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Hailee Steinfeld, 14, shines in 'True Grit'

December 23, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
There's a new face in Hollywood starting to get a lot of attention, a teenager sharing the screen with some heavyweight co-stars.Hailee Steinfeld is already up for Screen Actors Guild and for Critics' Choice movie awards. And she just turned 14.

Hailee Steinfeld was 13 when she beat out thousands of other hopefuls to star opposite Jeff Bridges in the Coen brothers version of "True Grit."

She credits them and the film's other actors with helping her give a better performance.

"What was so great about them is there was never a moment that I felt I couldn't ask a question and I was always asking questions," said Steinfeld.

"Oh, she's somebody to watch, huh? I'm going to be really tracking that girl. She's something," said Jeff Bridges.

"It's a tough role that she's got," said Bridges. "It would be a challenge for a seasoned actor, let alone a 13-year-old who's never done a movie."

Before Steinfeld was hired, the massive search was narrowed down to five girls for one final screen test.

"So we didn't know who Hailee was," said co-star Barry Peppers. "She just came in and she had eight pages of this Shakespeare-an Western dialogue memorized, and she's reading opposite Jeff and the Coen brothers, and it was extraordinary."

"Thank you, Barry, for that but I was freaking out," said Steinfeld. "I mean, it was an excited kind of nervous, you know? I really felt like I was prepared and really ready to go for it."

"She just nailed it so when she left, everybody looked at each other and said, 'Definitely, she's the one,'" said Pepper.

"I'm living my dream really and I'm so, so honored and so blessed. So I'm happy," said Steinfeld.

By the way, Steinfeld's a local girl -- she's from Thousand Oaks.

"True Grit" is in theaters now.


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