For a little framework, let's use our five seriousest actresses of the moment, the ladies currently nominated for Oscars. So you've got period yelling (Angelina Jolie), drug addiction (Anne Hathaway), dangerous poverty (Melissa Leo), Nazis! (Kate Winslet), and tough moral dilemmas (Meryl Streep). How will the "social" make these kinds of roles her own?
Olivia as Angelina
She's probably too young to play the mother to a mysterious Changeling, but Livs probably would look nice done up in 1920's garb. You know, the little pasta shell hats and pencil skirts. Let's say that she plays a young secretary, moved down to the big city from further Uptown in the same big city, who has a wicked and dastardly cousin that she must support. Set against the backdrop of speakeasies (booze! jazz!), the film takes a dour turn when the cousin—he's awful, but she loves him—is snatched by some Chinese gangsters whose opium he's stolen. As Olivia works against the clock to save her cousin (there's a lot of crumbly-faced bellowing), she falls in love with a young upstart PI. His name is Detective Dick Gumshoe, and he's played by the Male Model from The City. At the very end of the story, Olivia rescues her cousin but then is tragically mowed down by a Chinaman's Tommy Gun.
Olivia as Anne
In the sequel to Rachel Getting Married, titled Rachel Getting Married: Beta House, Olivia plays a young woman struggling to overcome the ghosts and shattered glass left in the wake of her fancy champagne addiction. It's a hand-held, shaky-camera affair and done with very little makeup. At times you can sort of tell that it's just Olivia in her Tribeca apartment walking around and mumbling, getting drunker and drunker, while Cousin Jub-Jub films. But it's no matter to them. They'll send it to Sundance and show up wearing their best enormous furry boots and will forget to go to their own screening. Those that did remember will be mostly confused, but will be happy when, at the very end of the film, Olivia's drunken character drowns in a Chuck E. Cheez ball pit.
Olivia as Melissa
Too unwilling to go somewhere horrible where there is an actual Frozen River, Olivia will want to film her story of a down-on-her-luck young woman who's forced into immigrant smuggling in sunny Florida. Mostly her character will sit in a deckchair at a marina and watch boats come in from Havana. She'll lower her sunglasses and lazily drawl "heyyy guys... I'm so poor." To get into the grizzled, crinkly look of the character, Olivia will have her makeup artist apply two small age lines under her eyes. Cousin Jub-Jub will call her "so brave" and give her the Best Actress award he made out of soap, cat hair, and Munchos potato chips while on a 79-hour meth bender. The most poignant part of Dirty Dancing: Havana Flights will be the very end, when a languid, drawling Olivia rolls off the marina in her stuporous half-sleep and is chopped up by a Cuban refugee shanty ship's propeller, like a common manatee.
Olivia as Kate
Olivia, not much of a Reader, doesn't know much about the Holocaust. So she'll sign up to play someone named "Eva Braun" in a new Darren Aronofsky-directed biopic of Adolf Hitler. Actually, the performance will be rather convincing and she'll earn a Golden Globe nomination. Olivia's secret will be that she hadn't realized they'd started filming half the time. The audience at Cannes, where the film wins the coveted Palme d'Or, will clap loudly when, at the very end, Eva is suicided by sad old Adolf. Cousin Jub-Jub will call it, in his new entertainment magazine called Movies! (and Shows), "the best Vietnam film since M*A*S*H."
Olivia as Meryl
Looking to showcase that, beyond a Doubt, she is also a singer and wanting to have some touch religio-ethical toughies to muddle, Olivia will strong arm her way into a remake of Yentl. As the young, gender-conflicted lady Jew, Olivia will display keen ears and eyes for parody, and the film will be a modest success in the tradition of Zucker or Brooks movies. That Olivia meant the film to be Serious will remain a wicked secret until, on a yacht somewhere that belongs to someone he doesn't know, Cousin Jub-Jub will spill the beans and later repost it on his new showbiz blog, What I Think About You (And Movies): The Jub-Jub Report. People won't care though. They'll still always love the movie, if only for the scene, at the very end, when during an encore of "Papa Can You Hear Me," Olivia's character chokes on a blintz and falls over dead.