The actress says she's so 'proud' of the Apple TV+ series' portrayal of the American poet Emily Dickinson.
After debuting to critical acclaim in 2019, Dickinson is going out on a high note. The coming-of-age series starring Hailee Steinfeld as American poet Emily Dickinson kicks off its superb third and final season with three episodes on Friday, Nov. 5. And as the star prepares to say goodbye (and hello to playing Kate Bishop on the Disney+ series Hawkeye), Steinfeld tells ET’s Denny Directo it’s been “a great honor to play this literary icon and introduce, or maybe reintroduce, her unbelievable work to the world through the show.”
While there have been several iterations of Dickinson’s life told onscreen, including in A Quiet Passion and Wild Nights With Emily, none have told her story in such a unique or profound way. Especially thanks to the modern sensibility and tone creator Alena Smith brought to the Peabody Award-winning dramedy paired with Steinfeld’s Clueless-like comedic timing.
Over the course of the first two seasons, the series dealt with the young poet finding her voice in a less-than-modern society and dealing with the ideas of fame as the third season explores her creative period amid a growing divide sparked by the Civil War.
“The time of the Civil War was known to be her most productive time as a writer. And to think about the fact that she was so wildly and deeply affected by what was going on in the wider world from this confined space is incredible and just says so much about who she is,” Steinfeld says of the reclusive poet, while drawing parallels to her own experiences of being in isolation during the coronavirus lockdown.
“I was playing a character who was really good at being in her room and doing her thing, being by herself,” she continues. But I will say... This show has these uncanny parallels, which have never really been a coincidence, but have always come as a shock to me for some reason. It’s wild to think that the fact that this show takes place in the 1860s and it feels so real and so relevant still is wild. But I am so fascinated by how Emily was able to continue to write.”
Meanwhile, the 24-year-old actress says she “went through waves and feeling inspired and confused and very frustrated by not being able to do things as we normally do. Although, I feel like playing this character through seasons 1 and 2 sort of prepared me for lockdown.”
While Steinfeld is proud of bringing so many aspects of Dickinson’s story to life, including the poet’s relationship with best friend Sue Gilbert (Ella Hunt), she says one of the things she’s enjoyed the most is her time spent with Jane Krakowski, who portrays her mother, Emily Norcross, as the two played “this really complicated mother-daughter relationship.”
When it comes to season 3, “it’s come to a very beautiful place,” the actress says. “This has always been a coming-of-age story for Emily, but in a way, it is for everyone else in a sense. And Mrs. Dickinson as well.”
Steinfeld adds that Krakowski has also become someone she’ll turn to for guidance. “She gives some great relationship advice, let me tell you,” she says. “I will say she is just so wonderfully supportive. And I’ve loved being able to spend time with her in between takes and be able to have real conversations… I feel so lucky to be walking away from this experience with real friendships. And that’s not every time that you get to feel that way.”
In a separate interview with ET, Krakowski joked that, despite their undeniable friendship, Steinfeld doesn’t forget about her now that she’s moving on to Hawkeye. “First of all, I don’t think the show could’ve found a better person to be our Emily Dickinson,” she said. “I will miss her terribly. My favorite scenes were always the ones I got to film with her, and I hope she remembers me when she becomes a big Marvel star.”
“I will never forget Jane,” Steinfeld says before opening up about joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe as Kate Bishop opposite Jeremy Renner on the Disney+ spinoff series. “She’s such an interesting and fun character. And it’s been really so exciting bringing her to life. She is a New York City girl who has looked at Hawkeye and idolized this person her whole life. And she finds herself in a very fun, crazy, possibly life-threatening situation, where she is face-to-face with her hero. And they embark on what ends up being a very wild journey right around Christmas time.”
“It’s very fun, and I’m very excited for it to come out,” she continues, adding, “I still can’t find the words to describe just how incredible it feels.”
New episodes Dickinson premiere every Friday. Want to watch more? Seasons 1 and 2 are now streaming on Apple TV+. (We may receive an affiliate commission if you subscribe to a service through our links.)