Hailee Steinfeld Explains Why ‘Dickinson’ and ‘Edge of Seventeen’ Were Game-Changers

     July 10, 2020

Hailee Steinfeld burst onto the scene back in 2010 with her Academy Award nominated performance in True Grit and, ever since, it’s been an absolute thrill watching her continue to bring her immense talent from one project to the next while expanding her range in the process. Since True Grit, Steinfeld has joined major film franchises, scored a Golden Globe nod for her phenomenal performance in The Edge of Seventeen, launched a successful music career and now, not only is she starring in her very first series with Apple TV’s Dickinson, but she’s producing it, too. There’s no denying that Steinfeld is a major force in the industry right now, using her skillset, experience and ambitions to the absolute fullest to produce projects that really strike a chord with their audiences.

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Image via Apple TV+

During a recent Collider Connected conversation with Asa Butterfield, he brought up the importance of Journey’s End and how that film was the first time he didn’t feel like the child actor on set. Given both Butterfield and Steinfeld got their starts at a very young age, I opted to ask her when she hit that point herself. Here’s what she said:

“I did a film called Edge of Seventeen and I think that there were a few sort of moments that I had – but, you know, in all fairness, on True Grit I was definitely never treated like a child, you know what I mean? I mean, I have people in my life who are a few years younger than me and for whatever reason they are so young in my head, and I think people do sort of have that of me and of people that might have started out when they were really young, and it doesn’t bother me. I know where I stand and I know what I’m capable of, and I don’t have a problem proving that [to the] person who wants to treat me like I’m the youngest one or a child or whatever. That’s not the case.”

Even with that confidence, Steinfeld did acknowledge that something very special happened while making The Edge of Seventeen. She delivers so big in that movie, capturing the all too familiar teen struggle of feeling like the whole world is against you. It’s an unflinching and especially authentic portrayal of that mentality that really hits hard, especially for someone who can relate, like yours truly. Now Steinfeld credits that film and Dickson with helping her put her career goals into focus:

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Image via STX Entertainment

Edge of Seventeen was a great time for me. It was a big turning point for me I feel like, as a person, as an actor, I feel like something special happened there that – I don’t know what it was, but it was something. And with Dickinson, I feel like overall just taking on something that really has felt so challenging, and continues to challenge me more and more as an actor, as a producer – playing a new role as a producer – there are different parts of my part that are being challenged that are testing.”

That right there is only scratching the surface of the great impact Edge of Seventeen and Dickinson had on Steinfeld’s career. If you’d like to hear more about both of those projects, Steinfeld’s memories from making True Grit, what it was like making the decision to launch a music career and more, check out her full episode of Collider Connected at the top of this article! And when you’re done, be sure to watch Dickinson Season 1 on Apple TV+.

Hailee Steinfeld:

  • 00:38 – Steinfeld on her natural draw to acting at a very young age; the commercial that inspired her.
  • 03:03 – Her parents were behind her 100% right from the start.
  • 04:08 – How did Steinfeld stay positive when she was going on a ton of auditions without booking anything at such a young age?
  • 05:30 – What was it about True Grit that makes Steinfeld look back and think, “I’m so thankful I had my first Hollywood experience on that set with those people?”
  • 07:00 – What did Steinfeld learn while making True Grit that she finds herself bringing to other sets she works on?

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    Image via Paramount Pictures

  • 07:58 – The movie that made Steinfeld feel like an adult on set, not a child actor.
  • 09:30 – The movie (and show) that gave Steinfeld the most clarity as far as what she wants her career path to be.
  • 10:40 – Why Edge of Seventeen was such a standout experience.
  • 12:25 – Steinfeld revisits Ender’s Game and how she overcame the disappointment of that movie not taking off as hoped.
  • 15:24 – What’s the film that Steinfeld is approached about most?
  • 16:17 – Steinfeld talks about being a huge Pitch Perfect fan before getting cast in the sequel; what it was like walking in for her first rehearsal.
  • 19:02 – Steinfeld on making the decision to pursue a music career in addition to acting.
  • 21:52 – Did the original pitch for Dickinson capture the unique energy and style of the show?
  • 23:14 – How they incorporated music on set to recreate the vibe we feel in the finished product.
  • 23:54 – At what point during the shoot did the vibe and dynamic become second nature?
  • 25:20 – What does Steinfeld find more challenging – frenetic ensemble scenes or highly emotional one-on-ones?
  • 26:28 – Why did it take so long for Steinfeld to jump into TV; why Dickinson came her way at the perfect time.
  • 28:19 – Steinfeld breaks down the last scene of Season 1 with Emily and her father.
  • 30:40 – Given where Emily lands at the end of Season 1, can we expect her mind frame to affect the tone of Season 2?

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