EXCLUSIVE: 'Transparent' Star Kathryn Hahn on Her Most Important Working Relationship

by Stacy Lambe 6:02 AM PST, December 26, 2016
Photo: Getty Images

In any given year, since Kathryn Hahn debuted in 2003’s How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, she has had at least two to three films in theaters, not to mention her many notable TV roles. And 2016 was no different, with the release of the R-rated comedy Bad Moms, the Screen Actors Guild-nominated Captain Fantastic with Viggo Mortensen and Adam Sandler’s The Do-Over, as well as a recurring role on Transparent and landing a new comedy, I Love Dick. (Both series are on Amazon.)

A true working actress, Hahn delivers every time. “It’s why I got in this mess in the first place,” she tells ET. “I was able to play all those different parts and take swings.”

MORE: 'Transparent' Star Melora Hardin Finds the Magic in the Meltdown

While she’s managed to escape any obvious typecasting, the actress shines in comedies, which she credits director Adam McKay, whom she worked with early in her career, for “cracking that open” for her. But it’s her role as Raquel Fein on Transparent that really sets her apart. 

One of TV’s most put-upon characters (“I love this part so much,” she says), Raquel has to navigate the ups and (mostly) downs of being associated with the Pfefferman family, led by transgender matriarch Maura (Jeffrey Tambor). In season three, Raquel is pushed to her limits, bringing herself (and audiences alike) to tears as she argues with Sarah Pfefferman (Amy Landecker) over spirituality, forcing her to back away from the family. “She just kind of had to quit the Pfeffermans, and it’s hard,” Hahn says, adding: “There has to be a crash and burn before Raquel can rise again.”

 “She's just the funniest, smartest, deepest, most adorable mess,” co-star Jay Duplass says of Hahn's character. 

Kathryn Hahn on Transparent. Photo: Amazon

Hahn’s roles on Transparent and I Love Dick, which was picked up for a full season after the pilot debuted online in September, are no coincidence. Both were created by Jill Soloway, who also directed Hahn in the 2013 family dramedy Afternoon Delight. The Sundance hit earned Hahn a Gotham Independent Film Award nomination for Breakthrough Actor. “That’s the most important working relationship in my life for sure,” Hahn says. “I hold it very dear.” 

While Hahn has worked with McKay and Judd Apatow multiple times and starred in two of Jason Bateman’s films, it’s her work with Soloway that seems to pull out the best in both of them. “She’s my muse,” Soloway says, adding that Hahn’s role on I Love Dick may finally earn her a long overdue Emmy nomination. “We got to work on it.” 

MORE: How Judith Light Overcame Her Fears of Filming an Orgasm on 'Transparent'

“It just feels like home when I walk onto one of her sets,” Hahn says of Soloway. The pairing of the two has been dubbed “Hahn Solo” by fans. “I like what we’re making, the questions that we’re asking.” 

While Amazon’s pickup of I Love Dick means that Hahn is done with Transparent, it doesn’t mean fans won’t see Raquel again in the future. “I was very clear to Jill that I can’t not ever come back,” she says. “There’s some unfinished business.”

--Additional reporting from Ashley Crossan