“With Woody and I, we had such a great witty banter, just the two of us,” Steinfeld says, laughing. “There’s got to be at least 20 minutes of blooper material of us just breaking. He really is one of the coolest human beings I’ve ever met.”
The Edge of Seventeen (out Nov. 18) finds the 19-year-old Steinfeld in the halls of high school, marking a bit of a departure after hunting down her father’s murderer in True Grit, tackling fierce a capella rivalries in Pitch Perfect 2, and topping the charts with her own pop music career.
Ahead of The Edge of Seventeen’s premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival in September, we talked to Steinfeld about tackling Craig’s complicated heroine and her own cringe-worthy memories from childhood.
So what was it about Nadine’s story that really hooked you and made you want to be a part of this?
It was the idea that even though I didn’t go to a physical high school — I was homeschooled — I still experienced and have experienced and am experiencing so much of what this character is going through. I think sometimes, I’ve been in situations before where either people my age or people a few years older than me will think that I’ve bypassed all of the high school drama, just because I wasn’t in it. And that’s so untrue. I’ve experienced so many things, just in a different world or on a different level, and I’ve realized that there are things that people experience regardless of who they are or where they’re from or what school they went to, if they went to school. It’s just growing up, and it’s being a teenager, and it’s finding your place in this world. And to be able to express so much of what I’ve gone through, that people thought I hadn’t, through this character, that was what really hooked me.
There’s something so universal about coming-of-age stories. Was there anything specific about Nadine’s story that you really connected with or related to?
I remember there was one party scene, where I walk in, and my brother and my best friend are hitting it off with people, and they’re having a great time. And I’m not having a bad time; I’m just feeling a little awkward and trying to talk myself into not feeling awkward. But for whatever reason, something’s holding me back. And I’ve had so many of those moments, where they’ve taken place on a movie set where everybody kind of has their niche and they’ve found their groove, and I’m like, I don’t know how to make myself not look awkward right now. Because I feel very uncomfortable. I’ve had them at high school parties. I mean, I was in school up until the sixth grade, and I even had them then.