Celebrity Then And Now
Posted by Ryan Neal
Celebrity Then And Now
Publication: RidiculouslyExtraordinary. Posted by Ryan Neal
House, Cowboys & Aliens, Drinking Buddies
Currently Known For:
Actress, Model and Filmmaker
2007 - Present
March 10, 1984
House, Cowboys & Aliens, Drinking Buddies
“I have very high standards for every part of life—my work, my relationships, food, love. I can’t just pretend.” Olivia Wilde is an actress, model, and filmmaker who first rose to stardom in the new millennium. After landing several recurring roles on television series like Skin (2003), The O.C. (2004-2005), and The Black Donnellys (2007), Wilde snagged a starring role as Dr. Remy “Thirteen” Hadley on Fox’s award-winning medical drama House. Amid her success on the show, she saw her film career take off with credits in Tron: Legacy (2010) and Cowboys & Aliens (2011).
After wrapping up House in 2012, Wilde was a household name in Hollywood and made the rounds on television with recurring roles in Portlandia (2014-2015), Doll & Em (2015), and Vinyl (2016) as well as in films like Deadfall (2012), The Incredible Burt Wonderstone (2013), Drinking Buddies (2013), and The Lazarus Effect (2015). Most recently, she starred in A Vigilante (2018) and Life Itself (2018) in addition to directing her 2019 project, Booksmart. Also one of Hollywood’s biggest philanthropists as part of the Artists for Peace and Justice organization, let’s take a closer look at Wilde’s rise to fame and why she believes philanthropy is one of the best perks of her job in the spotlight!Early Life and Career Beginnings
“I was a handful growing up... Once I took a bus from my home in Maryland to Philadelphia to live on the streets with some musicians for a few weeks, and then my parents sent me to boarding school at Andover to shape me up.” Olivia Jane Cockburn made her debut into this world on March 10, 1984, in New York City, New York. She was raised in Georgetown, Washington, D.C. where her parents were well-known among the elite social circles thanks to their careers as internationally recognized journalists. Their affluence trickled down to Wilde who attended the prestigious Georgetown Day School before she was sent to the Phillips Academy boarding school in Andover, Massachusetts.
Wilde spent her summers at her grandparent’s home in Ireland and, while there, discovered her passion for acting. She attended the Gaiety School of Acting in Dublin where she adopted her new stage name—Olivia Wilde, which was inspired by Irish playwright Oscar Wilde. After she graduated from high school in 2002, Wilde enrolled at Bard College in upstate New York but was so eager to become an actress that she gave up her spot at the private liberal arts college to pursue acting full time. She left New York for Los Angeles and picked up her first job as an office assistant with a local casting agency. Her boss, the casting director, knew she wanted to become an actress and encouraged her to audition, which is how she landed a recurring role on the short-lived Fox series Skin from 2003 to 2004.
In 2004, she was cast as Alex Kelly on the teen drama series, The O.C., and spent a year on the show before she picked up another internship. “I got an internship with the casting director on The Girl Next Door,” Wilde said. “I would hold the clipboard and help them in their casting sessions and get them lunch.” Wilde also landed a small role in the film and made her debut on the silver screen in 2004. Over the next few years, her career progressed with credits in Conversations with Other Women (2005), Bickford Shmeckler’s Cool Ideas (2006), Turistas (2006), and Alpha Dog (2006). In 2007, she wrapped up a stellar performance in the off-Broadway production of Beauty on the Vine when her luck drastically improved.Catching Her Big Break
“From a very early age, I made my decisions based on careers that I admire. The one thing that all the actresses I love have in common is that they have diversity in their careers.” Wilde caught a huge break in 2007 when she won the part of Dr. Remy “Thirteen” Hadley on the Fox medical drama House. Her performance as the secretive bisexual with Huntington’s disease quickly made her a fan favorite and earned her a 2008 Teen Choice Award for Best Breakout Female TV Star. That same success continued over the next five seasons until Wilde left the series in 2011 to focus on her film career.
Amid her time on House, Wilde saw her film career flourish when she joined Michael Cera and Jack Black in the 2009 comedy Year One. She was then cast as Quorra in the blockbuster sequel Tron: Legacy (2010) starring Jeff Bridges. After leaving House, Wilde saw her hard work pay off once again when she joined Harrison Ford and Daniel Craig in Cowboys & Aliens (2011). She then teamed up with Jason Bateman and Ryan Reynolds in The Change-Up (2011) and added in credits in In Time (2011), On the Inside (2011), and Butter (2011). She was also named the worldwide brand ambassador for Revlon in 2011 and saw her fame skyrocket as she appeared in numerous television commercials and advertising campaigns to promote the cosmetic giant.
She made her debut as a director and screenwriter in Free Hugs (2011) and reprised her role as Dr. Remy Hadley on the two-show series finale of House in 2012. She then joined Chris Pine in People Like Us (2012) and added in credits in Third Person (2012), The Words (2012), Deadfall (2012), and Her (2012). In 2013, she cashed in on her growing fame when she published an article for Glamour magazine titled the “Do’s and Don’ts of Turning 30.”
