Film/TV

Kathryn Hahn's Star Turn In Afternoon Delight

by Abby Schreiber
With scene-stealing parts in How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, Anchorman and Girls, actress Kathryn Hahn is known for playing the hapless best friend or the harried working mother. This month, Hahn transitions from character actress to leading lady in Jill Soloway's Afternoon Delight as Rachel, a Silver Lake housewife who makes a misguided attempt to help a stripper named McKenna (Juno Temple). Here, we talk to the actress about her star turn.

Was it difficult for you to land this role?

When I was sent the script, I felt like I knew Rachel inside and out, but I had to fight my ass off because I had never been asked to carry a movie. I had a Skype session with Jill [Soloway] and I could barely speak. I had never been as inarticulate. Afterward, I sent her a long email saying, "I know you have to fall in love with your Rachel and I promise we'll fall in love!"

Why do you think you connected with Rachel so much?

I'm a mom and have so much empathy for that crazy sense of purpose-lessness that happens when your child is a little bit older and doesn't need you as much. Helping McKenna gives her a purpose.

And, aside from giving her a purpose, why do you think Rachel is initially drawn to McKenna?

When Rachel meets McKenna in the strip club, so much is at play. She wants to mother her, she wants to fuck her, she wants to be her, she wants to save her. She is captured wholly by this person in every way. Helping McKenna gives her a purpose and Rachel can't see how selfish and self-absorbed she's being because McKenna doesn't necessarily need saving in any way.

Have you ever tried to "fix" or help someone who maybe didn't need it?

I think I'm a little too old for that nonsense now but in my twenties, there was a lot of that thinking like, "I'm the only one to save you or help you. I can change you." You're inevitably disappointed because it never goes well and that's energy spent that you'll never be able to get back. It's like from When Harry Met Sally when Sally tells Carrie Fisher's character, "He's never gonna leave her" and Carrie goes, "You're right, you're right. I know you're right." But she goes back to him anyway.

At one point in the film, Rachel mentions having once wanted to be a war correspondent. If you weren't acting, what career would you want to have?

I would love to travel be some sort of photojournalist. That would be amazing -- that is, if I knew how to work a camera in any way. I'm awful. I can barely work my phone.

Your character takes booty dance lessons from Juno Temple's character. Are you a good dancer?

I am an awful dancer. I wish I was a gifted dancer and could have that mind- body connection. But that's not what's happening. I can barely touch my toes.

Photo copyright (c) 2013 By Afternoon Delight, LLC.

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