Olivia Wilde, 35, is earning major buzz for her directorial debut Booksmart and says motherhood is a great training ground for any director.
The actress turned director says she brought many of the skills she learned from parenting Otis, 5, and Daisy, 2, with her longtime boyfriend, actor Jason Sudeikis, to the set of her upcoming comedy.
“Mothers are incredible multitasking superheroes. I know how to communicate to several different people at the same time, to nurture people, to not allow myself to get overwhelmed,” she says. “And to never show fear. That is the one rule with toddlers. Never show fear. They will smell it.”
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In Hollywood where just 8 percent of movies are directed by women, “people have assumed that if you are a mother then you won’t be as reliable as a director, and that is crazy,” says Wilde. “I feel honestly that the most qualified people to direct are mothers!”
Directing the coming-of-age comedy about high school best friends Molly (Beanie Feldstein) and Amy (Kaitlyn Dever) has been a lifelong dream for Wilde, who has been acting for 17 years but always wanted to direct.
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“I feel like I’ve finally found my stride. I walk into a room differently because I know who I am and what I have to offer,” she says.
Wilde hopes to direct again as well as continue acting. Motherhood, she says, has made her feel like anything is possible.
“You think, ‘Wow, I made a human. Now I’m raising this human. What else can I do?’ It catapults you to a different level of success,” she says. “Plus, once you’ve changed a really dirty diaper at 35,000 feet in a tiny, cramped bathroom of an airplane, you can do pretty much anything.”
Booksmart opens May 24.