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Why Vi From Arcane Sounds So Familiar

Riot Games' "Arcane," inspired by its best-selling "League of Legends" game and marking the game company's first foray into television, is due on Netflix on Nov. 6. When the adult animated series launches, it'll be set in Piltover, a utopian region, and an oppressed under-city district called Zaun — and it'll follow several iconic champions from the game (via Deadline). 

The series features a great deal of high-powered voice talent from the likes of Katie Leung, Jason Spisak, Toks Olagundoye, J.B. Blanc and Harry Lloyd, and the woman who voices Vi is no exception. And in case you're not up on your "League of Legends" trivia, Vi is a hotheaded former criminal who fights with a pair of powered gauntlets and now helps keep the peace in Piltover. 

Once you see and hear her, you're probably going to think she sounds familiar. You're probably more used to seeing her in the flesh: Vi is played by veteran actress Hailee Steinfeld, whom you've seen in movies like 2010's "True Grit," which constituted her big break — she was just 14 when starred in the movie, for which she received an Oscar nomination in 2011 for best supporting actress (via The Hollywood Reporter). She followed that up with "The Edge of Seventeen," "Ender's Game," "Barely Lethal" and the 2019 "Charlie's Angels" reboot. She will also play a major role in Disney's upcoming "Hawkeye" TV series on Disney+, where she becomes Marvel character Kate Bishop. However, you're most likely to have seen and heard this actress in a few other high-profile projects from the last six or so years. 

Hailee Steinfeld played legacy Bella Emily Junk in two Pitch Perfect films

You may recall that in "Pitch Perfect 2," the Barden Bellas have fallen a bit from their lofty position as national title winners thanks to a botched performance at Lincoln Center. Despite the ensuing scandal and the fact they're not allowed to audition any new members as a result, super-enthusiastic legacy student Emily Junk — played by Hailee Steinfeld — still wants to join the a capella group the minute she steps on campus. In the end, the group is able to redeem itself at the world championships in part by singing an original song that Emily wrote, which features generations of Bellas singing harmony behind the main characters. Her character returned in the more action-oriented "Pitch Perfect 3" from 2017 as well.  

"I saw the first movie when it came out and I thought it was the best movie ever made. I remember saying 'if there's ever another movie similar to this, I have to be a part of it,' Steinfeld told BBC News. "And then, of course, a couple of years later there was the sequel. I went to the audition thinking music is really the reason I want to do this. Not necessarily thinking what would come out of it — but, yeah, that was one of the main reasons I wanted to get involved."

"Pitch Perfect 2" did indeed jump-start her music career. According to Billboard, she had just released a debut EP called "Haiz" when the 2015 film released. After that, she placed five songs on the Billboard Hot 100. And, by the way, she was 18 in that film. 

Hailee Steinfeld played Charlie Watson in Bumblebee

2018's "Bumblebee" was praised by The Hollywood Reporter as being "the first 'Transformers' film to be almost universally praised by critics," turning what was intended as a spin-off into a possible new direction for the franchise at large (even though it didn't do as well as some of the previous Michael Bay-helmed projects at the box office, per /Film). Hailee Steinfeld was credited with humanizing the big-budget action movie with her portrayal of Charlie Watson, a girl who is grieving the loss of her father in 1987 when she meets the titular Autobot, who is hiding out and recovering. In its review, The New York Times called her "the most appealing, maybe the only appealing, main human character this franchise has yet offered."

"Being a part of a franchise that is so huge was very exciting to me, but reading the script and learning what kind of story they wanted to make, how different it is to the rest of the franchise, that excited me even more. The script had this young girl who's completely normal, has no special powers, but she can take on the world without that. She's an honest portrayal of a young girl growing up and feeling misunderstood," Steinfeld told THR of why the role appealed to her.

She also performed a song, "Back to Life," for the movie's closing credits.

Hailee Steinfeld is Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse's Gwen Stacy

That same month, Steinfeld made her debut in the Marvel universe, playing Gwen Stacy aka Spider-Woman in Sony's "Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse" animated film. You may recall that in this film, Gwen Stacy was a Spider-themed hero from a different dimension, pulled into Miles Morales' reality by Kingpin's Super-Collider. Bitten by a radioactive spider at a young age, her best friend was once Peter Parker, whose death becomes a prime motivating factor in her heroism. She was technically the first character from another dimension that Miles met, having gone undercover at his school, Brooklyn's Visions Academy, once her Spider-Sense led her there. You may remember that Miles — developing his super-powers — got his hands stuck in her hair, forcing her to shave one side of her head.

"Spider-Gwen is everything I've ever dreamed of being. Playing this character really was a dream come true — playing a superhero, at that. But she really is just a free-spirited, spunky, witty, natural leader that is all-around awesome," Steinfeld said in an iHollywoodTV interview, also calling the character "quite inspiring." 

Steinfeld will be returning to the role for the sequel (via THR), which is due out next year.

Hailee Steinfeld plays a famous poet in Dickinson

"Dickinson" on Apple TV+ will be airing its third and final season starting Nov. 5, which means — with "Hawkeye" on Disney+ also set to launch — Steinfeld will have two new series available on streaming services at the same time. In this teen period comedy — that still has modern sensibilities, even as it structures episodes around Emily Dickinson's poems — Steinfeld plays a cool, contemporized version of the poet herself. Deadline reported in late 2020 that the show is one of the best-received on Apple's platform and the first to get a third-season order — but it will also be the show's last (via /Film). "Dickinson" is also Apple TV+'s first show to win a Peabody Award.

The show marks Steinfeld's first lead role in a TV series. The actress said no similar opportunities had come her way previously, despite the focus on TV resulting from a proliferation of streaming services. "This was an amazing introduction into the TV space," Steinfeld told Collider about the show, which also marked her debut as an executive producer.