Friday, November 26, 2021

Why Haley Steinfeld lost sleep because of Dickinson on Apple TV +

Strong young women with strong looks.

These are the roles that Hailey Steinfeld has grown on screen since her first feature film, when she was nominated at the age of 14 for an Oscar for her role as witty Matty Ross in the Coen brothers’ True Masculinity. She died as a star in love in the Romeo and Juliet adaptation, starred opposite the giant Transformers in the sci-fi movie Bumblebee, and plunged into the dark comedy Edge of Seventeen comedy. On Steinfeld’s fast-paced trajectory, no two girls, teenagers or women are alike.

Now 19th-century poet Emily Dickinson is brought to life by Steinfeld in the third and final season of the bizarre drama Dickinson, which premieres Friday on Apple TV +. A bold look at the poet in her formative 20 years, the final installment of an ambitious series heralds the end of a unique production of the enigmatic American icon.

Hayley Steinfeld photographed in Burbank.

(Annie Noelker / for The Times)

“I probably wouldn’t have understood the depth of Emily, her work, or her story without the show, so I am grateful to this show for serving as an introduction to her. I hope it does the same for others, ”said Steinfeld, who is also the executive producer of the series.

Along with the creator of “Dickinson” Alena Smith, Steinfeld talked about the problems associated with the revival of her beloved poetess, about what prepared her for the role and what awaits the 24-year-old actor and singer from “Tarzana”, namely about her jump into the world of creativity … Marvel Cinematic Universe as vengeful archer Kate Bishop in the superhero Disney + Hawkeye series.

Young woman in the 19th century

Hayley Steinfeld as Emily Dickinson in Dickinson.


You go from a kerosene-drenched Dickinson to a billion-watt Hawkeye …

Hayley Steinfeld: Going from corset to superhero costume isn’t all that different.

Both women have heroic traits.

Steinfeld: Something like Hawkeye, where it’s the epic, awesome, awesome Marvel Cinematic Universe. [production]as if i still can’t believe i’m into this. This is crazy for me. So big. But the character seems so real that never No felt like this when we did it. I think this is what I am ultimately drawn to.

The final season of Dickinson takes place at the height of the Civil War, when heroes and the country are faced with tragedy, hopelessness and division. Emily and her poems become a ray of light in the dark, so in a way, she also saves the day – or at least feeds an exhausted soul. It had to be to the bone, as all 10 episodes were filmed in the middle of the pandemic and within months of the January 6 uprising.

Steinfeld: I personally felt the hopelessness of time. As for Emily, I felt like she was in a similar situation because she’s really struggling to find how she can be useful in the war – and not only in the war in the country, but also in her family. I thought, “How, in a form or a form, can I do something?” This season served as a lesson and reminder that Emily doesn’t have to be on the front lines to help, make changes, change something, and bring light to the human world.

Emily was a private individual, and what we know about her today is largely extrapolated from her writings. This ambiguity gave you freedom as a performer, or was it like “Oh no, I don’t have a plan?”

Steinfeld: It was intimidating at first, but mainly because I could not personally understand the poetry. It upset me at first. I didn’t understand her poems from the first reading, but I liked that they kept me going back, desperate to understand. … A three-line poem thrilled me for several days. At first I thought, “This is the worst thing in the world. How can I ever get to the point, break it down and feel connected to it? “But it kept me coming back, and I loved it. Poetry is the reason we can do this show.

Woman in striped sweater in green garden

Dickinson creator and showrunner Alena Smith at home in Los Angeles.

(Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times)

Alena, why did you choose Hayley to play Emily?

Alena Smith: She has such a phenomenal, multifaceted talent. My style and tone of “Dickinson” permeates millions of different places. It’s a big comedy, it can be extreme, it’s a personal family drama. Magical realism and crazy, almost musical moments. Hayley will handle it all and just keep going. She is a force of nature in and of itself, in much the way I tried to portray Emily Dickinson. She didn’t have to be shy, shy, strictly from the historical biographical version of Emily. Hailey is truly masterful, even at her young age, and it seems like a real secret for this character. Because it is thanks to Emily’s consciousness that the world becomes the magical place it is.

Part of that surrealism lies in the dialogue and mannerisms of the characters. They use modern slang, throw dance parties, hang out in the barn and go to the spa.

