Hailee Steinfeld Has True Grit
By: Lynn Barker
Don’t you love when tween or teen girls are spunky, smart and can hold their own against guys five times their age? Introducing Mattie Ross – a horse-back-ridin’, bad-guy-fightin’ character in the new Western flick True Grit who’s played by 14-year-old Hailee Steinfeld. Check out our interview with Hailee and find out more about the movie!
Based on a 1960s novel that reads like The Twilight Saga or The Hunger Games, True Grit features Mattie Ross, a teen who’s determined to track down a hired hand named Chaney (Josh Brolin) who murdered her dad – and treat him to some good, ol’-fashioned Texas justice.
The movie’s directors searched far and wide for the perfect young girl to play Mattie. Now Kidzworld is with Hailee in Beverly Hills where her co-star, Jeff Bridges, tells us that, despite her tough character, the young actress “has got a very sweet side as well.”
Kidzworld: This is your first movie. What advice did the other actors give you that you took to heart?
- Hailee: I think the best advice that the actors have given me is to not take anything too seriously, but to have fun and, well, [she looks over at Jeff, who grins back] take it somewhat seriously, right? But just to have fun with things.
Kidzworld: Tell us about the dialogue in this movie, which is very unusual and old-fashioned…
- Hailee: When I first got the script that was the first thing that I really had to work on was making sure that I understood what everything meant and then I had to go back through and make sure that I understood what everything meant to me emotionally and how I could relate to it in my own life.
Kidzworld: You also have a strange accent…
- Hailee: With the accent, just getting on set and everyone talking in it, that happened naturally.
Kidzworld: What was the most fun thing about doing a Western?
- Hailee: The horseback riding was fun. I used to ride a couple of years ago, so to be able to pick back up on that, that was fun.
Kidzworld: Your scene with Josh Brolin, who plays bad guy Chaney, is really rough and scary. How did you prepare for that campfire scene with him?
- Hailee: Fifteen minutes after I met him for the first time we were rehearsing that and then he was on top of me with the knife to my neck. So it was kind of interesting! [Note: nothing bad happens.]
Kidzworld: Did you do your own stunts?
- Hailee: I did most of them, besides falling down the snake pit. That was the biggest stunt. I learned how to shoot a gun. Before I went on location that was one of the things that I wanted to make sure that I had a clue of what I was doing. So I had my dad take me to a shooting range with a friend of ours who’s an LAPD [police] officer and he kind of told me everything I needed to know.
Kidzworld: How was it being the only girl with all these dudes in the film?
- Hailee: That wasn’t bad [big grin]. They’re awesome, they’re amazing, and I was surrounded by women the entire time, too. Like the hair/makeup people and wardrobe. My mom was with me, my tutor, so I was surrounded by women the entire time, but I feel like all of the guys were like big kids so it was a lot of fun.
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