Sarah Steele has a "huge" problem performing a script "I don't believe would happen. As an actress it's very crucial that I actually believe that a character exists."
So the 16-year-old actress, a junior at a private Philadelphia high school, "definitely had my doubts about myself as an actress. Then honestly, with just sheer dumb luck, I got this."
"This" is the role of Bernice, the sweet, overweight daughter of Tea Leoni and Adam Sandler in James L. Brooks' comedy-drama "Spanglish." Steele brings poignancy to her role, especially in her touching scenes with a subdued Sandler. In his "Spanglish" review, The Times' Kenneth Turan describes her performance as "truly winning."
She had to super-size herself to play Bernice. At just 5 feet tall, the petite Steele fluctuates between a size 1 and 2. "I gained probably 15 to 17 pounds," she says. "And then I had my fat suit. It was cotton and spandex. It was pretty comfortable."