She may kick butt as Scarlett Witch in the massive Avengers franchise, but Elizabeth Olsen's Wind River performance shows what the actor is really capable of. In the thriller, available on digital Oct. 31 and Blu-Ray and DVD Nov. 14, she plays FBI agent Jane Banner, who's brought to a remote Wyoming territory to help solve questions about a young girl's mysterious death. While the role came with its challenges (both emotional and physical), Olsen said it's her character's can-do attitude that made it unlike anyone she's played before.
In the investigation process, Jane joins wildlife officer Cory Lambert (Jeremy Renner) who has a deep, haunting past with the Native American reservation community, complicating her journey even more. As the mystery unravels and they learn the young woman was raped, both investigators find themselves in danger as Jane remains strong and holds her own while determined to get to the bottom of the incident.
"I've never played a character like this before," Olsen explained in the exclusive video below. As an actor who finds herself surrounded by so many men on screen (namely in Avengers), she admires Jane's capabilities and willingness to stand her ground. "[She's] someone who's confident in their own ability," the actor explained.
Olsen also explained how she admires how Jane "truly cares about doing the right thing and has a lot of empathy for every single person she meets in this world." Wind River director and writer Taylor Sheridan tipped his hat to the 28-year-old actor and her dedication to the performance.
"She has an incredibly difficult role to play and it takes a really talented to play innocent without looking naive," Sheridan explained. "To watch that character grow from being a stranger in this world to surviving it, it's a phenomenal performance by Lizzie."
Olsen has previously spoken with Bustle about the film's spotlight on the amount of missing Native American women in the area and the startling lack of statistics and reports on them. "I didn’t understand how this is something that exists in the same country that I live in," she told Bustle's Anna Klassen. "These are my neighbors and these are states I’ve been to." The importance of this narrative made Olsen feel immediately compelled to take on the role.
She continued to say: "A white man can come onto a reservation, commit a crime — rape a woman — but he can only be caught within the reservation from reservation police... If he’s caught outside the reservation, unless it’s a felony, there’s nothing you can do about it." If Wind River can shed light on this pressing issue and showcase a strong-willed woman in the process, it's a win-win.
In the exclusive clip, Olsen also spoke to the physical challenges that came with the shooting location. "The elements are almost like the antagonists in our film 'cause they're the thing that keeps getting in our way," she said. "People have gone missing in the winter time in locations like this where people will die just looking for them."
The California native later joked about being so unused to the cold weather and snow. "When I talked to Taylor, I was like, 'I didn't want to take this meeting 'cause I hate the cold,'" she said with a laugh. But she braved the weather for the cause.
Although she's incredibly modest, the actor has come such a long way. In April 2016, Olsen was open about embracing being a Hollywood underdog. "I don't see myself at the same calibre as a large group of actresses and so in my mind I see myself as the underdog, and I like being the underdog," she told Vogue. Underdog or not, Olsen's Wind River role shows the world just what she can do.