Is “Romeo & Juliet” the second movie that Hailee Steinfeld has done?
—Eric Bush, Carson City, Nevada
Despite her youth, Hailee Steinfeld, 16, has acted in seven films since her Oscar-nominated, motion picture debut performance in “True Grit,” with two more to come.
This fall, Steinfeld has been seen in “Romeo & Juliet,” in which she played the lead role with Douglas Booth as her star-crossed lover Romeo. Then she went from the past into the future for “Ender’s Game.”
Steinfeld was attracted to both roles because she saw both Juliet and Petra, her character in “Ender’s Game,” as strong, independent women, similar in that quality to her headstrong character in “True Grit,” but also completely different in other ways.
Interestingly, the Tarzana, California-born actress was studying the Shakespeare play in school at the same time she was starring as the teenage Capulet. “I think what’s so beautiful about the story is that Juliet doesn’t really know what she wants until she doesn’t have it,” Steineld says. “That’s like most of us in some situations. You really see her fight for what she loves. She does what she can to get to what she wants to get to.”
As for “Ender’s Game,” the film is 180 degrees from the Shakespearean tragedy. It is the story of an unusually gifted child [Ender, played by Asa Butterfield], who 70 years after a horrific alien war, is sent to an advanced military school in space to prepare for a future invasion. Petra is one of the few girls in the battle school, and the only one who makes it into the army.
“She’s constantly looking to maintain the respect from the guy’s around her,” Steinfeld says of her character. “When she meets Ender, there’s this really truthful connection between the two of them that comes from trying to find their place.”
As for the other five films, this past summer, Steinfeld’s “Hateship, Friendship” and “Can a Song Save Your Life?” premiered at the Toronto Film Festival, and are awaiting release dates, while upcoming for her in 2014 are “Three Days to Kill,” “The Keeping Room” and “The Homesman.”
Recently cast to star in “Barely Lethal” and “For the Dogs,” Steinfeld, who began acting at the age of 8, will soon have nine films to her credit, following her highly praised performance in “True Grit.”