Apple TV+’s Dickinson puts a modern, comedic twist on the young life of poet Emily Dickinson, with Hailee Steinfeld in the leading role and, in a first for the singer-actress, executive producing the series.
Set in mid-1800s, the half-hour show, recently renewed for a second season, follows the iconic poet through her teenage years as she leans into her writing and falls in love with her best friend, Sue Gilbert (Ella Hunt), who is engaged to her brother, Austin (Adrian Enscoe). Steinfeld sat down with The Hollywood Reporter In Studio to discuss exploring the relationship between the two women, which has been a subject of debate for years.
“I do know that even today there are Dickinson scholars that are still chipping away at the details of that and uncovering more and more every day about her relationship with Sue, but it is said that she was in love with her and wrote poems for her and about her and about their relationship,” Steinfeld said. “It’s truly so complex, and I fell in love with the way that we explored that relationship because it’s so special and intimate, and there’s such a true understanding between the two of them.”
The actress goes on to explain how Dickinson “spent the majority of her life struggling to be understood” and Sue was “one of very few that she felt truly loved her for who she was, and that happened to be a woman and her sister-in-law.”
“It’s something I really love, and love how it’s incorporated into the show,” Steinfeld continued. “This show is about not putting people in a box and they didn’t necessarily have the language we do now, the labels and the terminology, and I think our show perfectly captures that love and understanding one another is something so rare and special and I think we really find that in this show.”
Steinfeld also discussed why the Apple TV+ series is “unlike any Emily Dickinson story you have seen or heard,” with one scene showing Dickinson twerking to hip-hop.
“That is something I’m definitely looking forward to seeing, and introducing people to, or reintroducing people to her work and her poetry because although this show is very wild in the sense of there is twerking — there are some wild nights — it is very driven by her poetry and the themes of her poetry, which are incredibly real and vulnerable and authentic, and that’s what the show is.”
Dickinson is now streaming on Apple TV+.
Watch more in the video above.