“It’s definitely weird. I’ve called it so many times. But it’s more than that … it sounds so honest and truthful.”
As someone who has been acting since the age of 12, it is no wonder that Hailey Steinfeld is intimately related to poet Emily Dickinson, although from a different era, she was also someone who worked as an artist at a young age I came in myself.
The 24-year-old actress (and former fashion cover star) remembers being “intrigued” after reading the first two episodes Dickinson, An Apple TV + show that debuted last year. When one hears that “this is a show about 19th-century poet Emily Dickinson,” one can draw a somewhat fraught picture that is at odds with the prolific, eclectic show. (Just a few bizarre things: modern slang and hip-hop music in a period setting, and rapper Wise Khalifa as Death.)
On the phone, Steinfeld says, “I remember that I wanted to read it and love it very much.” Alina Smith [the creator and showrunner] Just portrayed this very vivid mental picture that the show is in those first two episodes and beyond. This immediately meant something to me and was something that I knew I wanted to join. “
Read on for our interview with Steinfeld about playing the role of an iconic figure like Emily Dickinson, how women were served as a metaphor for constrained women during the 1800s, and the show’s “weird” energy, Whose second season came on Apple on January 8, TV +.
The show does such a great job of showing the emotion and energy of this historical figure that we never really know through words on only one page. What was it that made the character come alive in such an unexpected way?
As stated with other versions of Emily Dickinson’s story, it was very clear from the beginning that what we were doing was not an autobiography. It was carrying his poetry and what we thought while creating it could be his thought process while writing these words. And to run this world with that kind of endless creativity and freedom. You read his poem and for me it always breaks something to remove what he is trying to say before I understand it. And that’s the beauty of it. You keep retreating. How fun it was to shoot using that shayari as the driving force of the show.
Emily Dickinson is such a strong feminist character, and even though she lived in the 1800s, what do you think of her that resonates with people today?
Just with the fact that she faced so many obstacles as a woman, as an artist, as a young woman, as an artist, who only wanted to understand. I think so, you know, as humans we will always fight to listen. We have obviously been celebrating Venus for a very long time and they have not had to go through what they had gone through that time. She was very different than us at one time, but still faced the same challenges and eventually overcame them.
What I find interesting is that he kept his art and poetry close and was hesitant to share it with the world. I am curious if, as an artist, you understand where she is coming from?
I do… I do, but one thing I do not know and hope that I will never know is that I am not being allowed to share my work. I fully understand and do not want to be scared nor afraid of not wanting this idea, but I never Permission. I do not know what I will do or who I would be without my music and my acting and writing and dancing and I am able to experience all these forms of expression. Again, I hope that is something I never experience or never know like Emily did.
A term that was used a lot in reviews and online discussions about Season 1 was “weird”. There are a lot of interesting choices on the show, especially the language and music, which give it weird energy so that I would love to know your thoughts on the show’s irreverent vibe.
I mean, yeah, it’s definitely weird. I have called it many times. But it is much more than that. This is the honest behavior that comes from these people. I think it’s weird maybe the fact that it’s in the 1800s or the fact that they’re wearing a corset and the decor is different. I don’t know, it seems very honest and truthful, the way these people react to certain things. I think it’s the similarities between our time versus time that the show happens [that make it weird]. I think it is also the character and some of the writing. Yes, I don’t know, it’s there.
You mentioned corsets, so it would take me a minute to talk about the costumes and how they helped you get into the character.
It seems like a quick kind of line at the time. Put on the corsets and 29 petticoats that go with it, I mean it will change you physically, mentally and emotionally. It affects the way you talk. This is a real physical barrier, and women of the time had no choice but to deal with it. It plays into everything that Emily is feeling, hindering all others mentally and emotionally. And as an actor, it is a dream that you must do something to get there.
I would love to know about the connection between Emily and Soo. We know that there is a romantic relationship there, but also deep friendship and mutual appreciation. So tell me a little bit about that play, and shed light on what was an important relationship in the life of the real Emily Dickinson.
A talk about Dickinson Overall: The show is really about not putting people in a box. It is about not labeling someone’s behavior. Emily is searching for someone who sees her and understands her and loves her for who she is. She is different, and she knows. She thinks differently, she acts differently, she just walks differently from everyone around her. Sue is the one who understands and still loves him. And it’s just a beautiful relationship. The way it develops in season 2 is heartbreaking and beautiful and messy and amazing. This is everything! But this is a relationship that I am very grateful for is such a big part of this show, because love is love, and it is about seeing and being seen, and that is what our show is about. I love the relationship between Emily and Soo, and it’s really amazing playing this in real life with Ella [Hunt].
What do you think you have learned through the process of playing Emily?
I feel like I have learned a lot. I mean if Emily is fighting for what she loves through what she achieves in her time, that is what it is that keeps her alive and feels creative and free , Where everything and everything was forbidden, so I certainly can (laughs). I am inspired by him and how he was, how we treat him as a human being and an artist. The list can actually run. I think he is an incredible human being and incredibly talented. What a nice person he must have been.