In the new Dickinson trailer, we see the acclaimed poet rebel against 19th century convention in a very 21st century way.
UPDATED ON 20 SEPTEMBER 2019: Apple has released a new, full-length trailer for its upcoming Apple TV Plus original series Dickinson – and, based on the 2 minute clip, Hailee Steinfeld’s biopic is going to be unlike any period drama that’s come before it.
Offering up a very different perspective on Emily Dickinson – who has traditionally been portrayed as a shy New England recluse – Dickinson sees the poet rebelling against the constraints of society, gender and family in a very millennial way. That is to say, by way of parties, clapbacks, and a secret rendezvous in a carriage.
“I do what I want, I go where I want, I have the right to vote, I can legally own property,” Steinfeld says in the trailer as she strides around her room wearing a top hat and swinging a cane.
At one point, the poet can be seen stitching ‘F My Life’ on her sampler, and if that’s not a shake-up, we don’t know what is.
Essentially, in this highly stylised interpretation of Dickinson’s life, we’re dealing with a rebellious teen who wants to make her mark on the world – by any means possible. And we have a feeling it’s going to be the sort of show that sticks with you long after the credits finish rolling.
Check out the Dickinson trailer for yourself below:
AS REPORTED ON 31 MAY 2018: Emily Dickinson, the 19th century American poet considered an inspiration to generations of feminist artists and writers, is known for many things: her penchant for dressing entirely in white, her eccentricity, and her reclusiveness (she regularly refused to meet friends face-to-face, instead talking to them through a closed door). She is less often described as funny – but a new comedy series aims to change that.
Oscar-nominated actor and singer Hailee Steinfeld has signed up to star as Dickinson in a new Apple TV series about the poet’s coming-of-age years, Vulture reports. Titled Dickinson, the show is described as a comedy that “explores the constraints of society, gender and family from the perspective of a budding writer who doesn’t fit in to her own time through her imaginative point of view”, and will be set in the mid-19th century with a “modern sensibility and tone”.
Steinfeld was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress in 2011, for her role in the Coen brothers’ Western True Grit. Since then, she has appeared in movies including the second and third Pitch Perfect films and critically-acclaimed drama The Edge of Seventeen, for which she was nominated for a Golden Globe.
She has also pursued a music career, releasing her first EP Haiz in 2015. Many of her songs are notable for their youthful pop-feminist sensibility: 2015 single Love Myself is a not-especially-thinly-veiled ode to the joys of female masturbation, while last year’s Most Girls sees Steinfeld rejecting a man who attempts to compliment her by saying she’s “not like most girls” (“Most girls are smart and strong and beautiful… I wanna be like most girls,” Steinfeld retorts).
While some Dickinson purists might wince at the idea of a young pop star playing their poetic idol, Steinfeld’s casting is something of a genius move. For starters, she’s a very talented actor – but it’s also striking that the series will focus on Dickinson’s formative years. In 2016, Cynthia Nixon played the poet in acclaimed biopic A Quiet Passion, but no film or TV series has previously focused exclusively on Dickinson as a young woman.
And Dickinson’s adolescence is arguably one of the most intriguing periods of her life. She became increasingly reclusive from the age of 25, but was relatively active and sociable as a teenager, studying extensively at Amherst Academy in Massachusetts and befriending several men and women who became mentor figures. In early 1850, aged 20, she wrote that her hometown was “alive with fun” – a side of the sombre poet rarely seen in later life.
In a new interview with Zane Lowe on Apple Music’s Beats 1, Steinfeld opened up about her upcoming venture into TV.
“It’s been so incredible to be working with Apple on this project, as its a new venture for them, and for me as well — I’ve really never done anything in the TV space so a lot of how this is all working is all new to me too,” she began.
“I’m executive producing the show which is my first time filling that role,” she added. “I mean the reason I wanted to do that was going back to the first time I read the script it really felt unlike anything I’d ever come across so I wanted to show up in a way that wasn’t just as an actor…I wanted to be a part of these decision making processes and see things through from the beginning middle to end and its been a wonderful experience.”
Dickinson has also long been beloved by a certain kind of teenage girl for her sly rebelliousness, emotional honesty and unconventional persona, while her later isolation is often held up by feminist literary critics as an example of what happens when female brilliance is suppressed. Here’s hoping that Dickinson will do her story justice.