Kathryn Hahn had strep throat on Valentine's Day. When HuffPost Entertainment spoke to her that afternoon, she was hopped up on antibiotics but determined to uphold dinner plans with her husband (Ethan Sandler). "They’ll just put me in a corner booth. I’ll be like the girl in the bubble," Hahn said. "It's highly romantic."
We never got to find out how that date went, but we did pick up a thing or two about "Afternoon Delight," the 2013 dramedy written and directed by Jill Soloway, who's best known for her work on "Six Feet Under," "United States of Tara" and the new Amazon pilot "Transparent." "Delight" premiered at last year's Sundance Film Festival, where it won the Directing Award (U.S. Dramatic). Now out on DVD and available on iTunes, the movie depicts Rachel, a stay-at-home mom (Hahn) stuck in a sexless marriage with her app-inventing husband (Josh Radnor). After the couple attempts to spice things by visiting a strip club, Rachel hires a lap dancer named McKenna (Juno Temple), who's also a self-described "full-service sex worker," as the couple's live-in nanny.
Hahn remained in bright spirits during our 25-minute phone conversation, during which she also discussed her all-star Peter Bogdanovich movie, having worked with both Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, and whether she could see her "Girls" character reuniting with Jessa.
McKenna is a rather extreme example of a 20-something finding herself. Were you anything like that at 20?
It’s so interesting you say that about McKenna because what made that role so interesting and how Jill wrote her and the genius of how Juno played her was that she feels like she really does know who she is and that she’s okay. There’s always this romantic notion of saving the prostitute or the sex worker or stripper, because there can't be any possible reason she'd want to be in that position -- no pun intended. But I think McKenna at least has a really good cover that she’s going to be okay. But I was not together as a 20-year-old, at all. I thought I was. I mean, I think about it now. I’m 40. I smoked like there was no tomorrow because I didn't think anything would ever happen. Never thought about it, never thought about consequences. I could barely balance a checkbook. I was constantly borrowing money from my boyfriend. It was a disaster. And talk about a glutton for punishment -- he’s the best, he’s since married me. We've been together for so long.
So you did marry the boyfriend who lent you that money?
Yes! We’ve been together 20 years.
Did you ever repay him?
It’s a constant repayment. Like on hot Valentine’s date nights. We'll see what happens for him.
Did you rehearse the intimate scenes, like when you go with McKenna to one of her client's homes for a rendezvous?
The amazing John Kapelos, who plays the John in that scene, is incredible. He did the table read and then we didn’t see him again until that day. And we were already deep in the shoot, and it was a very short, intense schedule. Jill had us rehearse the scene where I walk in a couple of times, but we didn't rehearse any of their sex. We rehearsed the scene where we walked in a couple of times because he needed to take over the set. It needed to be his house. We were all a well-oiled machine, so it took a second, but boy, it did not take that long. It’s that beautiful combination of being a sexy daddy and being so calming and comforting yet so powerful. They have such an easy rapport. It shouldn't feel dangerous. It’s a hard tone to get. And so we spent a while just getting into the physicality. She had us do the number once without the dialogue. She had us just walking in just so that we could feel it and own it, and I could feel smaller and Juno could also feel smaller. She’s amazing, Jill. And also the light was going down, which actually worked in our favor because we had no time to shoot that sex scene. It was a beautiful ripping off of the Band-Aid that, I think, worked really in our favor. The more you sit in that, the more self-conscious you get. But I’m saying that when all I had to do was sit on the chaise lounge and watch it, but the two of them were so unbelievable together.
How do you keep a straight face opposite Jane Lynch and her bowl of quinoa?
Ugh. You don’t. You really don’t. You just thank God for the reaction, for the coverage. It’s impossible. And also because Jill knows Jane so well, and she would start giggling about it and I would start giggling about it. Jane knows exactly how to sit into a joke in a way that maximizes it. There are long takes of her just chewing. It’s impossible to keep it together. That’s the first day of the shoot. We did all the therapy scenes on the first day. And it’s like its own short film, because if you just look at Lenore, played by Jane Lynch, it’s such an amazing arc.
You and Paul Rudd have become frequent co-stars. Do you have a wild offscreen rapport by now?
It’s just ridiculous. You could not write this book. It’s so many fart jokes. We're the lowest common denominator -- it’s brilliant. I grew up with two younger brothers, and it feels like the same vibe. It’s just Fart Jokes City. And then I have to compartmentalize and go home and be like, “Kids, farting is not funny for you. But for mommy it’s hilarious.”
Your character from "Girls" needs to run into Jessa on the street.
I absolutely think that needs to happen, especially after all that lady has been through since we left Katherine Lavoyt and she was last able to talk to her about her beautiful, long, flowing mermaid hair. Absolutely. She’s been through quite a journey, that Jessa. I would love it, but I have no idea if [returning] is in the cards. It would be hard because that husband and I -- we're definitely not together anymore.
"Squirrels to the Nuts" -- also known as "She's Funny That Way" -- is directed by Peter Bogdanovich, produced by Noah Baumbach and Wes Anderson, and stars Owen Wilson and Jennifer Aniston. What was that project like?
Yes! I will tell you that it is, I think, actually going to be called “Squirrels to the Nuts.”
Good. Don’t you think that’s a more appealing title anyway?
Yes, absolutely. That what his original title. That’s a quote from a film, I remember him telling me. Let me find it. I’m on antibiotics right now. What film is that from? I’m literally googling “Squirrel to the Nuts what film is that from?” It’s not giving me an answer. Anyway, that’s easy to find. [It's from a line in the 1946 movie "Cluny Brown."] We shot it last summer in miserable weather in [New York City], which is so weird because it was so hot last summer. God love Bogdanovich, because that gentleman never took that cravat off. He just would not do it. Even if it was hot, God love him, he would sometimes dip it in ice water and put it back on.
You’ve worked with Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. Which one is your favorite?
Oh, good, that is a good and easy question that does not get me into any trouble. That’s brilliant. I really want to make a joke just to start a thing. It’s crazy not only that they both exist right now as such perfect human specimens, but I don’t know how they do it. They’re incredible, all of it in one package. And then the fact that they work so well together -- it’s really romantic in the best way. I know Amy a bit better socially, and Amy’s incredible and a pal. And Tina I’ve worked with, and I like her so much. But when you see the two of them together, you just want to be at that party.
Did you get any insider gossip from one of them about the other?
There’s just a lot of silent fights between the two of them. [Laughs] I just worship the both of them. And what I love is that when I met Tina it was doing “This is Where I Leave You,” which is a very, very funny movie, but there's a lot of hard stuff in it, and she’s such a good actor. But the both of them are. I finally was able to see the ["Parks and Recreation" episode] where [Rashida Jones] and [Rob Lowe] leave the show, which is Sob City. They’re both such incredibly good actors, which I know should not surprise me at all. But it could be the icing. I think hosting is completely its own bird: that they're able to conquer that as well as incredibly difficult acting roles. They're aliens. I don't know how they do it. They're from other planets.
Are you ever told you look just like Chessy, Lindsay Lohan's housekeeper in the "Parent Trap" remake? Or is that just me?
I’ve not heard that before, but I’m going to put it right on my IMDB. Can we always just say Kathryn Hahn of “The Parent Trap”? Can we always say that? Please, from now on?
This interview has been condensed from a longer conversation with Hahn.
Watch the "Afternoon Delight" trailer: