Actress Olivia Thirlby is probably best recognized as Ellen Page's friend in Jason Reitman's critically acclaimed dramatic comedy “Juno” (2007). Commenting about her involvement in the film, she said, “I always hoped that I would be able to find some little place to be a part of the movie and I'm really happy I did.”
The stage trained performer is also known for playing roles in such movies as Paul Greengrass' “United 93” (2006), David Gordon Green's “Snow Angels” (2007) and Jonathan Levine's “The Wackness” (2008).
“The truth is that stage and film acting don't translate and they're completely different things. Altogether, just your entire approach to it is on the opposite end of the spectrum. If there's anything that Shakespeare has taught me most, it's to search the text for the answers.” Olivia Thirlby
Recently appearing in “Arlen Faber” (2009), Thirlby will also appear in “Safety Glass” (2009), “Margaret” (2009), “Breaking Upwards” (2009) and “Bored to Death” (2009, TV).
Childhood and Family:
Olivia Thirlby was born on October 6, 1986, in New York City, New York, to a construction worker. She was educated at Friends Seminary, a private school in Manhattan, where she became fascinated with classical Shakespearian acting. Olivia later trained at the American Globe Theatre in New York and the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London. She also took a stage combat course at the British Academy of Stage and Screen Combat.
Olivia Thirlby is known by the nickname Liv.
“When I was a teenager, I became really obsessed with old school hip-hop. Some of my favorite songs are on ‘The Wackness’ soundtrack.” Olivia Thirlby
Olivia Thirlby launched her cinematic career in 2006 when she landed the role of Nicole Carol Miller, a college student and victim of the September 11th hijackings, on the Paul Greengrass directed docudrama “United 93,” which was nominated for two Academy Awards, including Best Achievement in Directing. In order to bring her character to life, Olivia visited Miller's family, a meeting that was documented in the production documentary “United 93: The Families and the Film.” Also that year, Thirlby appeared as Abby in the 11-minute short “Unlocked,” for director Daryl Wein.
The talented actress next appeared in David Gordon Green's big screen adaptation of Stewart O'Nan's novel, “Snow Angels” (2007), which received a Grand Jury Prize Dramatic nomination at the Sundance Film Festival. Playing Lila Raybern, she held her own against big names like Kate Beckinsale and Sam Rockwell. Also during 2006 and 2007, Thirlby was seen on television playing Aubrey Cain in five episodes of the NBC short-lived drama “Kidnapped,” starring Jeremy Sisto.
However, Thirlby did not really earn much praise until she was cast as Leah, the pregnant best friend of Juno MacGuff (played by Ellen Page), in Jason Reitman's comedy “Juno” (2007). The film was nominated for four Oscars, including Best Motion Picture of the Year and Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role and won Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen. The film's success at the Academy Awards opened Thirlby's doors to star in more prominent projects.
Still in 2007, Thirlby portrayed Sylvia in Jan Schütte's “Love Comes Lately,” which debuted at the Toronto Film Festival on September 9, 2007, and costarred with Lili Taylor and David Duchovny in actor Vincent Perez's feature directorial debut, “Si j'étais toi/The Secret.” The supernatural thriller hit the United States in August 2008 on DVD format.
Thirlby's first major film after “Juno” was “The Wackness” (2008), a Sundance screened drama written and directed by Jonathan Levine. In the movie, Olivia played the important role of Stephanie, opposite Ben Kingsley as Dr. Squires, Josh Peck as Luke Shapiro and Famke Janssen as Kristin Squires. After taking part in Natalie Portman's short film “Eve” (2008), which also starred Lauren Bacall, she teamed up with Kevin Bacon, Orlando Bloom, James Caan, Andy Garcia, and Ethan Hawke in “New York, I Love You” (2008), which debuted at the Toronto Film Festival on September 6, 2008. Her next film, “Uncertainty” (2008), which was written and directed by Scott McGehee and David Siegel, was shown at the Toronto Film Festival on September 8, 2008.
Recently, Thirlby appeared in the Jeff Daniels vehicle “Arlen Faber” (2009), directed and scripted by John Hindman. The film was nominated for a Grand Jury Prize-Dramatic at the Sundance Film Festival. She has also completed filming “Safety Glass” (2009), in which she stars with Hilary Duff and her “The Wackness” costar Josh Peck. Thirlby will also costar with Anna Paquin, Matt Damon, Mark Ruffalo, Matthew Broderick and Jean Reno in Kenneth Lonergan's drama “Margaret” (2009) and play the supporting role of Erika in the romantic film “Breaking Upwards” (2009), opposite Daryl Wein and Zoe Lister Jones, who also directed and co-wrote the script, respectively. On television, Thirlby is set to star as Suzanne in director Alan Taylor's television movie “Bored to Death” (2009). Her costars in the drama include Jason Schwartzman, Ted Danson and Zach Galifianakis.