Interview with Hailee Steinfeld for ENDER’S GAME

We catch up with the ENDER’S GAME actress…

Hailee Steinfeld made her breakthrough in the Coen Brothers’ TRUE GRIT. This week she returns to our screens in the sci-fi epic, ENDER’S GAME. We caught up with the young actress to find out more about working with Gavin Hood, and all the physicality of her role in ENDER’S GAME.

Can you tell us about your character?
Hailee Steinfeld: Tell us about your character. So I played Petra Arkanian, who is a very independent strong female character, which I love, and she is the only girl in the Salamander army.

What is the relationship between Petra and Ender?
HS: Right away Petra sees a lot of herself in Ender. Innocence in the fact that they were brought up the same way and they’re at battle school and all they want to do is to get the job done and get back to their families and I think they are both very similar in that way and they have a really, really incredible connection.

What was it like to work with Asa Butterfield?
HS: Working with Asa has been really amazing, we hit it off very quickly in the beginning and we have become very close and I think what he has brought so many elements to the role. He is Ender. I totally see it. He has just brought that intelligence and the creativity and the excitement.

What was it like being on set?
HS: For me and Asa especially it gets to a point in the day where we literally look at each other and no matter what comes out of our mouths we just start cracking up, and we just cant even focus. That’s always good. I have never laughed harder than when I am with these guys. And every minute I have shared with them has been really great.

In ENDER’S GAME, the kids spent a lot of time in Battle School. Can you tell us about that?
HS: A lot goes on in battle school – on and off set. Battle School is where everyone comes together and they’re brought through training. Filming it was really great cause it’s very military based and we had to go through military training, boot camp and all of that. It’s in a visual aspect very military and battle school is, other than that’s where they train, that’swhere they live, that’s where they are. That’s pretty much all that goes on.

What were the suits like that you had to wear for Battle School?
HS: So the first time I saw the flash suits I went into what we call flash suit city, which is basically just racks and racks and racks of all the flash suits. And I mean you are standing there and you’re like okay these are probably the coolest thing I’ve seen. But we got used to them after a while. The only hard part was running in them because they’re very tight and again with our helmets. That wasn’t easy, but they look good and that’s all that matters.

What was filming like with all the stunt work?
HS: I guess I can’t really say I was prepared. Like I said after I read the script, I just sat there and was like ‘okay how are they going to do this’? This sounds incredible. And I got here and before I knew it I was on wires hanging in zero gravity and I went to space camp and it was a bit of a whirlwind right before we started filming. So I guess I can’t really say I was prepared for that.

What was your favourite part of the stunt work?
HS: Oh my goodness, best times up there were in the zero G world – it’s really not just hanging on wires. Gavin has come up with some incredible rigs that – I think that’s what’s going to really shock the audience it looks so real. It’s because of what Gavin has created and what all of us have kind of come together and done.

What was it like to work with Gavin Hood?
HS: Gavin! He is the bomb. He is just so great and so enthusiastic about what he does which makes it so much more fun for us. I remember the first time I met him I was on the ground doing push ups! And after that I was on wires and that was fun, it was very uncomfortable at first but after you got over that it was really great.

So has Gavin become one of your favourite directors?
HS: I haven’t worked with many directors but I do have to say that Gavin, not only in terms of being a visual director but having been an actor too has been such a help. He doesn’t just say “here’s what you’re going to do and go do it”, he knows how to get us there and he knows how to help us and that’s been really great.

ENDER’S GAME is released in irish cinemas on October 25th