Kathryn Hahn on the discomfort of I Love Dick
On Amazon’s new art-centric comedy I Love Dick, Kathryn Hahn stars as a woman, Chris, breaking out of a mind-numbing marriage after she and her husband move to Marfa, Texas. This transition is stoked by the introduction of Dick (Kevin Bacon), a mysterious cowboy and artist Chris immediately — and, more significantly, shamelessly — desires.
Here, the actress talks about transforming into such a messy character, what it was like working with Bacon, and where her Transparent character will be during the show’s upcoming fourth season. See her in I Love Dick when its first season begins streaming in full on Amazon Friday, and watch the trailer below.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: I have to ask: Have you had any uncomfortable experiences saying the show’s title?
KATHRYN HAHN: At the beginning, it totally took a second. My children at certain points were like, “Are you still working on I Love Dick?” with no irony. But it really is an awesome bait and switch. Underneath this title is this beating, feminist heart. I love how it makes people uncomfortable to say it — especially men. [Laughs]
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The series is based on Chris Kraus’ 1997 book about her all-consuming lust for a man named Dick. What were your first impressions after reading it?
I was blown away by her voice, her insatiable hunger and forward movement. It was fearless, hilarious, maddening, complicated, and sexy — all the messy, delicious stuff you cross your fingers for as an actor.
Have you met her?
We had coffee after making the pilot. I was a little tickled by how much I had absorbed of her through her writing — that’s just how raw and personal it is.
The character of Chris operates with a frenzied bluntness. Tell me about taking on that role.
What became clear was that she was without apology, shame, or guilt. Those are certainly qualities that I have, so it was different to put myself in the headspace of someone who just doesn’t really care how she’s perceived. It was an interesting puzzle for me to unlock.
Kevin Bacon plays Dick, the mysterious object of Chris’ desire, and you two share some strange sexual scenes together. How was working with him?
He was a gem. He was just incredible to play with. It felt really, really safe — and we had to go to some pretty intense places together. [Laughs] There would be so many scenes where we would look at each other beforehand and be like, “Okay, this is going to be a trip. I‘ll just see you on the other side — and it’s going to be weird.”
So much of I Love Dick is about Chris’ uninhibited, unashamed desire. Were there conversations about the show’s feminism on set?
When I was doing the work, I wasn’t thinking about the outside political world, because there would have been a weird halo around it. For me, I just had to be true to the person — she’s petty and jealous and threatened by other women — and know in the back of my mind that what we were telling was a big, beautiful, feminist story.
You’ve worked with [I Love Dick co-creator] Jill Soloway before on another Amazon series, Transparent. What was different about this project?
It was like a heightened Jill Soloway world to me. We had an all-female writing room — which, to our knowledge, is the first of its kind. It really made for the safest room in which to work.
What’s Rabbi Raquel up to in the upcoming fourth season of Transparent?
She will probably not be making an appearance next season. After we saw her in the mikvah at the end of the third, Jill, the writers, and I thought she should have a second to gather herself before facing the Pfeffermans once again. [Laughs] But she will definitely be back.