The actor, producer and musician chats jumping from the 1850s to the Marvel Cinematic Universe and her uncanny comedic timing.

hailee Seinfeld

Dress by DAVID KOMA from JANET MANDELL, Earrings by ANITA KO

hailee Seinfeld
Dress by DAVID KOMA from JANET MANDELL, Earrings by ANITA KO

Taken from our Winter 21 issue, order your copy here

Coincidentally – it was only one week until The Edge of Seventeen celebrated its 5th anniversary when Hailee Steinfeld and Woody Harrelson connected over a semi-choppy Zoom line. Harrelson – perfectly embodying his middle-aged character in said film – joined the call on an anonymous iPad, meaning it took up to thirty seconds before anyone realised the legendary actor had actually entered the call. Steinfeld, with a natural sunny-side up disposition, was happy to see him.

She might have been only 19-years-old when the pair first met, but Steinfeld had already cemented herself as Hollywood’s next-gen superstar. With six notable films under her belt (including the unforgettably iconic Pitch Perfect), an EP whose lead single “Love Myself” reached the top 40 on multiple international singles charts, and award nominations including Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress and Teen Choice Awards Breakout Artist by that age, it only seemed natural that within 5 years, Steinfeld would be thrust into the superhero world.

hailee steinfeld

(LEFT) Full look by LOUIS VUITTON, Watch by OMEGA, Ring by CARTIER
(RIGHT) Latex skirt and top by DEAD LOTUS COUTURE, Shoes by JORDANS, Watch by OMEGA

hailee steinfeld
Full look by LOUIS VUITTON, Watch by OMEGA, Ring by CARTIER
Latex skirt and top by DEAD LOTUS COUTURE, Shoes by JORDANS, Watch by OMEGA

Starring in Disney+’s Hawkeye alongside the Avenger’s resident archer, Clint Barton, played by Jeremy Renner, Steinfeld takes on the role of Kate Bishop, Barton’s archery-savvy protégé who dreams of becoming a certified Avenger herself.

Despite her entrance to the Marvel universe being a daunting new venture for the infectiously charismatic actor, playing a radical heroine is something she’s certainly used to. The third and final season of Dickinson, in which Steinfeld plays the empowering female poet, Emily Dickinson, and serves as executive producer, has also hit the screens for the last time. So what makes Steinfeld so undeniably sought-after on-screen and celebrated off-screen? Her irresistible humour, according to Harrelson…

hailee steinfeld
hailee Steinfeld


hailee steinfeld
hailee Steinfeld

Woody Harrelson: Hailee!
Hailee Steinfeld: What’s up dude?

WH: How’s it going dudette?
HS: Good, I miss you! How are you?

WH: I’m doing good, I’m up here in Winnipeg living the life. You’re about to catch a flight, so let’s just get right to it! The first three episodes of Dickinson season three aired on Friday, do you still get nervous when you’ve got something new airing?
HS :Yeah, I guess there’s always going to be that. When you’ve lived with something for so long and then it finally becomes – in a way – less of a part of your world and more a part of someone else’s, it’s totally nerve wracking. Season three of this show is our final season and it’s been a very bittersweet and surreal experience, coming to the realisation that this is it. But I think more than the previous seasons, I feel excited about this one coming out because I get to relive the experience with people as they watch it weekly. I guess I’ll always get a little anxious, but mainly just excited!

WH: Do you ever watch your performances back?
HS: Ahhh, no! With Dickinson, as a producer [of the show], I’ve seen different cuts as they come together but usually, no. But I will tell you, Woody, the timing of this is so random because a cousin of mine who I haven’t talked to in a while FaceTimed me last night and then flipped the camera around and she was watching The Edge of Seventeen! It occurred to me that it’s been so long since I last saw it. I think it’s always fun when you’re removed enough to then revisit something that you’ve done in the past.

WH: I really love that movie. You were just phenomenal, that performance was amazing. And for myself, one of the greatest experiences I’ve ever had on set was that time you and I couldn’t stop laughing. You continue to make me laugh, and that’s one of the many great things you have, this ability to put humour into everything you do even if it doesn’t exist in the scene beforehand. That’s a conscious thing you’re doing I’m assuming?
HS: Thank you for saying all that! Yes it’s a conscious thing but I’ll never forget when I auditioned for the Coen Brothers for True Grit – I was so serious. I was so prepared, I was so ready for that moment. I walked in, and I’m doing a couple scenes and they were rather serious scenes… I’m doing my thing, I’m feeling really good about how it’s going until I start to hear Joel and Ethan laugh. They’re just like giggling at what I’m doing and I’m obviously keeping to [the scene], but I’m thinking to myself, this is not supposed to be funny! It wasn’t until then, or even after I did the film, that I realised I do have this comedic… I don’t know if it’s timing or this sense of playing through tragic circumstances with a built-in comic relief, and I’m able to touch on that as well. But I guess it’s as conscious as it is unconscious. I’m more aware of it in the writing than I’m aware of when and how I’m doing it, if that makes sense.

