Hailee Steinfeld On Makeovers & Paparazzi Stalkers

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1Photo: Everett Collection/RexUSA.
This month's action flick 3 Days To Kill is getting a lot of attention thanks to stars Kevin Costner and Amber Heard. But, in our opinion, Hailee Steinfeld stole the show as angsty-yet-somehow-adorable teen Zoey. After all, anyone who can school Costner onscreen deserves major props, right? Of course, Steinfeld is no stranger to sharing camera time with major A-listers — this is the girl who started off her career opposite Jeff Bridges, Josh Brolin, and Matt Damon, after all.

We've been totally enraptured with the young actress for a while now thanks to her impressive turns in flicks like Romeo & Juliet, and her BFF status with Taylor Swift doesn't hurt either. We hopped on the phone to chat with the bubbly brunette during a break from filming the new drama Ten Thousand Saints to get the lowdown on, well, everything.

Are you at Fashion Week right now?
"I'm in New York — I'm actually working on a film here so conveniently I've attended a few shows."

What's been your favorite moment so far?
"I went to Prabal Gurung on Saturday. Wait, was it Saturday? I don't even know what day it is today. I thought the show was amazing. I really enjoyed it. Last night I went to the Miu Miu party and had so much fun."

In this movie, Kevin Costner plays your dad as he tries to redeem himself after a lifetime of bad decisions and bad parenting. Do you think that you personally would be able to forgive him or even want a relationship at that point?
"That's such an interesting question. I think something like that requires so much time to think. Initially you want to forgive and forget and move on and learn to love that person. But then part of you has this thing that has been held against you your whole life and you're not ready to give that up.

But, I think the beautiful thing in this movie is that you can see that my character, Zoey, is not willing to give it up right away but you know that she wants to. And, she does when she's ready. For me, I would take a similar approach, which is to take my time with it and not jump right back into things — but, also not continue the way that things have been. It's important to love and to forget. Life is too short."

Zoey kind of acts out a bit, which is totally understandable given what she's going through. But, it's interesting for you because compared to actors and actresses in your age group you've been so controversy-free. What kind of advice would you offer?
"Well, thank you first of all! It's interesting playing that part. You realize that the reason that Zoey acts out is because of a situation that is so much deeper than the audience may think. And, sometimes people don't understand why or where those feelings are coming from. In this movie, she acts out because she wants to be reprimanded by a parent and she wants to know that someone cares.

I would just say that in most situations it's the kind of thing you have to figure out on your own. But, just know that there's so many people out there that love you — and you may not see it because you don't know what they're going through necessarily. So, having a high self-esteem — and knowing that you're loved — and loving yourself is important."

Amber [Heard] and Kevin [Costner] have talked about all of the cool stunt work that happens in this movie. You didn't get to really get in on that, but have you done that with any other movies?
"It's funny, with this film I didn't have any stunts or action-oriented scenes myself. But, it was fun seeing the movie for the first time because I felt like the first half of it I had no idea we were in the same movie [laughs]. But, I recently did a film called Barely Lethal where I was able to do almost 100% of my own stunts. There was a driving scene with a car chase and I did some of that and it was very fun. It was a really exciting experience."

You started your career very young, but you went straight to the big leagues instead of having a Disney phase or something similar. Do you still feel pressure to prove yourself as you age?
"I don't necessarily feel pressure; I do compete with myself a lot. I always try and progress and learn more and become better at what I do as I get older and as I experience working on all these different films with all these extremely talented people. I mean, the pressure is definitely out there but I don't feel it personally. I think if I did I would go crazy."

Reinventing yourself seems to be a theme in Young Hollywood, whether it's taking on a controversial movie or shaving your head. Have you ever been tempted to do anything on that level?
"Not necessarily. Because I have such long hair and everybody's cutting their hair off right now, people always ask me if I'm going to cut my hair off. I'm waiting until the day that someone tells me I have to [laughs]. But, I cut bangs a couple months ago and that was a really big thing for me so that set me for a while. Personally, I don't really think about doing anything that drastic — at least as of right now. But, I think that's what's exciting about playing all these different roles that require a haircut or a different hair color or any difference in appearance."

As you're in the spotlight with red carpets and paparazzi, do you find yourself getting more and more comfortable with yourself or do you start to worry about what you look like more?
"Well, I guess I don't really feel that way. I luckily don't have paparazzi a lot, you know? The funny thing about the idea of paparazzi or any of that is you feel like you have to change and get dressed up or whatever — that's your initial feeling. But, if you're gonna go out to the market in sweats and a hat and no makeup, I don't feel like you should change for anybody. But, you know, that's just how I feel. But, then again, I might throw makeup on if I knew that was gonna happen — just to be prepared. It's a funny thing, and it's a thing that just happens to be a part of this world. It is what it is."

What's the weirdest place you've been tracked down by paparazzi?
"I actually had an experience where I was at the mall with my mom and we were walking through the parking lot and we couldn't find the car. We were talking and laughing and all of a sudden we realized we had no idea where we were. We didn't know where we were walking and we didn't know where the car was. And then all of a sudden there was this guy with a giant camera and he was like, 'Oh, your car's right over here!' And he completely directed us to where our car was. That was just so bizarre and so weird. But, you know, it happens when you least expect it is what they say."