×

Hailee Steinfeld: ‘True’ story

Youth Impact Report 2010: Up Next

Landing the role of “True Grit’s” Mattie Ross took some perseverance for 13-year-old newcomer and virtual unknown Hailee Steinfeld. First, the Los Angeles-based teen made the requisite video pitch (as did some 15,000 other hopefuls in the nationwide search for one of the most coveted young actress roles of the year). In preparation for her audition with casting director Ellen Chenoweth, she memorized 15 pages of sides; at her callback she read another 25 pages of sides for helmers Joel and Ethan Coen while thesp Jeff Bridges sat in. Despite the pressure, she believes that being dressed in character — wearing an old-fashioned long skirt and buttoned-up ruffled shirt — helped her confidence.

And after the down-to-the-wire audition, Steinfeld’s film career got a major jump-start. “I read on a Saturday, got the call on Tuesday, and then I left a week later, got to the set and started filming,” explains Steinfeld, who lauds co-stars Bridges, Matt Damon and Josh Brolin for helping her feel comfortable on set.

Although Steinfeld has studied acting since age 9, “True Grit” is her feature debut. Since the production, she’s shot a Nickelodeon pilot, “Summer Camp,” and a guest spot on short-lived Fox sitcom “Sons of Tucson.”

Popular on Variety

More Voices

  • Barry Bill Hader

    Emmys 2019: Clear Favorites and Top Challengers for This Year's Winners (Column)

    If this felt like the longest, most expensive Emmy campaign in history, you might be right. For one thing, the 2019 Primetime Emmys will be held Sept. 22, which is the latest the ceremony has taken place since 2013. That also happened to be the last year of TV’s quaint, pre-streaming era, before outlets like [...]

  • Fleabag Succession Emmys

    Could 'Fleabag' and 'Succession' Be Spoilers on Emmy Night? (Column)

    At the onset, this year’s Emmy Awards felt a bit anticlimactic, as the final seasons of “Game of Thrones” and “Veep” appeared to have this year’s drama and comedy categories locked up before campaigning even began. But that’s how upsets happen: Just when we’re pretty confident about how things might go, a couple of wild [...]

  • Climate Mobilization

    Marshall Herskovitz: Why the Climate Crisis Needs Movie Marketing-Style Muscle

     I’ve lived inside the climate-communications conundrum for 20 years, working with scientists, academics and activists to find ways to convince Americans that something they couldn’t see or feel was nevertheless a looming catastrophe worth upending their lives to fight. Now the climate crisis is undeniable, and we are finally seeing the beginnings of concerted action. [...]

  • Renée Zellweger, Adam Driver Gain Oscar

    Telluride: Oscar Buzz Builds For Renée Zellweger, Adam Driver and 'The Two Popes'

    This year’s Telluride Film Festival began on Thursday with the Guest/Patron Brunch on a private estate about a 30-minute drive from the center of town. Eggs, bacon and fruit salad were being served as the sun was shining on Martin Scorsese, Adam Driver, Noah Baumbach, Laura Dern, Eddie Redmayne, Felicity Jones, Ken Burns, Ric Burns, [...]

  • Fernando Meirelles The Two Popes

    Telluride: Audience Laughs and Cries During 'The Two Popes' World Premiere

    Little did the audience at the world premiere of “The Two Popes” know that the papal two-hander is actually very funny. No, it’s not a comedy, but the jokes and ribbing between Pope Benedict XVI (Anthony Hopkins) and the future pope, Cardinal Bergoglio (Jonathan Pryce), played well in the packed Chuck Jones’ Cinema, as did [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content