Hailee Steinfeld talks about her latest EP “Half Written Story” and has a special message for her Malaysian fans:
Dickinson, the coming-of-age Apple TV+ series about poet and queer icon Emily Dickinson, earned a Peabody Award for Entertainment in 2019. It was one of 10 series, including Watchmen, recognized this year, and star and executive producer Hailee Steinfeld, who stresses the importance of its message about equality in an acceptance speech posted to Twitter, couldn’t be prouder of its achievement.
“I am so proud to be part of a show that is about such an important woman in history who was way ahead of her time,” she says. “I’m even more proud to be part of a show that is about fighting for what you believe is right, a show that is about seeing and being seen and understood, and a show that is about seeing everyone as equal.”
Debuting in November 2019, the series mixed elements of a literary period drama, teen dramedy, and romantic comedy to create its own unique blend of storytelling. It also didn’t shy away from Dickinson’s sexuality, letting the aspiring poet explore her complicated and romantic feelings for best friend Sue Gilbert (Ella Hunt).
“At the end of the day, we’re all human no matter what gender we identify as, the color of our skin, who we choose to love,” Steinfeld says. “This message of equality and fighting for what we believe is right is so incredibly important right now more than ever as our country continues to fight injustice, inequality and racism.”
The actress continues by stressing the importance of visibility amid the ongoing protests against police brutality and racism. “In this fight, I believe we must continue to shine a light and celebrate the stories of those who are marginalized and oppressed because by doing so we’re forced to think critically about how far we’ve come but how far we still have to go,” she says. “Their stories matter and it’s so important that we continue to shine a light on these stories and fight for equality.”
Following the critical success of season one, Apple TV+ confirms the series is set to return with season two later this year. While the coronavirus pandemic has temporarily shut down film and TV productions, Steinfeld tells ET that Dickinson “finished a few months prior” to the outbreak and that “everything’s on track.”
The actress also says when the series returns, time will have passed and will introduce some new characters, including Pico Alexander as Henry “Ship” Shipley, an Amherst College dropout who boards with the Dickinson family, and Finn Jones as newspaper editor Samuel Bowles, to its “amazing cast.”
“We just went in on season two,” Steinfeld says, teasing that the new season is “pretty wild. There’s a lot of twists and turns. There’s a lot of unexpected [moments]… I’m excited to see it all come together myself.”
She shares her struggles of overcoming work-from-home anxiety and how she is making the most of the crisis. Her latest single “I Love You’s” is inspired by Annie Lennox’s 1995 hit, which talks about refocusing on herself after a going through a difficult breakup:
23-year-old Hailee Steinfeld is an artist of ambidexterity, showcasing supremacy across an impressive repertoire of on-screen roles in film and television, most notably in the award-winning movies True Grit and The Edge of Seventeen, while also boasting a long-standing discography in pop-leaning music. Currently executive producing and starring in Alena Smith’s historical drama series Dickinson as the trailblazing female poet of the 1850s Emily Dickinson and simultaneously riding the success of her newly released EP Half Written Story, Steinfeld is no stranger to balancing a multitude of highly-acclaimed, creative roles.
Garnering an Academy nomination at just 14 years old for her supporting role in True Grit, Steinfeld’s adolescent growth largely occurred in the spotlight, and a majority of her learned virtues stem from her various character embodiments. “There are characters that I’ve played that have taught me so much about who I am,” she says. “Even though I’m not necessarily going through exactly what these characters are going through as I play them out in my real life, I still get to grow through those experiences and learn about myself every step of the way.” For Steinfeld, acting provides an exploratory insight into her own identity as she enters different mindscapes in pursuit of perfecting her entertainment abilities.
On the essence of her fearless, history-based character in Apple TV+’s Dickinson, Steinfeld recognizes the importance of both upholding the statutes of the path-forging poet’s society-shifting work and the modernization of her narrative for today’s world, citing the role as a contemporary reflection of issues in the 21st century. “One thing I love so much about this show is that it is in no way putting anyone in a box,” she says. “I think that we are moving closer and closer to that in our world today. What’s so wild about this show is that it takes place hundreds and hundreds of years ago, and yet we’re still dealing with some of the issues that they were then. Our show looks at that time through a modern lens.”
On music’s terrain, Steinfeld is continuously discovering her sound with each studio session she traverses, and her latest project, Half Written Story, is certainly one of her most eye-opening bodies of work to-date. “I find that I’m in this constant experimental process when it comes to music,” she explains. “With [Half Written Story], I really just wanted to make songs that sounded the way I felt when I was going through what it is I’m talking about in each song, and I feel like I accomplished that.”
Seeking inspiration entirely from her personal experiences and aspiring to instill an unwavering sense of confidence in her listeners, Steinfeld harmonizes the lessons she’s learned from heartbreak, specifically on her chart-topping track “I Love You’s.” She expounds, “The ultimate message behind that song is realizing the importance of making a decision for yourself and sticking with it. I think when we experience pain or heartbreak we’ll look for something to distract us from that. I mean, I have in the past, anyways. I finally got to a point where I was like, I just need to regain my sense of self here.” Hoping to share that epiphany with the world, Steinfeld’s musical prowess is one of melodic self-growth and good-natured, lyrical wisdom.
At a safe distance, photographer Connor Franta captured Hailee Steinfeld in tranquil, self-isloation amid the COVID-19 pandemic, below. Leaving V with a final word of advice in these times of uncertainty, Steinfeld soothingly states, “Do your best to maintain a positive attitude and, most importantly, breathe.”
Hailee Steinfeld gets candid about writing her emotional EP, ‘Half Written Story,’ with ET’s Katie Krause. The 23-year-old talks about heartbreak, love and what she went through to write this album, which is out now:
Hailee Steinfeld reflects on ‘True Grit’ as the 10-year anniversary of the film approaches. She also talks to ET’s Katie Krause about ‘Dickinson’ season 2, ‘Pitch Perfect 4’ and what could be next for Spider-Gwen in the next ‘Spiderverse’ project:
With the release of Hailee Steinfeld’s debut album “Half Written Story” Part I, Vogue Hong Kong talked with Hailee about how she coped with the pandemic, background of her music and advice for those who want to join the music industry:
Oscar nominated actress/singer Hailee Steinfeld released her first EP in five years and it shot to #1 on Canadian iTunes. Lindsay Dunn speaks to her about its Canadian connection and the music she has rediscovered in quarantine:
I’ve been gathering answers to a question that has been on my mind: what is the role of an artist in a pandemic? Today I spoke to Oscar nominated actress and popstar, Hailee Steinfeld: