Exclusive interview with Hailee Steinfeld of “The Edge of Seventeen”

“The Edge of Seventeen” is a coming-of-age film that offers a candid view of how teenagers grow up in modern society. The movie focuses on the life of Nadine (Hailee Steinfeld), a high school student who finds out that her best friend, Krista (Haley Lu Richardson), is dating her brother, Darian (Blake Jenner). Featuring Woody Harrelson as Nadine’s teacher and Kyra Sedgwick as Nadine’s mother, the all-star cast tells an original, exciting story. The Circuit’s Arts & Ent. Editor Rachel Schonberger participated in a one-on-on interview with Oscar nominee Hailee Steinfeld at the Mandarin Oriental in Miami on Oct. 26.

 

So I loved the movie, first of all. We saw Nadine go through a lot, so many funny scenes at the beginning and then the way darker scenes. Do you prefer one or the others?

Well, it’s always a lot nicer to go to work in the morning and have to laugh rather than cry your eyes out, but I really love the challenge of one day being one and the next day being the other. I think that every scene in this movie was a challenge for me, whether it was a rather happy scene or a not so happy scene, and I loved doing both. Like you said, she makes a great transition from the beginning to the middle, from the middle to the end, and there’s so much that she goes through, and being able to emote and express all of that was pretty cool.

I’m 16, and I felt like it was a very relatable movie for people my age. What do you think there is about it that separates it from other teenage movies?

Well, I hope you can help me answer this. I kind of feel like this movie does being a teenager justice in such a real and honest way. I mean this movie captures that moment from the minute we wake up to where we have to think about that we have to ride our bike to school, and we have to show up and act like we’re not alone, because that’s what the case is. We’re going to have to ride a bus with a bunch of people or show up in our mom’s car that’s not the coolest. From that moment to the complete end of the day, every single [moment], and I feel like in moments we’ll feel every emotion there is to feel in that one specific situation, and this movie captures that in such a real and honest way.

Were there any scenes in particular that you were excited about filming?

There were a lot. One of my favorite scenes in the movie is between Nadine and her brother Darian up on the staircase after they’ve sort of been through everything and realize that they’ve kind of gone through it together but without each other by their sides, if that makes sense. So they realize that they do have a lot more in common than they thought and there is this strong bond that’s always been there all along.

Are there any parts of yourself that you see in Nadine?

Yes, we share a level of awkwardness. I’m trying not to make this awkward, but I am. Yeah, there are a lot of characteristics she has that I feel I share with her. I guess sort of growing up in general and trying to figure out who you are and what your place is we sort share too.

It’s such a fun cast. Were there any highlights off-screen?

Yeah, many. A lot of times, I mean, we were filming in locations; we were either at a carnival and we were actually riding rides on our off time or in between takes, or we were in a pool and it was amazing and we were just hanging out in it when we didn’t even need to be in there. So many off-screen moments were shared between me and my cast mates that were really memorable.

You’re a model, an actress, and a singer. Is there anything else you have to cross off your to-do list?

I want to- no, I’m just kidding; I’m not going to say that. Yeah, I don’t know, I think I’m going to stick with what I’m doing right now and try to master all of them and then maybe consider moving onto something else.

And is there any one you want to focus on more?

No, I really do feel that whatever it is I’m working on in the moment I’m completely focused on just that, but I do see myself continuing doing both acting and singing.

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