Hailee Steinfeld: from the Coen brothers to a modern-day Emily Dickinson

Hailee Steinfeld as writer Emily Dickinson, in a contemporary sensitive take on the life of “Amherst’s Belle” in Dickinson, available on Apple TV

“Fame is a lie, it will destroy you,” a mysterious character tells the young Emily Dickinson in one of the episodes of the second season of Dickinson, the Apple TV + series that recreates the life of the woman with beautiful and fun poetic license. American writer. This reflection on the celebrity and its consequences was one of the many points of contact that he found Hailee Steinfeld, the actress who plays Emily, with her character. She, who began working as an actress at just eight years old and at fourteen thanks to her role in the Coen brothers’ film Temple of Steel received an Oscar nomination for best supporting actress, had never reflected on the darker sides of the film. fame until he had to experience them in the shoes of the writer.

Trailer de Dickinson


“There are times when I have that sense of identification where I realize how the characters I played impacted my personal life. It’s a reminder that, among other things, I love my profession because I grow as a person through these roles. and I have learned a lot about myself thanks to them “, Steinfeld explains in a talk with LA NACION from Los Angeles.

Actress almost as long as she can remember and a pop singer with albums released about five years ago, almost from the beginning her career was a model of varied and interesting decisions. From his celebrated film debut with the Coens to his appearance in Can a love song save your life ?, film in which he showed his musical talent for the first time, going through his version of Juliet in Romeo and Juliet Adapted by Julian Fellowes, her participation in the last two installments of Perfect Notes and the bet to prove herself as an action hero in Bumblebee, Steinfeld proved time and again her talent but her performance in Dickinson took her to new heights. As if the evocative texts of the writer and the original way in which they are represented in the series – winner of the prestigious Peabody Award for television excellence – had opened new paths for her. In principle, that now translates into a confirmed third season.

Steel Temple, the film for which Steinfeld was nominated for an Oscar at age 14


“My introduction to the series was through the first two chapters of the first season. I remember thinking that it was something completely different from anything I had read before. It is a period story with a modern spirit and contemporary music has a very important role in the program, the characters are so peculiar and interesting and each one of them has its own narrative development. Right away, having read only two episodes, I was already hooked “, recalls the actress who finished convincing herself that Dickinson It was to be his first television project when he spoke with its creator, Alena Smith, who knew how to convey the spirit of a fiction full of spirits.

Steinfeld with Toby Huss, who plays his father

In fact, if in the first season death manifested itself as a strange seducer played by rapper Wiz Khalifa, now Emily and her group of friends / enemies organize a séance like someone who is booking an afternoon at a spa or consulting with a therapist to to help you resolve the internal conflicts that torment you. That when they are not attending literary gatherings organized by Sue (Ella Hunt), her sister-in-law, the protagonist’s secret love and “an influencer”, as they describe her in one of the many passages of the plot that plays with the anachronism of developing a history located in the middle of the XIX century with XXI modes of expression.

“The episodes, despite lasting half an hour, have an impressive force. Many deep and complex things happen all the time. In the same scene it can convey intense, dark and disturbing emotions and also be full of love, humor and lightness”, describes the actress accurately. Much of the humorous moments come from Jane Krakowski, the renowned actress of Ally McBeal, 30 Rock and Kimmy SchmidtAmong other series, she plays here Emily’s mother, a dedicated housewife who lives bewildered and somewhat desperate by the artistic personality of her eldest daughter.

Ella Hunt as Sue, Emily's sister-in-law and her muse, to whom she dedicated her poems written on small pieces of paper

Ella Hunt as Sue, Emily’s sister-in-law and her muse, to whom she dedicated her poems written on small pieces of paper

In front

For actresses, the measure of success in Hollywood is not measured in awards or the roles they play, but in their voice being heard in the projects they star in. For that, the most common strategy is to become producers of fictions. Something that Steinfeld did from the beginning of the series. “Being a producer is a wonderful experience. I am very grateful that they trust me to make certain decisions or be part of the decision-making process. Especially on a show like this, which I am very proud to help make.” , says the actress that in the first season she also contributed one of her songs, “Afterlife”, to the soundtrack of the series that features artists such as Billie Eilish, Lizzo and Nick Cave, among many others.

Perhaps an actress with less experience and fewer characters played before the age of twenty would have been intimidated to play Emily Dickinson, a fundamental figure in Anglo-Saxon letters, a character of her time whose life inspired numerous academic and literary texts and who still thus it remains an enigma with only a few biographical data available to experts. But Steinfeld, with her intense gaze framed by bushy eyebrows that are almost her style mark, well away from the stereotype of the girl from California where she was born and raised, says that after some initial resentments she felt more yearning than fear when playing the actress. poet. Just like Dickinson, or at least the version of her that the series proposes, would have wanted.

The decision to leave anonymity and make his identity as a poet known is the axis of this second season of Dickinson

The decision to leave anonymity and make his identity as a poet known is the axis of this second season of Dickinson

“The truth is that there were times when her importance, her presence and impact was intimidating to me, but knowing that we never set out to make her biography but rather that it is about our reinterpretation of her, her life and her work, it helped me Of course we take aspects of what is known about his life and the most important thing for me is to do justice to the character and his story. Something that I am sure we are doing, “says the actress who laughs when asked how he copes with his character’s wardrobe, one of the few aspects of the production that respects the style of the time. A fashion that for many actresses usually has more disadvantages than advantages and yet, once again, Steinfeld shows that he is far away and is not interested in being like the others. Another trait that he shares with his character.

“Although there are times when I feel more in the corset than in others, the truth is that this discomfort helps me mentally and physically to experience, even for a while, the restrictions that women lived with at that time. It is very useful for women. interpretation but it also makes me feel grateful for how much progress has been made in that sense. The wardrobe affects everything you do physically and emotionally, so the truth is that I love wearing it, “concludes the actress, who when looking back found answers for your present and a fascinating path to the future.

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