(LEFT) Top by GIVENCHY from FWRD, Tights by CALZEDONIA, Watch by OMEGA

Top by GIVENCHY from FWRD, Tights by CALZEDONIA, Watch by OMEGA
Dress by DAVID KOMA from JANET MANDELL, Earrings by ANITA KO

WH : Yeah, but I know from the time I met you then and every time since, there’s always a lot of laughter. You really are a funny person, you’re naturally funny. Even if you don’t intend to be, like you say, I can see why Ethan and Joel were laughing and you had no idea why. Anyway, so this is it for Dickinson then. You said it’s bittersweet, but what’s the first thing you did when the show wrapped?
HS I took a shot of tequila [laughs]! All of us did. It’s been such a wild journey and I feel so lucky to feel so a part of something. I’ve felt that way since I was really young when I started acting, but with Dickinson, I really felt like I was part of a family. By the time we got to the end of it, we were just ready to celebrate. Our final season took place over a difficult time for everyone, for production getting through things safely and keeping everybody healthy, being able to get ourselves to a wrap party in the end was such a blessing. And it’s such an exciting thing for us all, to really have that moment of celebration and appreciation for what we had accomplished.

WH: Yeah, those wrap parties are important at the end of something like that. Parties are important generally! Dickinson season 3 currently sits at 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, Arcane, another one of your recent films, sits at 98%. The Edge of Seventeen still remains at 94%. Do you pay any attention to reviews or ratings, does that matter to you? Or how do you judge the success of your own performances?
HS: Okay, so here’s where I stand. It’s hard to say it doesn’t matter to me, right? Of course it matters; I put so much of myself into what I do that I can only ever hope that it’s recognised. But I think as far as ratings and reviews go, I more so hope to connect with an audience. From The Edge of Seventeen to Dickinson, I’ve had some incredible experiences with kids and young adults around the world who have come up to me and shared with me their experiences in life and how projects of mine have either helped them through [hard times] or were some source of release or light for them – those are the reviews I care about. It’s pretty sick that our film is still at 94%. That’s not too shabby! But I would not have known that if you didn’t tell me. I feel good about the work that I do and I feel the most rewarding thing is when I am made aware that it’s made somebody feel something.

WH: I think that’s probably the appropriate way to look at it. The people who are inspired by it are the people that matter to you. Now, I just want to ask you, are there parallels between you and Emily Dickinson? Or even the world we inhabit now and her world even though they’re centuries apart?
HS: Yeah, definitely. So I think, first of all, what’s so incredible about Dickinson and Alena Smith – the creator of the show – is that I am continuously blown away by her ability to almost see into the future with this show, because there are some uncanny parallels between it and the world we’re living in today. But as far as myself and Emily, I look back at a character like this and a person like herself and I’m just completely inspired by the fact that if she was able to live the life that she lived, being unapologetically herself at the time that she was alive, then I’m inspired to do that for myself too… to fight against any physical, mental or emotional constraints that are put on me, whether professionally, personally, or whatever it is. I’m inspired by her fire and her drive. She was faced with a lot of obstacles in life and she learned quickly that there was really no way around them. She had to really fight through them. I am forever inspired by her and so grateful to this show for really introducing me to her and her world.

(LEFT) Full look by LOUIS VUITTON, Ring by CARTIER
(RIGHT) Full look by MARC JACOBS, Tank is MODELS OWN

Full look by LOUIS VUITTON, Ring by CARTIER
Full look by MARC JACOBS, Tank is MODELS OWN

WH: Great! So switching gears from Emily Dickinson to your new role as Kate Bishop in Hawkeye. How did it feel leaving Emily behind and getting into playing Kate?
HS: Wrapping this show up and going on to Hawkeye, the timing of everything has worked in a way that I really could not have planned better myself. It was nice to have something to jump into and a character like Kate Bishop, who, in ways, is similar to Emily. They are both heroines in their own right, share a drive, wit and passion – and it made me grateful for having spent so much time with a character like Emily. But it’s two completely different worlds, so that’s always kind of jarring! Going from the 1850s to the Marvel Cinematic Universe [laughs]. It’s been amazing and so fun. I love that about what we do, it’s like one minute I’m in a corset fetching water with wooden buckets and the next I’m hanging out the passenger side of a car shooting a bow and arrow at bad guys [laughs]! One day, Woody, I will take you to an archery range.

