Hailee Steinfeld befriends, protects ‘Bumblebee’

In Paramount Pictures’ new action-adventure Bumblebee, which has been hailed by US critics as the “best Transformers movie ever,” Oscar®-nominated Filipino actress Hailee Steinfeld plays Charlie, the prequel’s lonely and somewhat lost protagonist who forms a special bond with Bumblebee/B-127 (voiced by Dylan O’Brien).

For the pivotal role of Charlie, the filmmakers looked for someone who could not only carry a massive global action franchise, but also a skilled performer who could connect with the audience on an emotional level. Steinfeld was their first choice, says producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura. “Our goal was to create a hero,” he shares. “So we needed an actor who could make the transition from who Charlie is at the beginning of the film to who she becomes. We knew Hailee would be magical.”

Director Travis Knight adds, “If you find the right actor, a good portion of your job is done. Our leading lady can do absolutely anything. She makes you laugh, she lifts your spirits, she breaks your heart. There is always so much happening behind her eyes.”

Steinfeld, who received an Oscar® nomination for her breakout role in the Coen Brothers’ True Grit at the age of 14, was astounded by the reaction on social media and fan sites when the studio announced her involvement. “I saw how huge the fan base is and realized what an honor it is to be part of this world,” she says. “It truly feels like we made something special. I’m excited for fans as well as newcomers to the franchise to see the movie.”

Most of Steinfeld’s scenes involve Charlie and the computer-generated Bumblebee interacting, which presented a unique situation for an actor. To prepare, Steinfeld watched the previous films in the franchise, concentrating on the original and paying close attention to conversations between the robots and humans. “I had more screen time with the robot than with the people in the film,” she notes. “Acting against nothing was the massive challenge. But Travis’ vision was so clear from day one. He has a gift for being able to translate the imagery he has in his head to the screen.”

Still suffering from the pain and anger of losing a parent, and feeling that the rest of her family has moved on, Charlie finds solace in the garage working on her father’s 1959 Corvette. She and her father bonded during their hours together tinkering with old cars and listening to his favorite music. “Her dad was her best friend,” Steinfeld explains. “When she lost him, she lost part of herself. When she finds that missing piece, it happens to be a robot she names Bumblebee.”

According to di Bonaventura, one thing the franchise has never attempted to do before is allow a Transformer to become a fully developed character. “Traditionally, they’re archetypes. This is an attempt to allow the audience to get to know one in a way they never have before.”

Steinfeld was happy to be a part of bringing a new dimension to the character. “There’s nothing not to love about Bumblebee,” she says. “He has so much heart, but he’s also a strong warrior. He’s a protector who would do anything for Charlie. In my imagination, I’ve built my own relationship with this robot that doesn’t exist, which is really special.”

In Philippine cinemas Tuesday, January 8, Bumblebee is distributed by United International Pictures through Columbia Pictures. #BumblebeeMovie

About Bumblebee

On the run in the year 1987, Bumblebee finds refuge in a junkyard in a small Californian beach town. Charlie (Hailee Steinfeld), on the cusp of turning 18 and trying to find her place in the world, discovers Bumblebee, battle-scarred and broken. When Charlie revives him, she quickly learns this is no ordinary, yellow VW bug.

Bumblebee is produced by Transformers franchise veterans Lorenzo di Bonaventura and Michael Bay, along with executive producers Steven Spielberg, Brian Goldner and Mark Vahradian. Chris Brigham (Argo, Inception) will also executive produce. The screenplay is written by Christina Hodson.

Directed by Travis Knight (Kubo and the Two Strings, Coraline), the film stars Hailee Steinfeld (Edge of Seventeen, Pitch Perfect 2), Pamela Adlon (Better Things), John Cena (Blockers, Daddy’s Home 2), Stephen Schneider (Comedy Central’s Broad City) and Jorge Lendeborg Jr. (Spider-Man: Homecoming).

Hailee Steinfeld plays Spider-Gwen in ‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’

In Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, there are multiple spider-verses, each with its own version of the web-slinging hero — one of which is a super cool Spider-Woman called Spider-Gwen. To voice the pivotal role, the filmmakers relied on the talents of Oscar®-nominated actress and singer Hailee Steinfeld (True Grit, Pitch Perfect 2, Bumblebee). 

