Finn Jones & Pico Alexander who both joined Apple TV+ show “Dickinson” in the second season tell AppleInsider about the latest episodes, and why things are more “elevated” when it comes to working on an Apple series.
Dickinson, the often-anachronistic period drama starring Hailee Steinfeld as the 19th-century American poet Emily Dickinson, has been one of the undeniable successes in the early going for Apple TV+. One of the shows that debuted at the streaming service’s launch in November of 2019, Dickinson in January became the first Apple TV+ show to debut a second season.
A few months before that, Dickinson had become the first show on the service to receive a renewal for a third. And in addition, the Peabody Award-winning show appears to be the first Apple original to develop a young and vocal online following.
For the second season, Dickinson added a pair of actors to its ensemble. English actor Finn Jones joined the cast as newspaper editor Samuel Bowles. Jones is best known for playing Ser Loras Tyrell on Game of Thrones and as the star of the late Marvel/Netflix series The Iron Fist.
American actor Pico Alexander, who starred in Home Again opposite Reese Witherspoon, was added to the show as well. Alexander plays Henry Shipley, a young suitor of Emily Dickinson’s sister Lavinia (Anna Baryshnikov.)
In the second season, Jones’ Bowles — based on the historical figure of the same name — is seeking to publish Emily’s work in his newspaper. And the season, as it goes on, offers indications that their relationship may become more than professional.
Alexander’s Henry, meanwhile, is getting closer to Anna throughout the season, including a memorable scene in which they read Hawthorne’s “The Scarlett Letter” in the bedroom.
AppleInsider spoke with Finn Jones and Pico Alexander about their experiences on Dickinson and how an Apple set is different from all the other sets they’ve been on. They also discussed the strong opinions some fans of the show harbor about who should be in a relationship with Emily Dickinson.
AI: What have the two of you been up to for the past year, during the pandemic?
Pico Alexander: I’ve been hunkered down in New York City, for the most of it, spent all of my time here except for two or three months in the fall, during which I was working on a film in California.
Finn Jones: I was over in California at the beginning, I was working on a TV show and then everything shut down, so I was there for a little bit, then I drove across the country in the summer, back to New York, and I’ve been in New York since then. Now I’m about to get back in my car and get back on the road and continue driving.
AI: Have either of you had any experience wearing these types of costumes, in your work previously?
PO: Not quite this level for me. Kind of hinting at it. But this was as good as it gets. They were making these jackets, like, from their jacket guy in Istanbul.
FJ: Yea, these guys were serious. We had really intricate costumes on Game of Thrones, and I remember feeling like Dickinson was like, equally up there with the kind of level of Game of Thrones wardrobe. Like, so intricate, so carefully designed. Those guys were at the top of their game.
AI: Did either of you have much familiarity with Emily Dickinson’s life or work, prior to being part of this show?
FJ: I didn’t. I grew up in the U.K., and Emily Dickinson wasn’t someone that we really study in the U.K. And so I wasn’t really familiar with her work at all, and it wasn’t until this show that I was drawn to her.
AI: I want to ask what it was like working with Apple. Was it much different from previous shows you’ve worked on?
FJ: I was really surprised at how elevated everything was. They really spent the money where it was necessary. They didn’t pinch pennies, they allowed the creative process to take its time, they weren’t trying to rush anything, And really, they were hiring the best-qualified, most-skilled person for the jobs.
And they just have a really awesome eye for creativity. They’re excellent to work for, they really are. They really are doing a great thing with Apple TV, I think.
PA: I was trying to think if I could isolate any specific moments in the shooting, where I was like ‘this is Apple,’ but I guess it’s kind of a testament to Apple that I couldn’t distinguish their set from any other set, right? I guess in a way that sort of means that they got there, fast enough, with no practice or whatever.
FJ: Yea, they really did.
PA: I feel like surrounding Apple, and surrounding the show, the way everybody talks about it is, “well, it is Apple, so” they’re gonna do it right. Just in terms of how everything is organized, and how everything runs.
AI: So Finn, you were on Game of Thrones, and you did the Marvel shows for Netflix. And both Game of Thrones and Marvel are known for having pretty intense fandoms. What’s it been like dealing with the fandom of Dickinson? Do you get the sense that the fandom has an identity, and you hear from them a lot?
FJ: The Dickinson fandom is definitely very passionate about the Emily and Sue relationship. So I guess my character comes in and really messes that whole thing up. It’s been really fun to see the reaction of them. They hate the character, but for all the right reasons. It’s kind of really fun to be on that end of it. It’s cool- I like playing the bad boy.
AI: Pico, how much fun did you have doing that “Scarlett Letter” scene, in the fifth episode?
PA: Oh man, it was so fun! I got to speak in a funny voice, and dress up The whole thing was just fun. Every damn scene is so crazy and over the top. It was just a blast to shoot, and working with Anna [Baryshnikov] was great, she’s the best.
AI: We know that Dickinson has been renewed for a third season. Do you know when they’re getting underway with production?
FJ: I’m not sure, actually. I think Alena [Smith, the creator, and showrunner] is writing it at the moment, so I imagine they’ll be in production soon. I know Hailee [Steinfeld] is shooting that Marvel show, Hawkeye, so I’m guessing she’ll have to finish up on that before they can start filming. I’m sure it’ll be soon.
AI: My last question is, just give people the quick pitch- if people haven’t watched Dickinson yet, why should they should to watch it?
FJ: I think it’s fun, it’s kind of light-hearted, but at the same time it tackles really interesting issues. And it’s very socially relevant, and it’s just gorgeous, a beautiful show to watch. So yea- Sexy, fun, and interesting.
PA: And a great soundtrack.
The second season of Dickinson continues through February 26, on Apple TV+.