Mary-Kate Olsen breaks out into serious acting in ‘The Wackness’, going to great lengths for her career, including snogging Sir Ben Kingsley, a man 42 years her senior.
Not many 21-year-olds are co-president of multi-million dollar businesses with their names on everything from perfume to magazines and mobile phones. But not content with her billion-dollar merchandising empire, the tiny twin is also branching out into serious acting.
Mary-Kate, who along with sister Ashley, has been on screen since she was nine months old, took her first steps to independence with her role on hit TV series Weeds.
Now the little lady is stepping out on to the big screen on her own to play Union in The Wackness.
Q: Tell us about The Wackness – don’t you have a kissing scene with Sir Ben Kingsley?
A: “The Wackness is a comedy set in New York in 1994. I play a girl called Union. She is a free spirited girl who gets into drugs. And yes – there is a particular scene with Sir Ben but you will have to watch the movie to find out more!”
Q: Was it strange kissing someone who is 42 years your senior?
A: “It is all part of being an actress. But I was so in awe of Sir Ben I was more nervous about acting alongside him than I was about the kiss.”
Q: Your character in Weeds, Tara Lindman, was into drugs too. What made you want to go for that part?
A: “It’s such a brilliant show; it’s well-written and the people are so talented. The character was fun – she’s a little twisted and it’s fun to play her. It’s really good because I was a fan of the show and then I started reading the script so I get to see it happen before anyone else does, like a fan I guess! I’m so lucky to be a part of it.”
Q: Is it difficult being photographed all the time?
A: “I don’t usually go places where I know I’m going to be seen or followed. Usually we’ll be going into Starbucks – that’s the only time that I get photographed. Or when we’re going to our offices and the magazines are always like ‘Shopping at Maxfield’s’ when actually we’re at work. It’s like the only time that I leave my house or get out of my car to go somewhere!”
Q: Is there anything you would love to do – but can’t because of all the attention you receive?
A: “I would love to be able to swim in the ocean in Malibu. But that is asking for a bikini shot. That’s inviting something that I don’t want to happen. I don’t need to be on a Who’s Skinny, Who’s Fat, Who’s Looking Healthy, Who’s Not Eating?’ list.”
Q: Do you resent it when they follow you just to get your picture?
A: “I’ve been in the public eye for my entire life. People know me from Full House, people know me as a fashion icon, people know me as ‘One of those twins’. My whole childhood is on Full House and a lot of memories are on set. Growing up on television and with the media, it’s easier to deal with because you grow up with it. I was never thrown into the process which I can imagine would be very difficult.”
Q: Do other people get you two mixed up a lot?
A: “Not as much, no. But sometimes if I’m out I’ll say I’m Ashley or if I’m making reservations for restaurants instead of saying my name I’ll use my sister’s! Actually most of the time.”
Q: Do you get approached on the street by fans a lot?
A: “Occasionally they do come up but they say the weirdest things sometimes. It’s like the other day somebody asked me if he could make me tomato soup! You know what? I was a little surprised but I looked at him and I said, ‘I love tomato soup.”
Q: What are your limits? What would you never do?
A: “I’m never going on the cover of Maxim – at all! I only go along with what I am comfortable with.”
Q: Where do you see yourself in ten years’ time – when you’re in your thirties?
A: “Thirties… is that marriage time? I don’t know; working and being successful. My sister and I have a few other things that we’re working on.”
Q: Did you and your sister intentionally set out to create an empire?
A: “We were so young when it first started and it just grew as people wanted to buy our things. People were buying the products and we were making them available. You don’t really know it’s happening – I’m sure I didn’t wrap my head around it until I was at least 16 or 17. But that’s still 17 years of working.”