Check out the trailer for Spider-Man™: Into the Spider-Verse below and watch the film in Philippine cinemas December 12.

An intelligent and quick-witted teenager, Spider-Gwen is the Spider-Woman of her world, an excellent fighter who can swing and flip with the grace of a trained dancer. Although tough and brave when she’s fighting the bad guys, Gwen has suffered a loss in her universe that’s made her afraid to get close to people, even to an open-hearted kid like Miles Morales (Shameik Moore). Once she learns there are others like her, she has the opportunity to let down her guard and become part of a team who have overcome their own tragedies to become the protectors of their worlds.

Spider-Gwen (Hailee Steinfeld) in Sony Pictures Animation’s SPIDER-MAN: INTO THE SPIDER-VERSE.

“I enjoyed playing Spider-Gwen because she’s really just the toughest, coolest, smartest and the most capable one in the room, and she knows it,” says Steinfeld. “Working with the directors [Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, and Rodney Rothman] has been an amazing experience, since this was the first time I was doing such an extensive amount of voiceover work. I love the collaborative nature of animation, where the visuals are being created in real time during the voiceover. It was also fun to play with Spider-Gwen’s secret identity and work on her voice when the natural leader just kicks in and she becomes a superhero.”

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is distributed by Columbia Pictures, local office of Sony Pictures Releasing International.

About Spider-Man™: Into the Spider-Verse

Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, the creative minds behind The Lego Movie and 21 Jump Street, bring their unique talents to a fresh vision of a different Spider-Man Universe, with a groundbreaking visual style that’s the first of its kind. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse introduces Brooklyn teen Miles Morales, and the limitless possibilities of the Spider-Verse, where more than one can wear the mask. Directed by Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, and Rodney Rothman, the screenplay is by Phil Lord. The film is produced, in association with Marvel, by Avi Arad, Amy Pascal, Phil Lord, Christopher Miller, and Christina Steinberg.

Vince Vaughn, Hailee Steinfeld team up for multi-million heist in ‘Term Life’

Vince Vaughn (“The Internship”) and Hailee Steinfeld (“Pitch Perfect 2”) play father and daughter who are out of options and out of time in the crime thriller “Term Life.”

Directed by Peter Billingsley (who served as executive producer of Marvel’s “Iron Man”), “Term Life” is based on the graphic novel by A.J. Lieberman and Nick Thornborrow about an unscrupulous criminal Nick Barrow (Vaughn) who takes out a million dollar life insurance policy making his daughter Cate (Steinfeld), his sole beneficiary. With the underworld organization trailing his every step to prevent him from receiving his payout, he must outwit them and protect his daughter at all times until the policy takes effect.

Vaughn, who is widely known for his raunchy, R-rated comedy movies, takes a turn for the dramatic and gritty in “Term Life” where his character Nick is running from the mob and nowhere to go, decides to finally make amends with his daughter, Cate. “The story’s unpredictable. It takes turns, and things happen that you don’t see from studio films, both with who lives, who dies, and what takes place. On another level, I think it’s honest and real to the psychology of what goes on with divorce and children and parents, the hurt and resentment. There’s a lot of honest stuff where that’s concerned. It’s very interesting. My character kind of plans crimes, he’s not a guy who’s executing crimes. He has a skill set of being able to look at locations and deduct what would be a good way to rob it. he then sells that off to people who would take that job. It’s a strange situation where he has the capacity to care about his daughter but just kind of goes to what’s comfortable, to where he feels confident. So he’s watching her and keeping an eye on her, but not really engaging or getting involved. She really doesn’t know that he exists; she’s unaware of his presence,” explains Vaughn.

Steinfeld, one of today’s fast rising actresses, known for her latest roles in “Pitch Perfect 2” and “Romeo and Juliet” describes her role in “Term Life” as a typical teenager but also old-school. “She’s raised herself. She is who she is because of herself. Her mom is in and out of rehab and she’ll get unexpected phone calls from her hoping that she’s doing well, and she’s not. That’s the absolutely biggest let down for anyone let alone your daughter. Things like that build her character in terms of strength and independence.”

“Term Life” opens May 25, 2016 in Philippine cinemas and will be released locally by Pioneer Films.