@haileesteinfeld #haileesteinfeld #pitchperfect
Hailee Steinfeld, 19, is the kind of girl who gets invitations to Tom Ford fashion shows. She’s a “Bad Blood” music-video-certified member of the #SwiftSquad. And she famously charmed on the red carpet at the Oscars when she was nominated for her role in True Grit at age 14.
But Steinfeld left her style instincts way, way off-screen for her filmThe Edge of Seventeen, a biting coming-of-age comedy from first-time feature director Kelly Fremon Craig that’s the closing gala of the Toronto International Film Festival on Saturday, before opening wide Nov. 18.
She plays Nadine, an awkward and angsty teen whose world goes from bleak to unbearable when her best (OK, only) friend starts dating her golden child brother (Everybody Wants Some’s Blake Jenner).
“I’ve learned to love the idea of playing a character that is further and further away from me,” she said over the phone this week, having swung into Toronto for an under-24-hour TIFF appearance in the midst of her other gig, as a fledgling pop star on tour with Meghan Trainor. “She wears things that I wouldn’t necessarily wear to the places she is wearing them to.”
She cites a shag-mullet mess of a wig she wears for a flashback as one example. “Putting that wig on was insane,” she says. “I was like, I’m going to hate this. But I put it on and thought, ‘It’s kind of sad how I look right now, but at the same time, I kind of love it.’”
The Vancouver-shot film, which co-stars Woody Harrelson as Nadine’s teacher and irritably unsympathetic shoulder to cry on, revels in that kind of so-ghastly-it’s-glorious tension. Take Nadine’s crush on a school bad-boy who works at Petland and her misguided fantasies of seducing him in the tropical fish aisle.
Her role as Emily in Pitch Perfect 2 aside, Steinfeld has largely played dramas, including her previous TIFF appearance for the civil war drama The Keeping Room. Her approach to the comedy, in which she appears in almost every scene, wasn’t much different.