Local actress Ella Wahlestedt thinks movie ‘Earth to Echo’ has empowering message

Ella Wahlestedt thinks Earth to Echo is like “ ET for the selfie generation.”

The movie, out Wednesday, is about four Nevada pals who happen upon an adorable alien they name Echo. In her first big-screen role, Ella ( Army Wives) plays Emma, the only girl and the voice of (somewhat) reason of the group.

The local actress, who was born in Sweden and currently lives in the Brickell area, almost didn’t get the part, which was set to go to someone younger.

“I didn’t think I had a shot,” admitted the 18-year-old from the Mandarin Oriental Hotel Miami. “But they bumped up the age, then I did a mix and match [with the cast], and it was a very fast process.”

Ella loves her character, who is “very dramatic, but stands up for what she believes in.”

Echo, a little guy who communicates by beeping yes or no, was made in post production, but Ella still thinks he’s hard to forget.

“They set out to make a cute, lovable character, and I think they did that.”

The movie — which has elements of Blair Witch type shaky footage — isn’t just for kids. It has a universal message, says Ella.

“This is a story that could happen to anybody, but it’s kids telling their own story for once. They get to have a say in society and ended up saving the world basically. It’s empowering.”

Also empowering (and impressive): Ella’s grasp of the Swedish language.

“I don’t speak it as much but I still have the accent,” says the rising star, who is next to be seen on the big screen in Goosebumps.

Madeleine Marr