Warning: This article contains SPOILERS for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness!
Elizabeth Olsen reveals the scene she found hardest to film in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. Years after making her Marvel Cinematic Universe debut in Avengers: Age of Ultron, and subsequently losing her onscreen love in Infinity War, Olsen returned to Marvel Studios’ first Disney+ series as part of Phase 4, WandaVision. The show follows a traumatized Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch as inadvertently creates an idyllic, sitcom-esque reality — which holds the entire town of Westview hostage — in an attempt to be with Vision (Paul Bettany) and the children she created, Billy (Julian Hilliard) and Tommy (Jett Klyne).
WandaVision further explores the psyche of its shared titular character, introduces the Darkhold, and defines Chaos Magic and the Scarlet Witch. Despite dismantling the Hex and relinquishing her family at the end of the series, WandaVision’s post-credits scene sees the Scarlet Witch studying the Darkhold via Wanda’s astral projection as her children’s voices echo through the multiverse. In Sam Raimi’s Multiverse of Madness, it’s revealed that the Darkhold’s magic has corrupted Wanda and exacerbated a desire to reunite with her children by stealing the universe-jumping power of America Chavez (Xochitl Gomez). Scarlet Witch plans to replace a variant version of Wanda in a universe where Billy and Tommy exist, resulting in the ultimate realization that Wanda has become a monster.
In a recent interview with Variety, Olsen discussed Wanda’s villainous twist in Multiverse of Madness, and which scene was the hardest scene to film as part of that journey. Olsen revealed that it was difficult to “snap” at those her character claims to love as they reacted to her in terror. However, the actor said it was “good for the scene.” Olsen said:
“I think the hardest thing was — I know we’re doing this interview after it’s released, but I still get anxious talking about it without spoilers. But there’s a moment where I have to snap at people I love, and that was a difficult scene. One of the people that I love — the little people that I love — they were throwing things at me in the scene, and accidentally smacked my face really hard. And that was the best reaction. And I felt so bad that I used it as the actor and let it inform how I responded to these people that I love. Because they were terrified after. It really was something I did not enjoy at all, but I knew it’d be good for the scene.”
The scene in question comes near the end of the film when America Chavez transports Scarlet Witch from Earth 616 to 838, where another Wanda is at home with her children. The latter pair react in horror as a “witch” enters their home and threatens their mother. Billy and Tommy throw various objects in an attempt to defend their Wanda and, realizing their terror, her reaction is akin to Doc Ock’s final moments in Raimi’s Spider-Man 2, destroying the evil she has created. The “hardest scene to film” exemplifies the complexity of Olsen’s performance in a film that requires the actor to operate at an extreme level of emotional intensity throughout.
For those unfamiliar with original Marvel comic book storylines like House of M, it may be hard to see Wanda as Multiverse of Madness‘ villain. In the film, Scarlet Witch massacres the inhabitants of Kamar-Taj and members of the Illuminati, including Patrick Stewart’s Charles Xavier and Hayley Atwell’s Captain Carter just after they make their live-action MCU debut, proving a very different person to the Wanda fans know and love. The Darkhold’s presence does explain her fall to the dark side, but it appears that amongst all the violence the character wreaks on her MCU counterparts in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, Olsen found this smaller, intensely personal moment even harder for Scarlet Witch.