‘I Had a Hard Time With It’: Elizabeth Olsen Reveals the Emotional Effects of Playing Wanda in ‘Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness’

elizabeth olsen wanda scarlet witch doctor strange
Elizabeth Olsen plays Wanda Maximoff in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Elizabeth Olsen is an actor who might have only initially been known for her famous sisters Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen, but who has now become famous for her dramatic acting chops, her beauty, and her friendly demeanor. Seeing the cheerful actress play a serious, grieving character like Wanda Maximoff has been a surprise for Marvel fans ever since WandaVision — but now that the new Marvel movie Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness has been released, Elizabeth Olsen has shared that it was a shock and a challenge for her, too!



Paul Bettany as Vision and Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda Maximoff / Scarlet Witch. Credit: Marvel

Be warned: there are spoilers in this article! If you haven’t seen the new Marvel film yet, take a look at our spoiler-free review here and come back once you’ve been to the cinemas and developed your own opinion on the film that everyone is talking about.

Again: spoilers! Now that the movie is out and the press tour is in full swing, Elizabeth Olsen and co-star Benedict Cumberbatch (not to mention the rest of the Marvel movie’s cast) are able to be more open about their characters’ story arcs and the movie’s plot twists. Elizabeth Olsen recently spoke to Variety and revealed that (again: spoiler alert!) she really emotionally struggled with her character’s transformation into a horrifying villain.

Wanda and Doctor Strange

The Scarlet Witch Wanda Maximoff (played by Elizabeth Olsen) and Doctor Stephen Strange (played by Benedict Cumberbatch) in ‘Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness’ Credit: Marvel Entertainment

One of the most shocking scenes in the second Doctor Strange movie involves Wanda killing multiple iconic superheroes in violent, disturbing ways (as well as in a matter of seconds). Viewers were left shocked and unnerved by not only this scene, but multiple scenes in a movie that had a very, very creepy feel to it during almost all Wanda Maximoff / Scarlet Witch scenes — and apparently, this was director Sami Raimi (to quote the film) “being reasonable”!

“I was also supposed to kill more,” Elizabeth Olsen admitted. “I had a hard time with it. I was like, these are human beings and Wanda is okay with ending their lives? But I just had to buckle down and think all these people are in her way and she’s warned Doctor Strange not to get in her way. And he did. He didn’t listen. And so I just had to go from that point of view”.


‘Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness’ film poster. The film stars Benedict Cumberbatch, Elizabeth Olsen, Benedict Wong, Xochitl Gomez, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and Rachel McAdams. Credit: Marvel Studios

After seeing the film, many Marvel fans will understand why Olsen might struggle to play a character who went from being a fairly well-liked woman to a nightmare-inducing monster. Olsen also struggled with a scene involving the two boys who play her sons in the Marvel movie.  

“There’s a moment where I have to snap at people I love, and that was a difficult scene,” Olsen admitted. “One of the people that I love — the little people that I love — they were throwing things at me in the scene, and accidentally smacked my face really hard. And that was the best reaction”. If you’ve seen the movie, you’ll know the exact moment when this happens and Wanda snaps!

“I felt so bad that I used it as the actor and let it inform how I responded to these people that I love,” Elizabeth Olsen continued. “because they were terrified after. It really was something I did not enjoy at all, but I knew it’d be good for the scene”.

The famously-likable actress might have struggled to play her character in the Doctor Strange sequel, but her efforts paid off; Olsen’s performance is being seen as one of the highlights of the movie, even though viewers found the movie’s shift to the horror movie genre just as jarring as Olsen apparently did!

About Sharon

Sharon is a writer and animal lover from New England. Sharon's two main focuses in her work are Disney's correlations with pop culture and the significance of Disney princesses (which was the basis for her college thesis). When she's not writing about Disney, Sharon spends her time singing, dancing, and cavorting with woodland creatures!

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