Halfway through its third and final season, “Dickinson” gave fans one major thing they were hoping for this week: More singing from the cast. It came in the form of a Dickinson family singalong, rather than an entire musical episode, but for what it’s worth, series star Ella Hunt swears the entire cast was definitely game for it.
“That was something that we — the whole cast in fact — were pushing for this season was to have a musical episode, which we sort of get round to having,” Hunt explained to TheWrap. “But another limitation of COVID time is that having us all singing together in a room is actually really not conducive to a healthy work environment right now. Yeah, a lot of spit. It’s not safe, which is so funny. But I’m really glad that we have this sing-along episode.”
After Hunt’s performance of “Split the Lark,” one of Emily Dickinson’s most famous poems, in season 2, fans were hopeful to hear more of her voice in season 3. And “Dickinson” creator was swift to promise them it was coming.
“If you were a showrunner and you had a cast member with a voice like Ella’s would *you* make her sing?” Alena Smith tweeted last week. She followed that post with her simple logic. “Ella sings in all three seasons of @Dickinson because I am a person with ears.”
Ella sings in all three seasons of @Dickinson because I am a person with ears
— Alena Smith (@internetalena) November 8, 2021
This time, Hunt sings “There Are Plenty of Fish in the Sea,” a song written by Stephen Foster in 1862, while co-star Hailee Steinfeld plays the piano and Anna Baryshnikov lip syncs (she’s taken a temporary vow of silence in honor of the fallen Civil War soldiers).
“It was such a beautiful, funny, moving day of shooting,” Hunt recalled. “It was my birthday. And like the perfect day for me to have a birthday on set because I love music and I love singing on set.”
Following Hunt’s song, Steinfeld also performed, singing Foster’s “Hard Times Come Again No More.” And for as beautiful as it was on screen, Hunt assures us it was even more beautiful in person.
“It was like this — a collective silence like dawned on the set. Everyone was so moved, from our camera operator to us in the cast. It was this really special moment where Hailee’s voice was, like, cracking with the emotion of the song. And yeah, it was a very, very special thing to get to do.”
Sadly, Hunt and Steinfeld didn’t get to sing a song together in the episode, as many hoped they might. But that doesn’t mean they won’t do so in real life at some point. Steinfeld is still masterfully balancing her career as an actress and singer, and Hunt is set to release her first EP “Triptych” this year.
“I know that we would both love to,” Hunt said. “Yes, I would love to collab with Hailee sometime in the future. And I couldn’t be more excited to be putting out this music that I’ve been working on for so long. I’ve been writing music since I was a kid. And it’s taken me a while to work out how I wanted to introduce people to the emotional landscape of my music. And I’m finally getting to do that.”
Ella Hunt’s first single “Holding On” is out now. New episodes of “Dickinson” come out on Fridays on Apple TV+.