Steinfeld: That’s right, dialogue. Initially, I liked this idea, but then we went to implement it. … I’m in a very tight corset, in this incredibly detailed and specific set, and I think, “This is weird. It doesn’t work. “This show is so deeply rooted in history that it seemed so casually odd to him. I went to Alena several times and said,” There must be another version of this. “She just said,” Trust me. “David Gordon Green, who filmed our pilot, also helped us find quirkiness in the tone of this show … Ultimately, the poetry had to feel like a conversation and be part of her inner monologue so that I could gain confidence and feel comfortable with that balance. [with] modernism.

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Some people were upset that these 19th century characters were endowed with modern trappings in the show.

Steinfeld: It was one of the things that I loved about this show when I read the first two episodes of the first season. It sounded like fun! Who said they didn’t say that? They got angry. They curse. Maybe they had different words or different terminology, but whatever. They were human!

Alena, did Hailey’s previous roles instill confidence in you that she could handle Dickinson’s cunning dualism?

Smith: Hayley was 13 years old in True Grit, an antique brought to life in such an incredibly modern and bold way. She played a play that seemed so authentic and true to modern adulthood history. And her musical performances too – Hayley has a swagger and I wanted my Emily Dickinson to have a swagger. This is a hallmark of this character, especially in the first season when the world really upset her but she just doesn’t want it to get in the way and she basically tells everyone things they don’t know how to deal with or what to do. to do with. It was not part of a delicate flower. I needed someone with fire, charisma and strength.

Woman holding bow and arrow in basement while talking to man

Hayley Steinfeld plays Kate Bishop opposite Clint Barton from Jeremy Renner in Hawkeye.

(Chuck Zlotnik / Marvel Studios)

Hayley, are you as comfortable navigating between comedy and drama as you are navigating between time periods on screen?

Steinfeld: When I auditioned for the Coen brothers, I spent weeks preparing. I did dig as long as I could, hoping they would call me back. I auditioned twice before I read it and walked in with utmost determination and willpower. But when I was filming a pretty serious scene, these two laughed. And I think to myself it doesn’t have to be funny. I remember looking back at a time when I was old enough to understand where humor comes from, and a lot of it comes from the tragedy of a situation or circumstance. That was the moment I thought, “Wow, I think I just have some comedy time.”

But you’re also a pop star in your own right, from the Pitch Perfect franchise to your own two EPs and video appearances with the likes of Taylor Swift and Kendrick Lamar.

Steinfeld: Singing there has always been a thing. Like most seven-year-olds, I couldn’t sink into anything for more than a few weeks. One day I will wake up and it was ballet. Woke up in a month, it was basketball, then horseback riding. My parents have always been so sweet and helpful. They bought lessons and equipment, and I set everything up, and that was what it was – until it happened. They probably thought it was a mistake when they bought me an amplifier and a microphone. We had this mirror at the bottom of their stairs and a conveniently located socket, so I would put it in and sing in front of the mirror. I was interested in the idea of ​​having fun and becoming a performer. Then I had a cousin who was doing commercials, and I was like, “I want to do commercials!” And from there it went.

What are some of the commercial achievements?

Steinfeld: [An ad] for those dolls, Soda Pop Girls. Yes, it was a big day for me. I starred in several Kmart commercials that helped me get through the next year in acting classes. And I cannot remember the other. … I’ll have to ask my mom.

Alena, what do you want from the future Hayley?

Smith: I don’t think there are many actors of her generation who have the same talent as her. I really hope that she will be recognized for this, because it is amazing. For a young woman to perform at this level, we need to notice her the way we would see a young Matt Damon or Adam Driver. She does very difficult things and does them well. I want people to see this and to be recognized for it.

Photo collage made using Hayley Steinfeld's prints.

Photo collage made using Hayley Steinfeld’s prints.

(College photo and Annie’s photo)

Hayley, do you know what’s next?

Steinfeld: Rarely do I know what I’m doing before I do it. And if I do that, I will not look at the next 10 years of my life. This is step by step. There have been times in my career when I felt, “My God, I must be doing something right, that’s what makes me happy!” I have moments when I’m on set when I do a magical take that is so beautiful that I can’t even describe what happened that day. It’s wild and seems unpredictable, inconsistent. But there is no point in chasing these moments. … I think life is a series of small victories, and I love to acknowledge them if and when I can, whether it is me or the people around me. But on the other hand, I had moments like “Wow, I need to reconsider my mind” because, like everything else, it can be overwhelming. But in the end, I feel like I got to the right place, and I thank God for finding what I love.


Where: Apple TV +

When: Anytime Season 3 starts on Friday

Rating: TV-14 (may not be suitable for children under 14)

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