Why Hailee Steinfeld Isn't Intimidated By On-Screen Intimacy



HS-embedPhoto: Matt Baron/BEImages
Hailee Steinfeld is no acting newbie. The film star and budding style icon first popped up on the scene when she starred in True Grit, and received an Academy Award nom for her performance as Mattie Ross. Now, the 16-year-old is in the spotlight again for her moving and heartfelt portrayal of Juliet in the controversial new Romeo and Juliet adaptation, which hits theaters this Friday.

We sat her down for a little gossip and behind-the-scenes talk — and were pretty charmed by what we heard. Particularly since we heard she was actually reading the play in school as she was filming it. Extra credit, much?

We heard you had a say in choosing your Romeo? What was that process like?
"For me, for the story of Romeo and Juliet to be impactful, it has to be believable and there has to be a certain level of chemistry between the two characters. It was really exciting for me to be a part of that process and be able to weigh in and sort of have a say in casting the right actor, which I think we did."

Being so young, was it difficult to do some of the more intimate scenes?
"It’s so funny because I immediately think of when I shot my first film True Grit and met Josh Brolin, and literally fifteen minutes later he was on top of me with a knife to my neck. And that’s how it began. And with Romeo and Juliet, that’s kind of just how it happened — we got right into it."

Did you have to psych yourself up for it at all?
"It was so many people that were so passionate about the project and we were just willing to do whatever we could to make it work. And that’s what we did."

What draws you to do an adaptation like Romeo and Juliet?
"I am so honored to be a part of introducing this to this generation. I think it’s such an important story and it’s so relevant. And I think this generation will really respond to it, hopefully."