Emily talks like a 21st century twentysomething
In Emily's first scene she says the word "bullshit." She's referring to the notion that she has to go get water for her family instead of her brother Austin. "They're still humans, they still feel, if they could emote in ways that we do now, what would that sound like?" Steinfeld says. "It was so exciting to me to play into that, because the reality of a situation like that is bullshit."
Steinfeld admitted that blending the modern attitude with the period aesthetic took some getting used to. "I have done period pieces in the past, one being Shakespeare, and of course you're just like high and tight," she says. "You can't stray. There's a certain cadence you have to fall into. Emily Dickinson broke just about every rule. So we broke some of the rules on this one too."
Smith's career is full of this kind of dichotomy. She's a playwright with credits on dramas like The Affair and The Newsroom who became best known for her Twitter account-turned-book "Tween Hobo." "In my core I am, in certain ways I guess, a pretty serious dramatic writer, but at the same time I spend all my time on Twitter and I like ironic internet memes," Smith says. For Toby Huss, who plays Emily's strict father Edward, reacting to Emily's vocabulary is no different than reacting to his own daughter's. "If my kids are saying modern things, to me that's the same as my daughter when she's 16 in, whatever, 2014 saying things to me that I don't understand as a parent," he says. "What are you fucking talking about, you Los Feliz kid? I don't get it."