WH: [Laughs] I would love to go to an archery range with you. What has it been like working on this film alongside your co-star Jeremy Renner?
HS: It was good, he’s great! It was so awesome to have him show me the ropes in this crazy world. You know, this is the first show on Disney+ with a real Avenger in it. I feel like, in ways, the dynamic between myself and Jeremy is similar to the dynamic between the characters we play. I was definitely looking to him for guidance and for pointers, as is Kate with Clint – she’s constantly looking at him for the next move, and she’s ready and up for whatever’s thrown her way. He was a lot of fun!

WH: Well, when I did Solo: A Star Wars Story, just being in the Star Wars universe, I gotta say it was a little daunting for me at first. It took eight months to shoot so eventually you kind of get used to it! But I mean, do you feel any of that pressure being in the Marvel Universe?
HS: Yeah, it’s definitely daunting. Just to be playing a character that is so loved in the comics, with a story people have been so eager to be seen brought to life… to be in this position is a great deal. I’m very excited to see how everyone reacts because I think it’s quite good myself! It’s a great story, but yeah, that sort of thing will never not be daunting to me.

WH: [Laughs] I’m excited to see it. You’re 24…I started my career at 24 and I mean, I can’t believe all the stuff you’ve done, it blows my mind.
HS: [Laughs] Thank you!

WH: I was looking back through your IMDB, everything you’ve done and also the music as well – which I love. My daughter loves you more for music than anything. She’s 15-years-old and she’s right in the zeitgeist, right in the area of kids who are gobbling up your music and love it. What are you gonna do next with it? Do you have an album coming out soon?
HS: I have been working on this thing for quite some time. Ever since I started [making music] I’ve been working at it, kind of chipping away. I’ve put some small projects out here and there but it’s always been extremely important to me as an artist to put out a debut album – one that is good, and one that I feel good about. It’s hard to do that when you’re doing so many other things at once. So, I finally got the chance to give myself that time to get it right and I’m super excited about it, Woody. I can’t wait to show you! I’ll give you an exclusive first listen.

WH: I would love that!
HS: I felt like for the first time, I was really able to dig in and deep dive into the music that I grew up listening to and I really let that influence what this album is shaping up to be. So next year, music – that’ll be my next move.

Full look by MARC JACOBS, Tank is MODELS OWN

Full look by MARC JACOBS, Tank is MODELS OWN

WH: I’ll never forget when I wasn’t familiar with your music and we were hanging out all those years ago on the set of The Edge of Seventeen and you played me a song. I was like, ‘Holy shit that is good!’ I was really blown away and since then I’ve listened to other things and of course, my daughter Makani knows everything you’ve done. You’ve got so much going on. I don’t know how you’re doing it all but I can’t wait to hear when you come out with your album, I gotta say. On top of that, you’ve already had Golden Globe and Academy Award nominations. I’ve never seen a career like this at 24-years-old and it just seems like the sky’s the limit. But do you still have any goals on your list you need to check off?
HS: Imagine, no more goals [laughs]? I do! I feel so lucky to be able to do what I love and be recognised for it at any level. It’s hard for me to comprehend sometimes because when you’re moving so fast… I’ve recently been making more of an effort to take a step back and appreciate everything that I’ve done and I’m so grateful. As long as I can continue doing what I’m doing, I would be so lucky. I’ve got plenty of goals. There are plenty of other avenues in this world that we’re in that I’d love to explore, I set out doing that by producing on Dickinson and I really enjoyed that. I’d love to do more of it. There’s more behind the camera opportunities that I’d love to further explore later down the line. With my music, I’m excited to get back into that world and achieve some of my goals there. But ultimately, as long as I can continue what I’m doing, stay happy and healthy, then that’s my main goal.

WH: Wow, that’s great. I gotta tell you, aside from being a friend of yours, I am a big fan of yours. I just think your talent is extraordinary and I always look forward to what you’re going to do next. So anyway, I wish you the best, I know these are exciting times for you.

Sam Dameshek
Molly Dickson
Woody Harrelson
Ella Bardsley
César Deleön Ramirez
Kristine Studden
Olivia De Montagnac
Photo Assistant
Carly Hildebrant
Fashion Assistant
Jade Hurtado and Shanon Sidhu
Makeup Assistant
Wendy Cordero