Olivia Wilde on Hollywood Sexism and Why Paul Haggis Understands Women

'It's not a niche market. We aren't a minority.'

Olivia Wilde is only 30, and she’s co-starred in a batch of studio projects like “Tron: Legacy,” “Cowboys & Aliens” and “Rush,” but she still says the most interesting roles for younger actresses are in indie films.

Wilde plays a mysterious short story writer who has an affair with a married novelist in Paul Haggis’ “Third Person.” The drama, which was acquired by Sony Pictures Classics at the Toronto Film Festival last year, will open in limited release this week.

“I do think you find more opportunities to play more dynamic characters as a woman in the independent sphere,” Wilde said at Tuesday’s night’s Cinema Society/Revlon screening of “Third Person” in downtown New York. “I think people take bigger risks because there’s less money at stake. When you’re dealing with corporate dollars, they want to make corporate decisions.”

Wilde notes that most Hollywood executives are ignoring the simple math that women make up roughly half of movie tickets sold. “This is what the studios need to realize, and are realizing, with the success of ‘Hunger Games,’ ‘Twilight’ and ‘The Fault in our Stars,'” Wilde says. “It’s so clear that audiences will flock to see female-driven films. It’s not a niche market. We aren’t a minority. I think [the perception] is changing.”

Wilde says she was drawn to the script for “Third Person,” because her character felt dynamic and real. She credits Haggis: “He’s the only male writer in Hollywood doing that,” she says. “He has a lot of respect for women and writes them well.”

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