Despite getting her start as a television host and “geek culture” personality, actress Olivia Munn has crossed over to the big leagues and proved she belongs there.
Although her first major gig as co-host of Attack of the Show! on the G4 network left Olivia Munn with a rather niche fan base, these days you can find Munn hobnobbing with Academy Award winners. After a stint as a correspondent on The Daily Show and a leading role on the NBC comedy Perfect Couples, Munn established that she was making a distinct career move, and landing the role of Sloan Sabbith on HBO’s The Newsroom has proved that she has not only the drive but also the acting chops to do it. In addition to the small screen, Munn can be seen alongside Eric Bana this month in the film Deliver Us From Evil. American Way caught up with the actress before she headed back to The Newsroom set to film the show’s third season.
American Way: What attracted you to the film Deliver Us From Evil?
Olivia Munn: If the actors are people I respect, and I admire their taste in movies, then I read the script because I know that if I take it, I’m in great company. Eric [Bana] and I got along so well, and it was so exciting to make a movie with people whose one intention was to just make a movie people will enjoy.
OM: I love breaking down [an Aaron] Sorkin script and unlocking the tone of the episode and finding out which big world event we are going to talk about. And I love portraying a woman who is unapologetic for who she is and is really great at her job.
AW: Is it true that before you were cast on the show, you put all your eggs in The Newsroom’s basket?
OM: Before Newsroom, I was in the very fortunate position where I was offered other shows — some of which are still on and doing well — but I said no. It was scary because I didn’t grow up with a lot of money, and it seems silly to turn down good money, but I decided I’d rather take the chance of not getting Sorkin than take one of the other jobs.
AW: What has been the biggest “I can’t believe this is my life” moment for you so far?
OM: I literally think that every day. … But the pinnacle for me was when I met Meryl Streep at an Academy Awards after-party. I just wanted to introduce myself, but she talked to me about my work on The Newsroom, and the fact that she’s seen my work and remembered it in any way — I just couldn’t believe it.