Happy Labor Day folks! Hope you are all enjoying a fantastic long weekend. Mine was the perfect balance of fun and relaxation. A big highlight was catching the opening of the new film Afternoon Delight written and directed by award-winning Jill Soloway (Six Feet Under, United States of Tara). The film marks Jill’s feature directorial debut. I actually had the pleasure of seeing it premiere at Sundance Film Festival where she walked away with the Directing Award.
This intensely funny and raw movie also marks actress Kathryn Hahn’s first time as the lead in a major feature. The story revolves around her character Rachel, a seemingly happily married Silverlake suburban mom. Things get a little wild when Rachel and her husband, portrayed by the captivating Josh Radnor, go to a strip club to spice up their marriage. Shortly after she hires a stripper, played by the talented Juno Temple, to be their live-in nanny. All sorts of trouble ensue within the household and bleeds into the entire community.
Ms. Soloway was driven by “the idea of a female main character who could be an unlikely, complicated and utterly real screw-up of a woman…” She says she always felt frustrated that “studio films seemed to present my entire gender as beautiful and perfect and interested in making great choices. This movie aims to remind us that women want the same thing from movies that any audience wants from life– emotional honesty, raw comedy and the humanness of true flaws.” Scenes often take a tumble where you start off laughing and then a minute later cringing. Jill describes is as “funcomfortable”. Nailed it!
Kathryn’s performance is flawless and it’s about time this down-to-earth gal got top billing. Quite positively there will be more leads in her bright future. Powerhouse and master of comedy Jane Lynch who plays Rachel’s ‘TMI’ therapist sat alongside Jill and the Josh Radnor for a Q & A post screening. It is great to see both of these actors go to emotional places to which we are not accustomed. Josh told us that they worked with a coach on set that re-ignited his acting fire. Jane mentioned her character is something which she had been working on for years when she and Jill were living in Chicago back in the day. Jill’s style of directing sounds unique in the fact that she never did last looks or call “action’ or “cut”. The result is a level of intimacy I’ve rarely felt in a film…probably also helped that I was in the second row!
The casting was perfect – everyone completely believable and natural. From a performer’s point a view I couldn’t help but yearn to be part of their process. Although many scenes were improvised during the shoot, only about fifteen percent of that actually ended up in the final cut, a testament to the writing.
Watch as the creator and cast of the film, which includes quick wits Keegan-Michael Key and Jessica St. Clair, visit my Red Carpet and reveal their off-screen afternoon delights.