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Olivia Wilde, the fashionable actress who’s conquered everything from sci-fi action to drama and comedy, might seem like she’s got it all together, but it turns out she can be just as awkward as the rest of us.
In The Incredible Burt Wonderstone, directed by Don Scardino, Wilde plays an assistant to the Las Vegas magician duo of Burt Wonderstone (Steve Carell) and Anton Marvelton (Steve Buscemi). Her character, Jane, is recruited to be a magician’s assistant in the middle of a show after their original assistant quits.
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“That was a really fun moment because I came up with the idea that she would have crippling stage fright,” she says.
Wilde calls her character’s journey an “ugly duckling story” because Jane has ambitions to become a real magician someday but has to overcome her own insecurities to get there.
“If she didn’t get pushed out onstage, she might never have gotten to achieve her dream,” she says.
The Hollywood Reporter had to ask Wilde, whose other films include Tron: Legacy, Cowboys & Aliens and The Change-Up, if she can relate to the awkwardness Jane possesses.
“I have awkward moments,” she admits. “I swear I spend most of my life like Larry David. I’m always apologizing for hugging people inappropriately or tripping over things.”
She adds that she’s always been “a bit of a ham onstage,” so she differs from Jane in that way.
“I can certainly empathize with stage fright,” she says.
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Wilde is surrounded by a wealth of comedy talent in the Warner Bros. film, including Carell, Buscemi, Jim Carrey and Alan Arkin. So THR asked the actress which of her co-stars she would prefer to join her on a deserted island.
“I think Steve Buscemi is so surprising in his talents,” she tells THR. “He can play a maniacal killer in Fargo, he can be a gangster in Boardwalk Empire, he can be a magician in this film. So who’s to say he’s not also a spear fisherman?”
Watch the video above to hear Wilde’s opinion on women in comedy.
The Incredible Burt Wonderstone opens in theaters March 15 via Warner Bros.
Email: Rebecca.Ford@thr.com; Twitter: @Beccamford
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