But Burt Wonderstone isn’t the most anticipated of Wilde’s SXSW offerings. That would be Drinking Buddies from writer-director Joe Swanberg, who’s as much a SXSW regular as morning-after hangovers. Wilde and The New Girl’s Jake Johnson play Chicago brewery employees whose judgment gets a little hazy ’round beer-thirty during one long-shift weekend.
During this long afternoon spent together in Rome, Wilde keeps coming back to Drinking Buddies; one quickly gets the impression it’s something of which she’s quite proud. She spends a long time, for instance, detailing a protracted fight scene with Johnson — something she says grew so ugly and hateful that Johnson called her later that night just to make sure, ya know, they were still cool.
“Did I mention? We improvised the whole film,” Wilde says. “To go into something like that is scary.”
For now, Wilde figures, she’s best known as Thirteen, a doc on Fox’s House, M.D. It played around the globe, because doc dramas play anywhere, Wilde says. “It’s the universal experience of medicine, of confrontation, of mortality.” She also says, with a small laugh, that “it was the only show that was as popular with Democrats as Republicans,” at least according to the polls she quotes.
“Unfortunately,” she says, “my character’s name was also a number, so I answer to that number, which people sometimes say just because they’re counting.”
After that, people most recognize her from TRON: Legacy, she guesses. Which leads into a brief conversation about Jeff Bridges: “God, he’s the coolest.” She gets that far-off look. “I’ve gotten to work with some of the coolest people. I feel really lucky. I was thinking about that this morning.” And, yes, the list is long: Harrison Ford, Dennis
Quaid, Daniel Craig, Steve Buscemi, Alan Arkin, Jeff “The Dude” Bridges, Justin Timberlake, President Obama.
After talk enough to fill three months’ worth of this particular publication, Wilde excuses herself from the table. The bartender comes over with the check. He watches her walk off, then turns back with a broad smile plastered across his bespectacled face.
“She’s regular,” he says, through a thick Italian accent.
“Yes? Is that the word? Maybe … boring.” He laughs, certain that’s not it, either.
Boring? No. Real? Absolutely.
Robert Wilonsky is the digital managing editor for The Dallas Morning News. His father, Herschel, is a very big Olivia Wilde fan.
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