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Q&A: Kathryn Hahn takes 'Delight' in leading role

Kathryn Hahn in "Afternoon Delight"

Kathryn Hahn in "Afternoon Delight" Credit: Kathryn Hahn in "Afternoon Delight"

Kathryn Hahn calls her starring role in “Afternoon Delight” “life- changing.”
That’s not a descriptor one casually throws around, especially when you’re a successful actor who has played a starring role on “Crossing Jordan” and parts in comedies from “Anchorman” to “We’re the Millers.”

amNewYork spoke with Hahn about what makes “Afternoon Delight” — in which she plays unhappy mom Rachel, who takes an interest in helping stripper McKenna (Juno Temple) — so special.

Why is Rachel unique?
I love that Rachel is not a 100% completely lovable, huggable easy heroine. She doesn’t fit into a specific genre or mold. She’s flawed, she’s self- involved, she’s so privileged; she’s not a cliché in any way.

Why did playing her mean so much to you?
It is incredibly rare, especially for somebody like me who just has been very blessed to just kind of hold onto the coattails of the big comedy world. ... That’s been heaven, but as an actor, as a human being, I relished [this].

What’s interesting about the movie’s look at sexuality and marriage?
The thing that was interesting to me was that it was post-mommyhood, what was it to look at a woman’s sexuality after she’s become a mom, after the kids have happened.

Are there different acting “muscles” for comedy and drama?
It absolutely all comes from the same place. I remember my acting teacher [at Yale University] saying … she asked her child about what it is to be an actor, and he said, “What’s the big deal? Just say the lines and be that guy.” … It has to come from somewhere weirdly inside, the same kernel.

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