WandaVision, the long-awaited MCU show kicking off Phase 4 has left its viewers speechless. While Wanda (Elizabeth Olsen) and Vision (Paul Bettany) seem happily settled in the suburban sitcom town of Westview at the start of the miniseries, viewers of Avengers: Infinity War know that all cannot be as it seems. Episode after episode has unraveled a complicated horror show, shocking fans as they travel deeper inside the rabbit hole.
The Koalition spoke to Elizabeth Olsen about stepping back into the role of the Scarlet Witch.
While the series explores the extent and origin of Wanda’s powers, making her more similar to the comic book version, including depicting her mental illness and introducing the “Scarlet Witch” moniker, Elizabeth first had to adjust to shooting the series in front of a live studio audience.
“The first thing we shot [was in front of a live studio audience.] It was so nerve-wracking, there was a lot of adrenaline. There were a lot of quick changes and it confused my brain. It really messed with my brain, the idea of not playing to an audience but feeding off an audience and having a camera and I was really grateful when we added the fourth wall for our second episode,” Elizabeth said.
[Playing Wanda] was like an amalgamation of Mary Tyler Moore and Elizabeth Montgomery, and I think I accidentally threw in some Lucy in the 70s just because there was so much physical comedy. The way women move throughout the decades changes so much when it comes to what society wants from them. And so we quite a few nods to how those were evolving through the decades,” she continued.
[For example], In the 60s she gets to wear some pants and that would adjust how someone moves through space and manners were a big part of when we talk about vocal work and speech and cadence. Manners were a huge part of every decade and so we would get this book of manners for the time as well. But we also have to remember we’re not depicting an honest reality of the 60s or the 70s. We are depicting the…beats [of a] reality, which is its own set of rules.”
For her role as Wanda Maximoff in WandaVision, she completely immersed herself in period sitcoms so she could nail the physicality of each era. Despite paying homage to numerous TV classics WandaVision didn’t use Elizabeth Montgomery’s iconic nose wiggle from Bewitched.
Instead of the nose wiggle, Wanda makes a hand gesture which she uses often in the second episode when her talent show performance with Vision went awry and she had to quickly explain away some of his wild feats. While Vision’s stunts come from the special effects team, uses direct tricks from the Bewitched sitcom.
“Well, I can’t wiggle my nose so we had to figure out something else that was period-appropriate. So this kind of was our translation and to watch our special effects team that usually you know, blow things up, set things on fire, create wind, create smoke, these guys became like puppeteers, um, of things floating in the sky and dealing with magnets in different ways to make things spin and it was just so incredible to watch our special effects team adapt to the air of specific ways of creating these practical effects by doing the research of what did they do on Bewitched.
“Or even as stupid as like, you know, holding still and doing a quick change and trying to remember your bodies for the camera. But a lot of silly things we got to do. I’m used to it all just coming together in CGI. So it was really fun to have the practical effects there.”
WandaVision is a blank slate for Wanda and Vision from the very start of the show. However, Wanda isn’t trying to escape who she is entirely. It’s the life she always wanted but she’s still able to hold on to who is really is.
“I believe from Wanda’s point of view she would describe WandaVision as a family sitcom of two people trying to fit in and not be discovered for being different.”
WandaVision is streaming on Disney+.