Jane Krakowski and Toby Huss, who play Emily Dickinson’s buttoned-up parents in Apple TV+’s horny historical comedy Dickinson, had never worked together before joining the series, so naturally they decided to bond by taking a long road trip together. On Dickinson, Huss’s character Edward is a dour centrist politician who keeps insisting that he’s against slavery but not so radical as to be an abolitionist, while Krakowski’s Emily Norcross Dickinson is an obsessive housewife who insists that the kitchen is “kind of her thing.” They bicker a lot, but also stick together despite it all. As the two actors explained to Vulture at a Dickinson press junket, their joint trek up to Emily Dickinson’s hometown of Amherst, Massachusetts, fit those character descriptions pretty well, in that it was a bit of a disaster that nevertheless brought them together.
According to Krakowski, who was driving, their road trip got off to an awkward start when they couldn’t agree on a radio station — “We ended up on jazz because it seemed like there was no controversy there,” she said — and then went further south because Huss’s phone directions led them onto the infamously terrible Brooklyn-Queens Expressway. “Which I think is one of the most challenging roads in New York City,” Krakowski said. “I’m trying to be nice, I hate it.”
“It was pretty great,” Huss joked. “Look, I can recommend being in a car with Krakowski for three hours if you have somewhere to be. If there was nowhere to go, you’d have to pull over and you’d have to make her walk.”
Luckily, the Halt and Catch Fire and 30 Rock actors patched things up when they reached Amherst, despite the awkward experience of Emily Dickinson Museum employees asking them to read love letters written by Emily’s parents before they got married. “I’m putting ‘love’ in quotes because they were so frugal and there was no passion in them,” Krakowski said. Making things even more awkward, Edward Dickinson sent many, many more letters to his future wife, Emily Norcross, than she wrote back to him. Huss joked that she was “horrible” to him, while Krakowski said that she interpreted it as her character “being coy.” Nevertheless, for Valentine’s Day, Krakowski bought Huss a collection of letters that Dickinson’s parents wrote to one another. “We might be the only two people have bought this book,” Krakowski said. “It’s not selling like hotcakes.”
So, in the end, the trip paid off: The two co-stars figured out how to make their repartee work in Dickinson, and speak fondly of cracking each other up on set. “We have bonded in a relationship now, too,” Krakowski said. “We’re like a bickering married couple. We don’t have to work on that for the show.” Or, as Huss put it, “As long as you let Jane drive, you’re okay. I learned that during the scenes too: Let Jane drive that scene. It’ll be okay.”