’s Filmography/Up-Coming Films:
- The Third Person (pre-production)
- 2013 Relanxious (pre-production)
- 2013 Squirrel to the Nuts (pre-production)
- 2013 The Incredible Burt Wonderstone (post-production)
- 2013 Rush (post-production)
- 2013 Drinking Buddies (post-production)
- 2013 Her (post-production)
- 2013 Better Living Through Chemistry (post-production)
- 2012 Black Dog, Red Dog (post-production)
- 2012 The Longest Week (completed)
- 2012 Robot Chicken (TV series)
- 2012 TRON: Uprising (TV series)
- 2012 People Like Us
- 2007-2012 House M.D. (TV series)
- 2012 Deadfall
- 2012 The Words
- 2011 Saturday Night Live (TV series)
- 2011 In Time
- 2011 Butter
- 2011 The Change-Up
- 2011 Cowboys & Aliens
- 2011 On the Inside
- 2011 Free Hugs (short)
- 2010Tron: Evolution (Video Game)
- 2010 TRON: Legacy
- 2010 The Next Three Days
- 2010 Weird: The Al Yankovic Story (video short)
- 2009 The Ballad of G.I. Joe (video short)
- 2009 Year One
- 2008 Fix
- 2007 The Black Donnellys (TV series)
- 2007 The Death and Life of Bobby Z
- 2006 Turistas
- 2006 Bickford Shmeckler’s Cool Ideas
- 2006 Camjackers
- 2006 Alpha Dog
- 2005 Conversations with Other Women
- 2004-2005 The O.C. (TV series)
- 2004 The Girl Next Door
- 2003-2004 Skin (TV series)
- 1995 Meeting Magdalene (short)