Haley Bennett shows off her voice in a new film opposite Drew Barrymore.
"I don't believe in being discovered." Haley Bennett insists. Maybe not, but despite her stated distaste for the concept, the eighteen-year-old actress-singer-songwriter sort of was: A chance meeting with a music producer at, as she puts it, "the famous Polo Lounge in the Beverly Hills Hotel," led to a studio session during which she sang a Jewel song and the producer got "really excited." It wasn't long before Haley was packing her bags and leaving her native Naples, Florida, for the bright lights of Los Angeles.
Now, Haley's been living on the West Coast for a little more than a year, and her career is taking off. She has started laying down tracks for her debut album, which she promises will be "pop rock-alternative" (she cites influences by everyone from Gwen Stefani to Liz Phair to Stevie Nicks). This February will see the release of her first film, the romantic comedy Music & Lyrics. Haley has a small but important role, playing the pop tart whom Hugh Grant's and Drew Barrymore's characters are hired to write a hit record for.
"It was surreal," she admits. "The first day. I looked around the set at all the amazing people I was working with, and I was just like, What am I doing here? When is the real actress going to come in?" Her modesty is misplaced: Haley also sings a couple of cuts on the sound track, and though she swears she was "just so lucky" to score the role, she was ready for it. "Performing is something that I always wanted to do,"she explains, "ever since I was a little girl watching The Wizard of Oz over and over again. I took drama class and choir and singing lessons. I just needed someone to give me a chance."