Jeff Bridges Heaps Praise On ‘True Grit’ Co-Star Hailee Steinfeld

Bridges calls the 14-year-old actress' performance 'remarkable.'

With the Coen brothers’ “True Grit” making its way into theaters this week, all eyes likely will be turning to newcomer Hailee Steinfeld, who plays the film’s young leading lady, Mattie Ross. In her first major role, the 14-year-old actress ultimately has to carry the first portion of the movie, and her performance has been garnering some serious buzz during this awards season. When MTV News caught up with Steinfeld’s co-star Jeff Bridges while he was promoting “True Grit,” he said he was impressed by the intensity of her performance while they were filming on set.

“What a tough, challenging role for a seasoned actor. All that dialogue, kind of tricky way of speaking. Thirteen-year-old girl, never been in a movie, and she comes up with that performance,” Bridges gushed. “Isn’t that remarkable?”

Steinfeld found herself surrounded by a full cast and crew of cinema veterans. The Coen brothers won an Oscar for directing 2008′s “No Country for Old Men” and have been nominated two other times, Bridges took home a Best Actor Oscar for his role in last year’s “Crazy Heart,” and Matt Damon and Josh Brolin both have received Academy Award nods in acting categories in the past. But Bridges said Steinfeld didn’t need any acting tips from himself or any of the other castmembers.

“I might have slipped out a tip once or twice, and I always regret when I would do that. It’s almost like a reflex action — you can’t help but put yourself into the other actor’s position sometimes,” he explained. “I always appreciate a tip from some guy, one of the other players, but no, I let her run free. The brothers directed her beautifully.”

With all the buzz Steinfeld has been getting for her “True Grit”
performance, she now is one of the main actresses being looked at to play another strong female character: Katniss Everdeen in “The Hunger Games.” When Steinfeld spoke with MTV recently while promoting “True Grit,” she said it “would definitely be an honor” to even be considered for the Katniss role.

“I didn’t even realize that people were mentioning my name,” she said. “It’s every actor’s dream to be recognized for something that they love to do, and to get recognized for that is pretty amazing. I thank the people out there who think that.”

Check out everything we’ve got on “True Grit.”

For breaking news, celebrity columns, humor and more — updated around the clock — visit MTVMoviesBlog.com.