hailee steinfeld talks rebel wilson and learning the cups routine

The 18 year-old 'True Grit' Oscar nominee becomes the latest Barden Bella in Pitch Perfect 2.

by i-D Staff and Colin Crummy
15 May 2015, 2:50pm

The Barden Bellas are back. Pitch Perfect 2, the sequel to the 2012 musical comedy, follows the girls as they try to get their a capella mojo back after Fat Amy exposes too much of herself to a Presidential audience. Bellas newcomer Emily Junk, played by Hailee Steinfeld, joins original cast members Rebel Wilson and Anna Kendrick at the world a capella championships, in a bid to give the team back its former singing glory.

A Los Angeles native, 18-year-old Hailee had her own taste of hometown glory early. She began acting at eight and at thirteen, was nominated for a best supporting actress Oscar for 2010's True Grit. Since then, she's done young adult sci-fi in Enders Game and become the face of Miu Miu. Next up, she's set to star in 80s New York drama Ten Thousand Saints.

Did you have any experience of the a capella world before?
Absolutely none. The only experience I had of it was Pitch Perfect. It's amazing; I compare it to how I felt after I made my first movie. You can watch a movie but you have a different appreciation of them after making one, once you know everything that goes into it. A capella is an art. In the first movie, it's made out to be a cool, unique thing. Doing it and becoming part of it, you realize how incredibly difficult and intricate singing a capella is.

So it's a whole different experience from simply singing?
Yeah, it's the whole concept of making music with your mouth. It's more than that! You actually create a song. It's amazing that there are real a capella groups that do that.

Did you learn the Cups routine from the original film?
I remember going on YouTube, finding a tutorial and learning how to do it. I like to think I'm pretty good at it. It looks impossible but once you do it you realize that it's not that hard.

How was it working with Rebel Wilson?
I like to think it was a choice of mine that my character, Emily, would laugh at anything Fat Amy, Rebel's character, says. So it gave me the excuse to laugh at anything that came out of her mouth. It was so hard to keep a straight face because she improvised all the time and each time it was something new and funnier. No one ever knew what was coming.

In the film, the Bellas go on a retreat to find their mojo again. It's a bit Tough Mudder. Was it fun to shoot?
So much fun. So much that I had to remind myself I was working. I was in a weird mud bath and nobody really knew what was all over our bodies at that point.

I'm on your Instagram right now. And I want you to tell me about a couple of pictures.
Oh, ok!

The first is a picture of Lorde, Raf Simons and you. Where was that?
We were in Paris for the Dior show and that was a moment backstage. Ella and I were so nervous about meeting Raf backstage. We were pulling each other into it. We thought we're here; we've got to do this so we did. It's one of my favorite pictures ever. I love it.

More recently, there is a photo of you in a Christopher Kane dress on a balcony at the Chateau Marmont. Tell me about the dress
There's something sophisticated but still fun about it, which I love. I've never worn a black leather skirt before so that was pretty awesome. And just being at the Chateau, there's something so old Hollywood about that place. I was there for a dinner with Christopher Kane and a group of really amazing people, it was a really wonderful night.

What other designers do you like?
Michael Kors, Miu Miu, Prada, Valentino… I could go on. I'm very lucky to wear their clothes and meet with these people.

I also love the post Oscars Vanity Fair party pictures especially the Sia shot where she's wearing that massive fringe. Did she wear that all night?
She actually didn't have it on and we took a photograph without it. I thought it was so cool that I asked if we could take the photo with the fringe on. And she said, 'oh my god, that's a much better idea!' But she doesn't talk to people in that. She'll take it off.

What's your abiding memory of the Oscars when you were nominated?
I think the moment when you get out of the car and walk the red carpet. There was so much hype and so many people telling me, it's going to be crazy and overwhelming, take it all in. I remember thinking, 'OK, got it', and trying to comprehend the idea of taking it all in. And there's nothing like just being in the moment. I was with my parents and my brother and we were in the car; we got out and it was extremely chaotic and the carpet was the longest thing I'd ever seen in my life. I was able to walk it slowly and take it all in. It was an insane experience that I hope I get again sometime.

What one thing have you learned since?
I learned that you make a movie because you love everything about it. Whatever happens after the moment when it's out of your hands, whether you end up at the Oscars or a really cool festival, it's about making the film because you love it regardless of where you end up with it.

'Pitch Perfect 2' hits theaters on May 15.


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Hailee Steinfeld
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