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DEC
16
4 YEARS

SAG Nominee Hailee Steinfeld of 'True Grit': 'It's Just So Weird!'

True Grit
Lorey Sebastian/Paramount Pictures

True Grit star Hailee Steinfeld, who earned a Screen Actors Guild nom for supporting actress today, is thrilled, shocked, totally focused and glad she listened to her mom.

"I feel great -- it's just so weird!," says Steinfeld. "'Because I had a 200-day countdown to the premiere [Wednesday night], and my birthday was last week, and I'm so stuck in the moment. I just feel like it's all happening so quick! My mom has always told me it's all about being prepared for when the moment arrives, and I was super prepared. When I went into the audition, I was in the room for probably 25 minutes. I was dressed in character, I was in character. I really do feel that my vision, I guess you'd call it, clicked with Joel and Ethan [Coen, the directors]. I think back to the day I was sitting in my room waiting for a call, thinking, 'Whoever gets this job is like winning the lottery.'"

"When I first started working, I was so in awe -- I'm doing a scene with Matt Damon, Jeff Bridges, Josh Brolin! I was never intimidated." The toughest scene for her to nail was at the end, when her character has an intense emotional turning point. "I had a hard time, and they [Bridges and the Coens] helped me get to a level 10. They would basically hold me down before the scene. Jeff would kind of pin me down, and while we're rolling, they'd say Action! and that got me ready for that."

Steinfeld saw the original True Grit, but not the Coens' oeuvre. "I'm not allowed to see most of them. No, because they're rated R. My parents see them first. I saw Fargo, that was good, a little bit of No Country, but I didn't see the whole thing." She giggles. "I saw Big Lebowski [another giggle]. Raising Arizona is probably my favorite."

"I'm so blessed. Honestly, it's great to think that all these people [SAG members] I aspire to and look up to have honored me for doing something I love."

Steinfeld said "honestly" six times in our brief chat. She's the only person I've talked to in Hollywood who, when saying "honestly," actually appears not to be lying. Did she feel bad that True Grit got dissed and shut out at the Golden Globes on Tuesday? "Honestly, I have to say I haven't really thought about it at all."