Nice to have understanding of a female write female’s voice: ‘Bumblebee’ actor Hailee Steinfeld

Hong Kong: “Bumblebee” actor Hailee Steinfeld says she is lucky to be in Hollywood at a time when the representation of women, both in front of and behind the camera, is witnessing an upward swing. The actor, whose recent release is the first “Transformers” spin-off, says having Christina Hodson as the screenwriter was an assurance that her character of Charlie Wilson, a headstrong vulnerable teenager who befriends the affable autobot Bumblebee, was in good hands. “I do find that we are seeing a lot more of that. I feel really lucky to be in the age that I am in and feeling that I am a part of the change that’s happening. More females are having that light shone on them in terms of filmmaking, writing, producing and acting.

“Christina Hodson wrote an amazing script. She wrote of a young female character in a way that I don’t think anyone else could have. Kelly Fremon Craig with whom I’ve worked in ‘The Edge of Seventeen’ contributed as well. It was nice to just have the understanding of a female write a female’s voice,” Steinfeld told PTI when asked whether the studios had started paying attention to female voices leading and writing a film. Mounted with signature hi-end VFX, thrilling car chases and action sequences, the “Transformers” prequel is a first film in the series that focuses on the bond of friendship between a human and an alien robot.

Director Travis Knight, who describes himself as “the child of the ’80s” who was in love with the “Transformers” cartoons and toys, said he always wanted to take the Michael Bay-created franchise a mile ahead by instilling a “resonant heart” beating at the centre of the film, while giving a tribute to the original series.  Knight said he and Hodson were like “kindred spirits” as the process of cracking the story together was a “wonderful” experience.

The writer was already connected to the project before he came aboard. “Lorenzo (producer) and the studio set up a writers’ room to explore different kinds of stories they can tell within the ‘Transformers’ universe. This was one of the ideas that emerged from that was the ‘Bumblebee’ stand-alone story. So she was already involved with the project when I came in,” he said. Knight added the film is the fruit of a “great creative collaboration” with Hodson.

“The kind of story that I wanted to tell because Christina has developed this reputation in Hollywood, a kind of bada** writer who writes action movies and this film definitely has that. But I wanted to tell something that had a really resonant heart beating at the centre of it.  “And it was a really wonderful moment when I was sort of talking about that and she would be like ‘That’s what I want too!’ And so we were really like kindred spirits. That’s what you wish for as a filmmaker – find a real collaborative partner in that process,” he told reporters here. Also featuring John Cena, Jorge Lendeborg Jr, John Ortiz, Jason Drucker and Pamela Adlon. Releasing on January 4, 2019, “Bumblebee” – A Paramount Pictures movie, will be exclusively distributed in India by Viacom18 Motion Pictures.

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