“I am so saddened and grossed out by young women who look like creepy, old aliens because of their new Barbie noses and lips,” Wilde wrote in the article. She later elaborated and said, “I encouraged women to take advantage of [aging], to enjoy it, to not be ashamed of it, or stifle it in any way, and to understand that what I said in the article is that now we can act like an 18-year-old boy and just be better at everything… There are too many young women who are getting plastic surgery. It makes me sad and they all look the same. And I don’t mean to be preachy, it’s advice to myself as much as it is for everyone else.”
Following the article’s release, Wilde made a lasting impression on the silver screen when she starred in and executive produced Drinking Buddies (2013), which starred Jake Johnson, Anna Kendrick, and her fiancé, Jason Sudeikis. The project was a huge leap of faith for Wilde since there wasn’t a script for the project. “Joe [Swanberg] had an outline on paper that we never saw but he described it,” Wilde said. “All it had were the basic plot points. We didn’t know what would happen day-to-day. We were shooting a bonfire because we’d had a real-life bonfire after work. Then I thought, ‘Maybe I’ll go skinny-dipping!’ The look on Jake’s face captured his conflict.”
What was even more enjoyable for Wilde was the chance to work with Sudeikis, who played her boss in the film. “Jason told me to make this film, so it wasn’t weird,” she said. “He knew more about Joe Swanberg and the community of mumblecore directors than I did from his experience in the improv world, specifically Chicago. I learned about improv from Jason; I’d done Second City with him. I was falling in love with the improv community; all my years in acting school with Stanislavski technique and Shakespeare had to be unlearned. This film seemed cool but a scary process to me, and Jason encouraged me to do it. He visited me in Chicago when we were shooting. I said, ‘We have nobody to play my boss; can you jump in and improvise?’ We had so much fun! I'm in awe of how quick he is and funny without trying to be funny. He’s so respected in the improv world; it added a lot of cred that we got him in the film.”Mainstream Career and Life Today
“I consider my education to be the first 10 years of my career.” On the heels of her work in Drinking Buddies, Wilde landed supporting roles in The Incredible Burt Wonderstone (2013) and Rush (2013). She starred as Elizabeth Roberts in Better Living Through Chemistry (2014) and in The Longest Week (2014), the latter of which cast her opposite Jason Bateman and Billy Crudup. She then stepped in as a brand ambassador for H&M’s Conscious Exclusive campaign before returning to film with The Lazarus Effect (2015), Meadowland (2015), and Love the Coopers (2015). She starred as Devon Finestra in HBO’s drama series Vinyl (2016) before wrapping up her partnership with Revlon at the end of the year.
In 2017, Wilde’s career ventured in a new direction when she made her Broadway debut as Julia in 1984, which opened at the Hudson Theatre in New York City. “I’d been wanting to do a play for a long time… I did an off-Broadway show at the Clurman Theatre on Theatre Row with an awesome company called the Epic Theater Center. It was another political thriller and it was my first time doing a play professionally! I was really, really inspired by it. It was the hardest job I had ever done, even just a two-month run,” Wilde said. When Wilde heard about 1984 coming to Broadway, she didn’t have to think twice. “Because I knew this book so well, and I knew I wanted to help tell this story and I think this is what I had been looking for,” she said.
Wilde was so excited about the project that she pushed her nerves aside and filmed her audition tape. “You know when you put yourself on tape and it’s already weird because you’re putting yourself on tape for a play, and it feels doubly weird because how can you possibly show what you want to do on stage, on tape? But I was in this weird hotel in the middle of nowhere upstate, in the middle of the snow, and just filmed myself doing like 15 pages of slides,” Wilde said. “When you really want something and you really love something, it’s not even hard to prepare it, like it doesn’t even feel like a drag to work on the material because you’re just so excited. I swear I memorized the slides in a few hours. I was so excited and I sent off the tape.”
Wilde wrapped up her stint on Broadway in October 2017 and has spent the last year working on projects like A Vigilante (2018) and Life Itself (2018) in addition to directing the 2019 film, Booksmart, which stars Kaitlyn Dever and Beanie Feldstein. The rest of her time is devoted to her life at home with actor, comedian, and screenwriter Jason Sudeikis, whom she met in November 2011 just months after her divorce from Prince Tao Ruspoli, an Italian filmmaker and musician whom she married in June 2003. After a two-year courtship, Wilde and Sudeikis announced their engagement in January 2013 and have since welcomed a son and daughter into the world in 2014 and 2016, respectively. “No one tells you that after you’ve had a baby you are a walking wounded,” Wilde says of motherhood. “It’s an experience for sure. And then there’s all these expectations thrown at you right away; how you’re supposed to bounce back, a lot of them are really unrealistic…”
Beyond her devotion to her family, the 34-year-old Wilde is also incredibly devoted to her work as a philanthropist, which she attributes to her parents and how she was raised. “It’s something we were raised with—a sense of responsibility, the idea of leaving the world better than how we found it. It was instilled in us quite young, my siblings and I,” Wilde says. That shines through in Wilde’s work on the Board of Directors for the Artists for Peace and Justice organization, which provides education and health services in Haiti. “I think that my generation is defined by a new type of philanthropy,” she says. “Philanthropy is no longer a word just for rich, older people who have fat checkbooks. It is an active philosophy, the idea of really participating, and going around the world and building wells, or saving trees or whatever your thing is. It’s active.”