Kathryn Hahn on Creating Her Character for Her First Leading Film Role in ‘Afternoon Delight’
If you’re watching a movie that stars Will Ferrell or Paul Rudd (or both), there’s a good chance Kathryn Hahn is going to make an appearance at some point. Hahn has appeared in roles (both big and small) in movies like Anchorman, Step Brothers, Wanderlust, How Do You Know, and Our Idiot Brother, and she’s also appeared in plenty of other movies roles and played reoccurring characters on television shows like Parks and Recreation, Crossing Jordan, and Girls.
However, in the indie movie Afternoon Delight Hahn finally has the opportunity to star in a leading film role alongside Josh Radnor. She spoke to Interview magazine about establishing a new character and the importance of developing that character’s backstory.
When asked if she ever thinks about the backstory of the character she is playing, Hahn answers, “I think it depends on the project. It was definitely imperative that we not work in a vacuum. I felt like Josh and I and Jill [Soloway, the film's director] wanted this marriage to feel real, very specific. Like they’ve been together forever. We kept talking about that idea of being together forever, the ways you behave. The way you let your stomachs hang out, for instance. We had soft bellies around each other, we kept returning to that idea of soft bellies, those parts of yourself you only show your partner. Backstory is huge, it’s so important, and I love that stuff as an actor. It was definitely important in this that such a thing be there. We worked really hard on that together.”
Hahn points out that she finds it much more challenging to create a new character than starring as an already established character. She explains, “Taking on an iconic character is difficult, sure, people associate different actors with a character that you’re playing, but there’s something in rehearsing and developing a new character. Jill Soloway is so awesome. She was so good at working with me and Josh and our whole cast. We didn’t feel outside pressure creating this together. This was like an amazing, intense summer camp and there just happened to be a camera there. I don’t think there’s anybody else on the planet who could have made this movie. We discovered it together and it’s such a credit to her confidence as a director. “