Hailee Steinfeld was only 13 when she played obstinate 19th-century teen Mattie Ross in the western True Grit. It was her first major role. Hailee Steinfeld was born in California, and “at eight years of age, Hailee revealed to her family that she had a strong desire to pursue acting,” says her bio on the True Grit website. She had bit parts in the TV series Back To You (2007, with Kelsey Grammer) and Sons of Tucson (2010), and also appeared in a national Kmart TV ad, before beating out a reported 15,000 other auditioners for the role in True Grit. In long brown pigtails and a gray felt hat, Steinfeld played an Arkansas teen who sets out to avenge the death of her father, and was praised by critics for holding her own with Oscar-winners co-stars Jeff Bridges and Matt Damon.
The role of Mattie Ross was played by Kim Darby in the 1969 film of True Grit; both movies were based on the 1968 book by Charles Portis… Hailee Steinfeld’s first name is often misspelled as Hallie or Hayley, and her last name as Stienfeld or Stinefeld.