Hailee Steinfeld Says Goodbye to Emily Dickinson and Hello to Hawkeye

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    Hailee Steinfeld Says Goodbye to Emily Dickinson and Hello to Hawkeye

    The Oscar nominee chats with V.F. about the end of Dickinson, the next chapter in her music career, and joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

    After wrapping the third and final season of Dickinson, Hailee Steinfeld hit the town. Anna Baryshnikov, who plays her onscreen sister, “took us to a Russian vodka room,” says Steinfeld. The evening was a blast, “but it got very emotional very quickly.” Clearly, the actor is still processing the final season of Dickinson, which premieres on Apple TV+ Friday. “It still doesn’t feel real,” she tells me over the phone. “I’m proud of what we created. I think it’s the perfect ending to this little journey.”

    The Oscar nominee executive produced the show, and starred in it as the reclusive poet. It’s the longest she’s ever spent with a single character. “I feel in a way she has this forever impact on me,” says Steinfeld. “She is a part of me.”

    Steinfeld feels similarly strongly about her Dickinson family: Toby Huss and Jane Krakowski, who play Emily’s mother and father, and Adrian Blake Enscoe as Emily’s older brother, as well as Baryshnikov. “One of the first scenes we shot was all of us as a family in the Dickinson dining room around the table,” she says. “I always think back to that moment, because that’s sort of where we built the foundation for the show and our relationships onscreen. We started in that space, and we sort of end there.”

    Before the final season wraps, though, Emily Dickinson must face two wars: the Civil War, and one brewing between her feuding brother and father. She’s also wrestling internally with whether her writing—her life—has meaning as young men risk their own lives on the battlefield. If that weren’t enough, Emily’s childhood best friend and one true love, Sue (Ella Hunt), is also having a baby with her husband, Emily’s brother. “I feel it’s our most mature season yet,” says Steinfeld.

    It’s also Dickinson’s most expansive season, stretching beyond Emily’s hometown of Amherst, Massachusetts, to South Carolina. There, we’re introduced to the Gullah-speaking, formerly enslaved men who make up the 1st South Carolina Volunteer Infantry, one of the first federally authorized Black regiments of the Union army.

    Despite the heavy subject matter, season three of Dickinson never sacrifices its modern sensibility or comic lens. It’s stuffed with amusing cameos from stars like Ziwe as a rather youthful Sojourner Truth and Billy Eichner as Walt Whitman. It’s also incredibly prescient, reflecting our current political divide as it observes the struggle between the North and the South. Steinfeld says she’s “blown away” by Dickinson creator Alena Smith’s ability to create art about the past that speaks to our current cultural moment. “It’s always had these uncanny parallels to the world in which we’re living in today, for better or worse,” says Steinfeld. “It’s a reminder of how far we’ve come and how much work there is to be done.”

    Courtesy of Apple.

    While her work on Dickinson has come to an end, Steinfeld shows no signs of slowing down. She’s trading in corsets for superhero suits in the Marvel series Hawkeye, which hits Disney+ on November 24. The highly under-wraps show casts Steinfeld opposite Jeremy Renner, whose Clint passes his superhero torch to Steinfeld’s Kate Bishop.

    “Working with Jeremy was awesome. He’s the coolest,” she says. The bond they formed mirrors the relationship between their characters—but only in certain aspects. “I walked into this experience definitely looking to him for that guidance, like Kate is looking at Hawkeye. She’s ready to learn anything she needs to learn, go anywhere she needs to go, and do anything she needs to do. I showed up with a similar mentality, and we got it done.”

    While on the surface there appears to be very little overlap between master marksman Kate Bishop and reclusive poet Emily Dickinson, Steinfeld has found some similarities. “You know, there is a sort of heroic element that both of these characters share,” says Steinfeld. “Having embodied this character who is so fearless and determined and will do anything to feel alive, to feel connected, is definitely similar to Kate.” Like Emily Dickinson, Steinfeld believes Kate is “determined and witty and quick and strong-willed.”

    “She wants to help people,” she says of her Marvel Cinematic Universe heroine. “She wants to make people feel good. She also wants to be a source of light, as does Emily, especially in season three.”

    Although she’s busy jumping from TV role to TV role, Steinfeld hasn’t forgotten about her music. The multi-hyphenate who had a pop hit with “Love Myself” in 2015 says that she’s back in the studio now, and has new music on the way in 2022. Juggling her two careers hasn’t been easy, Steinfeld admits: “In the past, you know, I’ve done my music simultaneously with my acting. There’s no denying it’s been challenging.” This go-round, she gave herself the space to do one thing at a time. “I had time to just focus on it and get it right.”

    But before the next chapter begins, Steinfeld has to close the book on Dickinson. The show itself has never shied away from endings, going so far as to have Wiz Khalifa portray the very concept of death in multiple fantasy sequences. And while some might say that Emily Dickinson—who famously died unmarried and unrecognized by the world—suffered a tragic end, Steinfeld begs to differ.

    “There are parts of her life that were tragic. There were moments in her life that were undeniably heartbreaking,” she says. “But I think what’s so incredible about her is that regardless of whether she chose to be known, whether she ultimately really wanted her work to be seen and heard and read, she made an impact on the world.” In a moment of nostalgia, Steinfeld recalls walking by a Dickinson billboard in Times Square ahead of season one and feeling moved. “If she at all had at one point hoped that the world would see her, understand her, see her writing, read her writing, this could be it.”

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    Published at Fri, 05 Nov 2021 18:36:14 +0000

    https://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2021/11/hailee-steinfeld-says-goodbye-to-emily-dickinson-and-hello-to-hawkeye

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