Coco Flaming; Bettina Lewin


Even with her star on the rise, The Incredible Burt Wonderstone's Olivia Wilde remains remarkably — refreshingly — down to earth.  

She’s very cool,” says the bellman at the landmark Hotel Eden in Rome when referring to the subject of this particular story.

He laughs and says through a crooked grin, “Very … normal.” Clearly, this young porter in the dark-green uniform has not done his homework.

Doesn’t he know? She’s anything but normal. At least that’s the at-a-glance Olivia Wilde, the version conjured up by the CliffsNotes recitation of her press clippings, which, much to her amusement, always seem to include variations on tidbits such as “sent to bed by Mick Jagger as a child,” “Christopher Hitchens was her baby-sitter,” and “married on a funky, abandoned school bus.”

Then, there are these highlights: She appeared on four TV series and in half of them got attention for kissing other women. She has starred opposite Han Solo and James Bond in a film about an alien invasion set in the Wild West. She appeared alongside “The Dude” in his renewed efforts to sabotage the Master Control Program in that TRON sequel.

Wilde in the sci-fi western Cowboys & Aliens.
Everett Collection
The actress’ dual-citizenship lineage (American and Irish) consists of famous journalist parents, grandparents and uncles known for their influential works and famous friends (including, yes, Mick Jagger — who did tell a 3-year-old Olivia to go to bed when she interrupted­ a dinner party her parents were hosting and asked Jagger to vacate her seat — and Christopher Hitchens, who briefly lived with her parents, Leslie and Andrew ­Cockburn). She makes and stars in documentaries about empowering the disenfranchised and enriching the impoverished in faraway places. She uses her ­Twitter account to dispatch to her 775,000-plus (at press time) followers information on her do-gooding initiatives (among them, New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof and his ­Pulitzer Prize–winning wife, Sheryl WuDunn’s, Half the Sky Movement, aimed at putting “an end to the oppression of women and girls worldwide”).

Wilde was, until recently, married to the son of an Italian prince (the funky, abandoned-school-bus anecdote is true — it was the only place the young lovebirds could carry out their private ceremony) and now is engaged to longtime Saturday Night Live cast member Jason Sudeikis. She confirmed the news on Twitter in mid-January: “Thanks for all the sweet congratulatory love, friends! And may I compliment your savvy use of that nifty engagement ring emoticon.”

You may not know her name; she is, by her admission, still best known as “Oh, Yeah, That Girl.” But the face you know; the eyes have it. A journalist profiling Wilde in 2007 wrote that she “possesses the throaty voice and wide, teal-eyed charisma of Hollywood in the days of yore.” And, as a quick Google search will reveal, the Internet strains beneath the weight of pinup JPEGs featuring Wilde, who will turn 29 this month, in various seductive poses.