Hailee Steinfeld Holds Her Own at Rambunctious Berlin Press Conference (Berlin)
BERLIN -- Josh Brolin lived up to his first name, Jeff Bridges played the dude and Hailee Steinfeld held her own amongst the men as the True Grit wagon rolled in ahead of its opening night gala at the Berlinale.
Brolin, joshing with the various members of the Berlinale press pack ahead of Thursday night's opening gala, lit up when a female journo from Brazil asked Steinfeld a lengthy question about how it had felt for her being surrounded by so many men.
"Sounds to me like you're the one who wanted to be there. Surrounded by all those men," Brolin growled with a grin. "That question seems to me to be more about you than about Hailee."
Steinfeld, a study in confident charm, noted that on set she had actually been surrounded by women behind the scenes. "It wasn't bad. Or anything," she said with precise timing.
Bridges jumped in, telling the room that Steinfeld had actually kept them all in line and had a curse pot for when the other actor's language got too salty. "I ran a tab with you," Bridges smiled. "I still owe a lot of money."
Brolin didn't miss out either. "She [Steinfeld] made a whole lot more money from that pot than she did from the movie," he said.
But it wasn't all jocular banter with writer/director team Joel and Ethan Coen spending much of the afternoon presser insisting that their big screen version -- which has 10 Oscar nominations including one for best picture -- was based on Charles Portis' novel and not the 1969 film of the same name.
Neither had paid any attention to that version, which starred John Wayne as the grizzled U.S. marshall Rooster Cogburn and corralled him an Oscar for his turn. Bridges is in the running to follow Wayne's lead, Oscar nod wise. Yes, both Coens had seen it back in the day as little boys but no they had never considered their movie a remake or an update.
Ethan Cohen said: "We didn't think of it as a remake of the old movie. We were enthusiastic about the novel that the film is based on. The other film version of the book was, to tell the truth, an irrelevancy for us."
Bridges said when the subject of his involvement first came up, he told the Coens he "didn't want to have to impersonate John Wayne." They sent him the book and Bridges was hooked, he said.
The 1969 movie continued to occupy journalists' minds but the attempt to light the fuse on the dynamic subject of whether or not anyone sided with Wayne's right wing politics were quickly snuffed out.
First up Bridges said he had never met Wayne but saw him as a reason for him becoming an actor.
Brolin took the opportunity to lighten the mood once more: "I did [meet and hang out with Wayne]. I spent a lot of time with him. Great guy, I loved his politics," he laughed, before pretending to type his response on the press conference table. "I know as journalists there is a necessity to compare the two versions but this is really not about John Wayne or his film."
For Steinfeld and her age group, it was a much simpler question to deal with. "I didn't know of him before I did this film," she said, succinctly.