SAG Nominee Hailee Steinfeld of 'True Grit': 'It's Just So Weird!'
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."
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Scott, whose THR coverage appears both in print and online, is one of the film industry's most experienced and trusted awards analysts, and possesses one of the strongest track records at forecasting the Oscars. His best showings came in 2006 (when he called 21 of 24 winners) and 2004 (when he called 20 of 24 winners); he was also the only pundit to project long-shot best picture nominations for The Reader (2008), The Blind Side (2009) and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (2011). An alumnus of Brandeis University, he previously ran "The Feinberg Files" blog for the Los Angeles Times. He is now a voting member of both the Broadcast Film Critics Association and the Broadcast Television Journalists Association, and is writing a book about film history for young people for which he has interviewed more than 350 high-profile Hollywood figures.
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