Interview: Haley Lu Richardson

Interview: Haley Lu Richardson

November 20167089Views

Actress shares intel on latest film “The Edge of Seventeen” and her Hooked by Haley designs

It’s exciting to sit with an actor and discuss their latest film project, but it’s even more rewarding when it’s an up and coming actor or actress. That’s why I eagerly accepted the invite for a round table interview with Haley Lu Richardson, to get intel on her latest movie “The Edge of Seventeen,” in which she co-stars with Hailee Steinfeld, Kyra Sedgwick and Woody Harrelson. You can’t help but predict that Richardson will be the next Hollywood “it” girl with her bubbly personality, infections laugh, and penchant for chic style—she wore a short-sleeve mock turtleneck and wide-leg cuffed and belted trousers in an olive green. Along with dishing on her new film, Richardson also shared deets on dancing, upcoming film projects, and her crochet line, which appeared in the film.

Sometimes we think that everyone’s out to get us and like everyone else is the bad guy, but really when we take a second and reflect on what’s going on in our heads, we’re kind of our own worst enemy.

On actors’ input on the dialogue.

Kelly (Kelly Fremon Craig) the writer and director—literally spent a big chunk of time going around to high schools and interviewing kids in high schools and observing kids. Because even though she went to high school—things have changed. It’s 2016 and she really wanted to capture this generation and how things actually are, so she spent a lot of time doing that, and like literally just sitting there watching all the kids interact at lunch.
There’s actually this one scene where Haliee is walking—it’s after our little friend breakup—and she’s like walking through the cafeteria…there’s this wide shot of her just looking around the cafeteria. Kids are sitting on tables—it just looks very real. We had two weeks of rehearsal time, where I literally just spent time with Hailee and we just did our scenes and Kelly was super open to improvising in those rehearsals. I was really appreciative that Kelly was open to that.
Woody Harrelson in "The Edge of Seventeen."
Woody Harrelson in “The Edge of Seventeen.”

On being intimidated working with producer James L. Brooks and actor Woody Harrelson.

I feel like every movie I’ve done has become like a little bigger scale and bigger actors. My character was cast later I think than most—most of the actors were cast already by the time they had auditioned me, which was cool for me. Sometimes when you audition for a movie, you have no idea who you are going to be acting opposite and you’re like ‘I hope they are good’. But I got to see who was already cast and what producers were working on. I was very intimidated but also equally, or more so, just excited at the opportunity to learn from them.

On relating to the characters in the film.

Honestly, it’s really funny because I’ve been acting professionally for five years, since I was 16. Since then, I’ve literally just played high school kids. (laughs) I feel like I’m constantly forced to go into that life phase and all the memories. I’m just stuck there reliving that forever. So yeah, I definitely could relate to pretty much all the characters and everything. When you’re reading a script as an actor, knowing that you’re possibly going to be able to play this character and bring her to life, you automatically are reading the script and trying to figure out what connections you have to that person and how you can relate to them. So I think what I really do most to this movie and Krista (Haley Lu Richardson) is the friendship between Krista and Nadine (Hailee Steinfeld), because even when everything goes down, it’s not like either of them are bad people. I feel a real bond and a selfless friendship, which I feel like I have in my life and I had in high school—plus all the stupid drama. (laughs)

Hailee Steinfeld and Haley Lu Richardson (right) in “The Edge of Seventeen.”

On establishing the appearance of a close friendship between Krista and Nadine.

Thank God for those two little kid actors. They were so good and so cute. I feel like showing them at that age, even though it was so brief, you like believe it, because they are just so freaking cute. I think the rehearsal period and also that Hailee and I got along really well in person. It’s like easy hanging out with her because she’s so cool. The writing was great—I think just going with it and really being there in the moment, playing around and knowing we both—she’s a teenager—we both know what it’s like having a good friendship, especially when you’re going through all that stuff in high school, and how important that is. We just wanted to commit and bring it the justice that a friendship like that deserves.

On friendships with girlfriends vs. relationships with boyfriends.

There’s like obvious things like dating an ex boyfriend, like you don’t do, right? But then like dating a best friend’s sibling—it’s like kind of on the line. I went into this playing a role and after talking to Kelly and finding out I got the part and everything, we both were on the same page that we didn’t want to make Krista the stereotypical villain that ruins the protagonist’s life. We didn’t want to make her that…she’s not even doing anything that bad, because she’s been such a selfless friend for so long. She realizes she can have this great connection with this guy and you kind of have to do something for yourself at some point.
So, I don’t even view it—and maybe this is just bias because I have to get in this head space to play Krista—I don’t view it like where it had to be a choice between a relationship or a friendship. I feel like in the end, it actually could be a great thing if you’re looking at the big picture because if this does end up working out, then we can all just be this one big happy family, you know? (Laughs) If it’s not something that full on crosses the line, and is disrespectful to a friend, I don’t think there really has to be a choice. I think you can make it work.
Blake Jenner and Haley Lu Richardson (right) in “The Edge of Seventeen.”

On what viewers should take from the film.

