I walked into the Four Seasons Los Angeles at Beverly Hills hotel room to find Hailee Steinfeld and Sophie Turner cuddled under a blanket and cracking jokes with each other. After meeting on their latest film, Barely Lethal—a high school action comedy also starring Jessica Alba and Samuel L. Jackson—the two became fast friends, bonding over YouTube stars, kickass females, and fashion. We quickly got to the good stuff and chatted about everything from their movie, which is available on DirecTV and in select theaters today, to their summer style staples. Keep reading for my exclusive interview.
What was it about the film Barely Lethal that made you want to be a part of it?
HS: Well I’m going to answer for Sophie because I already know. No, I think the story is so sort of extreme in a way, and it’s really fun and it’s big and it’s a high school teen romantic comedy and it’s got a bit of everything in it. And I think the people that were involved were a big attraction. I remember speaking to Kyle Newman, our director, pretty early on in the process about his vision, because I was pretty confused as to how this was all going to happen and flow and make sense, and his vision seemed nothing but exciting, and that’s why I wanted to be a part of it.
ST: I think I was one of the last to sign on to the project, so the main thing for me was, I mean, of course the script was so exciting and such an ambitious thing to tell an action comedy as well as doing like a teenage comedy. The script was written so well, and I was like, “Wow, they actually pulled this off.” But it was the cast that was such a dream. I remember Skyping Kyle, and he was rattling off all these names, and I was like damn, I have to do this project—if not just to work on this movie, but then to work with these people, too.
You both play fearless females in this film. Who are the kick-ass women who inspire you in real life?
ST: Mom. Also I have a lot of family friends who have been through a lot of crap recently. How strong women can be, I mean how strong anyone can be when they are under so much scrutiny and pressure and things aren’t going right in their lives, and how strong people can be for their families really kind of blows my mind, and I have a lot of people in my life like that.
In the film, Megan [played by Steinfeld] yearns for a normal adolescence. Can you relate to her at all since starting your acting careers at a young age?
HS: Yeah, I think the biggest connection I have with her is that she comes from a world where everything is normal, everything is how she knows it to be, and she knows everything there is to know about it, whereas I feel like with us in our sort of acting careers—I’m not saying that we know everything—but it’s all we know in a sense. I think people tend to think that we miss out on certain opportunities or that we don’t live a normal life, but really this is our normal life, and I think we are very fortunate to have these opportunities to do things that compensate for what we missed out on.
ST: Yeah, agreed.
What is your fondest memory from the film set?
ST: Oh my god—just like hanging out with all of us.
HS: We had dinners on the weekends, we had movie nights, we had—
ST: We had dinner every night together.
HS: And normally that doesn’t happen. You work 10-, 12-hour days, and the last thing you want to do is go out to dinner with everyone—like, you want to just have your alone time. As much as we took that for ourselves, we like would never.
ST: We were around at Hailee’s making cookies.
HS: All the time, just like always doing something. I think we all walked away and are still in touch, and it’s so awesome to have that because we had such a great time making the movie.
You came out of this as great friends. What were your first impressions of each other?
ST: We’ve spoken about this so many times!
HS: When I was talking to Kyle, he was like, “So hey, listen, I think I found the perfect person to play Heather.” I was like, “Okay great, who is it?” And he said Sophie Turner, so I obviously went and looked her up, and one of the first things that I saw was this interview—I’ve got to find it—and someone asked her about something really minor, and she got SO excited about it, and I was like, “Man, I know we are going to be friends. This is so great!” She got excited about like the carpet not being red, it was blue, and I remember meeting her for the first time, and she was hanging out with Gabe [Basso] and Toby [Sebastian] and Thomas [Mann], and she like could just hang and she was awesome, and I’m talking about you like you’re not sitting next to me.
ST: Tell me more about what you like about me [laughs]. I already knew who Hailee was. For older people, it was like Lindsay Lohan was the girl of the generation, but for my friends and me, it was Hailee who was the big actress that everyone wanted to work with, so I obviously knew who she was. And then when I first met her—well, you know because an Oscar nomination, that changes you—but when I met Hailee, she like ran over and gave me the biggest hug and said, “I’m so excited to work with you!” And I was like okay, I’m going to get along with her. And then we bonded over Miranda Sings.
HS: That’s probably why people think we are so weird because we do this voice all the time. And you know it’s funny because I’ve been going into it a lot lately. Miranda Sings is like this YouTube personality, and she’s absolutely ridiculous and amazing, and for some reason we decided we really loved her, and we like to personate her all the time.
Let’s talk fashion! What’s your summer style staple
HS: Summer style staple—that’s a tongue twister! I think a really great pair of sunglasses.
Do you have a favorite pair right now?
HS: I do. They are Elizabeth and James, and I absolutely love them. I also have my Ray-Bans, which never leave my bag or car; they are just always there, which I like. I also like a really great pair of gladiator sandals.
ST: I like a good Birkenstock as well. I’m not hipster enough to pull it off, but I like looking at people wearing them.
You both attended the Met Ball this year. What was that experience like for you?
ST: It was my first time; it was Hailee’s like fourth or fifth.
ST: She guided me through.
HS: We got ready together.
Did you give Sophie any tips on how to navigate the red carpet?
HS: You know, I wish I could have, but I was freaked out as much if not more than she was. That carpet never fails to terrify me. But it was so awful because we were going to drive together, but then ended up following each other, and then it was like get out of the car and “Bye.” So we got separated, and it was scary.
ST: But then we found each other.
HS: Yes! That event was so much fun, and Rihanna performed, and it was unbelievable. It was such a great group of people this year. I felt like we knew a lot of people, which was awesome.
What’s your TV or movie guilty pleasure?
HS: There is this TV show called Kim of Queens; it’s like Dance Moms meets Toddlers and Tiaras in the South. It’s amazing. That one is great.
ST: Actually Dance Moms is pretty great.
HS: Dance Moms is killer.
What song is currently playing on repeat?
HS: “The Good Thing” by Sage The Gemini and Nick Jonas is on repeat, the “Bad Blood” Kendrick Lamar remix is on repeat, and my single that I’m releasing in the next couple of months is on repeat. Also, Rihanna’s “Bitch Better Have My Money.”
What are your summer style staples? Sound off below!