Hailee Steinfeld stars alongside Matt Damon and Jeff Bridges in True Grit, a western out this weekend. J-14 sat down with this star on the rise to chat about how she got her start, snagging her lead role, and her run in with Lea Michele!
J-14: How did you get into acting? Hailee Steinfeld: I was 8 when I went to my mom and told her I wanted to start acting. She told me I could if I studied for a year. Before, I had tried everything - every dance, every sport, but nothing really stuck. She made me study acting for a year to make sure I would stay consistent. The year flew by and then we got an agent. We've been taking it from there.
J-14: How did you snag your role in True Grit? Hailee: I didn't attend an open call. I auditioned very late in the audition process and was put on tape for the director. Two weeks later, I went back to read with Jeff Bridges. It was pretty incredible. It was a great experience then. After three auditions, which was short but long, I got the part.
J-14: How do you deal with auditions? Hailee: The attitude I went in with this was different. With this, it was something I really felt deep down that I was extremely prepared and ready for. For auditions I go in there normally pretty confident and that's what I was for this.
J-14: What do you do when you aren't working? Hailee: I love to hang out with my friends and go to the movies. My mom and I are involved in the Mother/Daughter Organization -- national charity work. Whenever I get free time, we volunteer. It's an organization so mothers and daughters can spend time together while volunteering.
J-14: Have you ever had an embarrassing moment? Hailee: When I was auditioning for True Grit, I was on the Paramount lot. I was wearing clothes from the 1800s that were big and uncomfortable. Glee also films on the lot and I love the show, but I haven't really followed it. I saw Lea Michele just walking to her trailer and I was like, "That's the girl from Glee. I've got to go ask for her autograph!" So I walked up to her and asked for her autograph, but she walked by and a guy came and said, "Sorry, now's not a good time!" So I had to walk all the way back to the car wearing what I was wearing. I was practically crying on the way home. I was so sad! But she's beautiful and she has an amazing voice.
Photo: Rachel Sheehan