Hailee Steinfeld’s bond with Autobot Bumblebee is the highlight of the film but the actor says she found it hard to emote in front of the camera with her absent co-star.
All Steinfeld had was a “tennis ball and a stick” to respond to while enacting her scenes as Charlie Watson, a headstrong misfit teenager who eventually befriends the alien robot, B-127 and later renames him as Bumblebee.
Bumblebee was created through the help of visual effects.
“It was a very strange experience, unlike anything I’ve ever done- making a film where it feels like 90 per cent of it is with something that is not physically there. And the weirdest part was that it wasn’t like I was in front of a green screen and had nothing around me.
“I was in the real world with nothing to talk to. I haven’t really decided which might be harder or weirder but it was an interesting thing. Travis (Knight, the director) really got me through, helping me just really painting the picture in every moment,” she said in an exclusive video clip shared by Paramount Pictures with PTI in India.
Acting alongside her absent co-star may have tested the margins of Steinfeld’s imagination but she managed to bond with Bumblebee through his expressive big blue mechanical eyes.
For her, Bumblebee’s eyes and his little ears were special.
“I think there’s something very special about them in one of the first parts of Bumblebee that I see as he’s transforming into his robot self are his eyes. Those were the first things that come alive and that’s really the connection. It’s all there, he doesn’t speak so it’s all in the eyes,” she said.
Earlier while addressing reporters at a press conference in Hong Kong, producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura had revealed that it was film’s director Travis Knight who brought in his animation genius and suggested that Bumblebee’s eyes were made bigger and he had ears on his head.
The Transformers spin-off, critically-acclaimed for its humane story at the core, is inarguably the first film where the Steven Spielberg connect with the franchise as the executive producer is visible.
Working with John Cena, who plays Lieutenant Jack Burns, a hardened military officer who has a grudge against the Transformers, was also a delight for Steinfeld.
“We got to spend quite a bit of time together... It was really a lot of two of us in multiple scenes back-to-back. So we had a good amount of time together.
“Something that was so great about him a lot of what our characters’ relationships with each other, they don’t necessarily get along that well so it was nice to have somebody that could very easily snap into character and really take it seriously and get the job done.
“And when the camera’s not rolling he was laughing and having a good time and making jokes and that’s always wonderful to have around,” she said.
The film also features Jorge Lendeborg Jr, John Ortiz, Jason Drucker, and Pamela Adlon.
Releasing Friday, “Bumblebee” - a Paramount Pictures movie - will be exclusively distributed in India by Viacom18 Motion Pictures.