Hailee Steinfeld was thrust into the spotlight thanks to her breakthrough role as Mattie Ross in 2010's True Grit. The talented young actress received her first Oscar nomination for the part, and since then Steinfeld has steadily worked in both big-budget and independent films.
Her most recent movie, The Edge of Seventeen, deals with the harsh realities of adolescence and all the hilarious and painstaking emotional traumas that come with being in high school. Don't be fooled by the subject matter, though. The Edge of Seventeen isn't another film of about teen angst and eye-roll inducing stereotypes.
In fact, Steinfeld's character, Nadine Byrd, is an unfiltered mess who speaks sarcasm like it's her second language. Although life's been tough for Nadine, she certainly doesn't make things easy for herself. The strongest aspect of the movie centers around a very tender and important bond between Nadine and her best friend, Krista. What happens when the person closest to you starts dating your older, much more popular brother? Is there a way to mend a friendship that once meant everything to you? These are some of the things that Nadine attempts to sort through in The Edge of Seventeen.
We sat down with the very talented actress for a one-on-one interview and chatted abut her love for acting, Drake, and carbs. Steinfeld also shared some hilarious tidbits during a game of Would You Rather, and pretty much proved that she's the coolest 19-year-old on the planet.
Do you think Nadine's character defies the conventional manner in which teenagers are so often presented in movies and television?
I really think she does in the best way possible—in not saying it's ever been done in a wrong way. This is just a different interpretation. It's a real, honest interpretation of what being a teenager feels like today without any superficial elements or fairytale endings. It's just real.
If you could give advice to your younger self (even though you're still very young), what would it be?
Um, damn! I guess I would say that a lot of the times I feel like what we need to hear is not always what we want to hear. So that one piece of advice we often here is that everything's going to be okay and tomorrow's a new day—that this is just a moment in time and it will pass. As great as that is, it would be more helpful to say: Look, the next couple of years are going to be hard and this is the time in your life when you're meant to figure out a lot about yourself—not necessarily the easy way. And just give it to myself straight and know that I'm walking into life. Because life is messy and life isn't perfect, but there's no reason why we can't thrive and do our best and be confident and have fun. That does come with a lot of conflict sometimes. I mean, I'm still figuring out my life and who I am and what I'm doing. And that's just part of life.
What was your favorite behind-the-scenes moment during filming?
Oh god, favorite behind-the-scenes moment? Just the constant laughter between everyone in between every take. This was such a lighthearted set to be on, and though there were some scenes that we filmed that were on the heavier side of things, it was just pure fun. Everybody who was a part of this project was so passionate, happy, and hardworking. That's why we got a lot of great conversations and good laughs.
The Edge of Seventeen has a bit of a John Hughes' vibe, especially in the way that it represents teenagers. What's your favorite movie about teenagers?
Well, The Breakfast Club is one of them. Sixteen Candles, Say Anything, Clueless, Mean Girls, and Perks of Being a Wallflower being the most recent one. I feel like those are real coming-of-age stories. They all feel real, like they could be our own story.
You basically exploded on the music scene over the past year, and also mixed your acting and singing talents in Pitch Perfect 2. Can you tell us anything about Pitch Perfect 3 since everything about it is being kept on the down low?
I haven't heard anything, to be completely honest. It is happening very soon—hopefully in the new year and we'll kick off. We're all very excited. I love both acting and singing so, so much and I'm the happiest when I get to do them at the same time. And, I would love to get the opportunity to do another film like Pitch Perfect 2 that's not Pitch Perfect 3.
What about Broadway?
That would be the ultimate challenge for me as an actor, and I would be more than willing to take one on. Yeah, that would be insane! One of my favorite things to do is see shows on Broadway.
What was the last one you saw?
If you could collaborate with any musician in the future, who would it be?
Oh my god! (slight pause)
You have to pick one.
Oh my god! (pause) I'd love to collaborate with Drake. That would be incredible.
And Now a Game of Would You Rather Featuring Hailee Steinfeld.
Would you rather spend the day with Harry Potter or Captain America?
Oh, Harry Potter.
Would you rather speak like a pirate for the rest of your life or dress like a pirate for the rest of your life?
Oh, wow! Speak like one or dress like one?
Forever? (adorable wailing sounds) Maybe, maybe. . .oh god! Oh, I don't know. I'm trying to figure out a way out of this. What would you do?
I would probably dress like a pirate.
Right? Cuz you could probably kinda, sort of make it somewhat cool. Okay, I like it. That's what I was going for.
Would you rather be able to speak every language in the world or play every instrument?
Play every instrument. Music is the universal language.
Would you rather live in space or under the sea?
Under the sea.
Would you rather be Drake's therapist or Beyonce's back-up dancer?
(Laughs) Woah! Drake's therapist! Oh, I don't know if I can deal with those problems. I'd be Beyonce's back-up dancer.
Would you rather shave your head or your eyebrows?
My. . .head. Wigs for days.
Would you rather have a photographic memory or be able to forget anything you want?
Definitely photographic memory.
Would you rather be a super-villain or a superhero?
Superhero. One that was an original.
Would you rather give up chocolate or bread for the rest of your life?
Oh, wow. Really?
I can do without chocolate, but I can't do without bread. Think about sandwiches, think about bagels.
But what about brownies and cookies and cake?
Oh, shoot. Wow, I take that back. Oh my god, white chocolate! I love white chocolate. Yeah, I could do without bread.
Would you rather travel back in time or to the future?
Hmm, travel back in time or to the future (brief pause). Back in time.
Would you rather guest star on Game of Thrones or The Walking Dead?
Game of Thrones.
Who's your favorite character?
Sansa Stark, of course!
The Edge of Seventeen hits theaters on Nov. 18.