Elizabeth Olsen recently experienced something that had never happened to her: She was recognized by a stranger.

"It was really weird. I was walking in Tribeca and a guy just came up to me and said, 'I just saw the trailer for your movie, and I'm really looking forward to it,' and then he kept on walking," the young actress recalled.

Then she added uncertainly, "I hope he wasn't confusing me with someone else."

That she would find this exchange exciting might seem, well, really weird in its own right. Olsen, 22, is the younger sister of those Olsens, the tabloid fixtures Mary-Kate and Ashley. She has spent a lifetime watching her sisters being hounded by TMZ, pursued by autograph-seekers, roasted by late-night hosts. But she has avoided the limelight.

With her acclaimed turn in the challenging indie "Martha Marcy May Marlene," Olsen's anonymity won't last much longer. Director Sean Durkin recalls how Olsen arrived at her audition with four giant suitcases -- the accouterments of a frazzled college junior more than Hollywood royalty. Olsen had to move out of her apartment that day, and although she'd stashed some things with Mary-Kate, she was heading to another film set and was essentially homeless.

"When the audition was over, I was expecting some big dude to come in and carry her stuff," Durkin said. "But when I asked her, she's like 'Nope,' and threw some bags over her shoulder. There was something very vibrant and determined about her."

Growing up with famous siblings made it clear to Olsen that she wanted a different career: "They were trying to build a whole [fashion and brand] enterprise. And I was trying to be an actor."

But she didn't want to take roles "in small things, like direct-to-VHS movies." Instead, Olsen understudied for Broadway shows and even went to Moscow on a theater exchange program. It wasn't until she was an upperclassman at NYU that she began auditioning for films. So far, she's shot five independent films, including a comedy directed by actor/filmmaker Josh Radnor.

She did, however, audition for the Disney movie "Prom" and found herself laughing about it.

"I just couldn't take it seriously," she said.

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