I feel like the movie isn’t forcing a message down the audience’s throat. I feel like it’s just showing this is what this girl’s life is like and this is something you can relate to. Everyone, I feel like, kind of takes something a little bit different from it. My best friend called me after she saw it—she was telling me after what she thought, is that sometimes you have to give people space to figure the stuff out. Sometimes you can’t just hash it out and it all be good. Sometimes you need space for people to realize and kind of wake up and see the big picture. I think Nadine’s character is all about this, this is what her journey is.
Sometimes we think that everyone’s out to get us and like everyone else is the bad guy, but really when we take a second and reflect on what’s going on in our heads, we’re kind of our own worst enemy and we’re the one choosing to be insecure and choosing to not open up to people and like put this wall up. I think in the movie she goes through all these really tough blows, to be able to kind of be in those vulnerable spots, where she realizes maybe no one is out to get me. Maybe I’m just making things way harder than I need it to be.

On her favorite teen movies.

Honestly, people have been asking that question a lot and I keep saying “She’s the Man” (2006) with Amanda Bynes. (laughs) I feel it’s a lame answer, but I really love that movie and I think I cracked up more during that movie than I have ever. But honestly, I love that movie…obviously I love “Breakfast Club” (1985) and “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” (1986). I feel like there’s just stupid ones I like even more—”Mean Girls” (2004) I really liked. (laughs)

On being a dancer.

Honestly, if you know someone who wants to make a dance movie, that’s my dream, is doing that. I feel like dance is becoming so much—you see it so much on TV, reality shows like the “Dance Moms” thing and “So You Think You Can Dance.” There’s the “Step It Up” movies, there’s ballet movies, ballet shows, but I feel like the story of a training contemporary dancer hasn’t really been told yet, and I’d love to make that happen.

On her fashion and accessory crochet line Hooked by Haley in the film.

#drake These best friend tops are available NOW on Etsy! @haleyluhoo @em_ijordan

A video posted by Hooked By Haley Lu (@hookedbyhaleylu) on

There’s a scene, it’s so quick, but when we go to the party and I start playing beer pong, there’s this moment when I take off my jacket and I’m wearing one of the tops I crocheted. I’m really proud of it. I’m like almost prouder of that than being in the movie. (laughs) I always try to wear a hat or something. The last movie I did, I’m just literally sitting on the couch crocheting. (laughs) It’s something I do that I literally feel no pressure with, which I feel is a really good thing to have—it kind of feels like therapy. My mom taught me to crochet when I was like about eight, and I’ve been doing it ever since, coming up with patterns and different designs. It’s something I do just creatively, like have fun and I don’t feel any pressure. It makes me excited to just do it. I sell it on Etsy—I want to grow that at some point.

On working in “Split” with director M. Night Shyamalan and actor James McAvoy.

Night, first of all, is the most specific director that I’ve ever worked with. It’s really interesting because I kind of realized while I was working with him, I was like “Why does this feel so different?” And, then I realized that all of the other actors, all of the other directors that I’ve done films with have been first-time directors. I literally have never worked with a director like that—for TV I have but it’s so different—you know the intimacy of doing a movie for like two months with someone nonstop.
Night you know, has been so in control of all the movies he’s done and it has such a specific tone about all his things, so he was very specific which was different, but obviously it’s really easy to trust him and trust that we just go along with his vision because he knows what’s up and he knows what he’s doing. In the movie, I just saw it last month, it’s so twisted and James McAvoy is great in it, like I think it’s one of the best male performances I’ve seen in a while—like he’s really good.

So, if you want to go see the movie for any reason, he’s amazing—there were times when I would be off camera and I’d be there to just like say one line or something and then I’d look at my friend Jess (Jessica Sula), who’s one of the girls who gets kidnapped, and we’re both off screen, and we’d just like look at each other…we’re sobbing and we have goosebumps, we’re not even being taped, we were just so affected by what he was doing.

Hailee Steinfeld, Haley Lu Richardson, and Blake Jenner in "The Edge of Seventeen."
Hailee Steinfeld, Haley Lu Richardson (center), and Blake Jenner in “The Edge of Seventeen.”

On how the film can help teens with issues they are struggling with.

It’s almost like learning from watching other people’s mistakes kind of thing. I learned a lot from the movie and I’ve already gone through that time in my life…just stepping back for a second and being able to look at your life. When I was in high school—and still now this happens to me, but I feel I’ve gotten a little better at it hopefully—but just when things happen they’re such a big deal. When someone says something or you don’t get invited somewhere, it’s like such a big deal—literally like a huge deal. It’s something that even now, I look back at some of those things and I either don’t remember them, or I laugh about them with all my friends that I went to high school with.
I feel like if I had that voice inside my head when I was in high school saying like, ‘It’s not that big a deal that you didn’t get invited on the party bus that was going to homecoming, with the group you wanted to go with’ or like ‘It’s not that big a deal that this guy I like, broke up with you and you thought you were going to marry him.’ You weren’t going to marry him—so, it’s not that big of a deal. I feel like in this movie, like I hope kids watch it that are going through that now and be like, “Wait why are you getting all worked up about this, like it’s not that bad.” I hope they can relate that to their lives and what they’re going through.

Release date: Friday, November 18th

Image source: STX Entertainment

The Chic Spy

The Chic Spy

Hello Agents of Chic, I'm your source for chic style and entertainment intel on fashion, film, and pop culture. From fashion trends and beauty products to movie reviews and celebrity interviews, I'm on a mission to uncover the chicest. A few faves on my radar include whimsical clutches, embellished flats, and gourmet macarons.