Olivia Wilde talks about being fearless, funny in 'Burt Wonderstone'

By KAREN BUTLER, United Press International   |   June 26, 2013 at 12:40 PM
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Olivia Wilde says being surrounded by comic giants Jim Carrey, Steve Carell and Steve Buscemi on the set of their Las Vegas-set movie, "The Incredible Burt Wonderstone," inspired her to be fearless in her own quest to be funny.

In the film, Carell and Buscemi play childhood friends Burt and Anton, who work for years as flamboyant, Siegfried & Roy-type showmen-magicians until a falling-out ends their partnership just as an edgy new endurance illusionist, played by Carrey, appears on the scene and wows the crowds.

Wilde plays Jane, Burt and Anton's former assistant, who wants to be a magician and who helps Burt rediscover his love of conjuring.

"It was fantastic. I had a very similar experience as Jane. Jane is working away on her own and she wants to be a magician, but she can't imagine working alongside Burt and Anton. She finds herself there and has to be present in the moment and be a magician and I was going through a very similar experience," the 29-year-old actress laughed at a recent press conference in Las Vegas.

"I was so thrilled to join this cast and everyone says, 'It must have been so scary to be among them.' But, really, they made me feel so comfortable and no one was patronizing, no one was condescending. ... I felt very much like I belonged there. I was really happy that I had auditioned because people say, 'Oh, isn't it great to be offered roles?' all the time. But you know what? It's great to know you earned your place and to know you are right for the role, because my biggest fear is being offered something and showing up on set and doing one day [of work] and everyone going: 'Oh, jheesh, no this isn't ... . She isn't' ... . And feeling the same way myself. So, I felt that I'd earned my place there and I had so much fun and I learned so many important lessons," the native New Yorker said.

Although she has appeared in comedies such as "Year One," "Butter" and "The Change-Up," Wilde said she honed her comedic skills further by watching the masters at work on "Wonderstone."

"The stuff I'm most proud of with Jane is the result of taking risks and making bolder choices that was really just me being inspired by these guys. Once I watched what they were doing I was like, 'OK, I can swing a little harder,'" she said, giving as an example a scene in the beginning of the movie in which Jane has to perform without any preparation.

"We had awkwardly pushed her on stage and then Jane tries to assume the role of the magician's assistant, but she is terrible. Totally ungraceful and that was physical comedy I really have no experience with, but had so much fun with because of the encouragement of my fellow cast members that I felt comfortable doing it," said Wilde.

Co-starring Alan Arkin and the late James Gandolfini, "The Incredible Burt Wonderstone" is available on DVD and Blu-ray.

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