The New Guard: Olivia Thirlby
Olivia Thirlby leads W’s handpicked pack of up-and-comers.
An observant viewer could track actress Olivia Thirlby’s roles in 2012 via her hairstyles. The 25-year-old went bobbed and banged for this spring’s Being Flynn; short and blonde for September’s sci-fi flick Dredd; and cropped and pixieish as an artist who wreaks sexual havoc on a Los Angeles couple (Rosemarie DeWitt and John Krasinski) in Nobody Walks, which comes to the big screen this fall. Naturally, Thirlby is experiencing some growing pains.
“My friends and family joke that I look like a 12-year-old boy slash Justin Bieber,” she says of her current tomboyish tresses.
Theatergoers can judge for themselves this month, when Thirlby stars in Lonely, I’m Not, a new production by Paul Weitz at New York’s Second Stage Theatre. She plays a corporate analyst who has been blind since childhood. Topher Grace is a businessman-turned-ne’er-do-nothing she meets on a date; charmingly clumsy romance ensues.
In addition to the challenge of playing someone without sight, Thirlby saw a grand metaphor in her latest role. “I find it very poetic playing a blind person. I think we all suffer from acute blindness at times,” she says. “Life is a constant journey of trying to open your eyes. I’m just beginning my journey, and my eyes aren’t fully open yet.”