Actress Kathryn Hahn and Writer/Director Tamara Jenkins Visited LAFS to Discuss Their New Netflix Original Movie
The Los Angeles Film School, in partnership with Jeff Goldsmith from The Q&A Podcast, held a special screening of Private Life on campus in the Main Theatre for students and select guests. After the show, Kathryn Hahn and Tamara Jenkins discussed how they got their start in the entertainment industry and what it was like working on Private Life together. Check out some of the best moments of the night below!
About Private Life:
Tamara Jenkins is back after an 11-year hiatus. Her new movie, Private Life, is a comedy-drama that follows one married couple’s desperate journey to having a baby. No matter what stage in life you’re in, Jenkins provides heartfelt insight into some of adulthood’s most intimate and honest struggles. Private Life stars Paul Giamatti (as Richard Grimes) and Kathryn Hahn (as Rachel Grimes) as they explore in vitro fertilization (IVF) and other assisted reproduction methods. Things don’t go as planned for the couple, and they are met with failed IVF attempts, prying family members and many uncomfortable doctor visits. It’s currently available to stream on Netflix.
Best Moments of the Q&A with Kathryn Hahn and Tamara Jenkins
What was it like going from the stage to the screen for the first time (referring to Kathryn’s debut movie, Flushed)?
KATHRYN: This is so weird, actually, because we premiered this film (Private Life) after Sundance at the New York Film Festival at Lincoln Center, which is a total, crazy dream. And Flushed also premiered in a teeny-tiny theatre at Lincoln Center many years before. At the time, I was working as a receptionist at a hair salon and I would go on auditions at the Backstage. It was a crazy journey.
What was your worst audition?
KATHRYN: Weirdly enough, it was for the Cohen Brothers. The movie was for Inside Llewyn Davis —or Inside Ellen Lewis, which is what I kept calling it. It didn’t work out because I brought props and just had too many things in my hands. It was a small room. I was too close to the casting crew. It just wasn’t great.
What is your writing process like?
TAMARA: The thing that’s so weird about writing is that it’s a muscle. The more you do it, the better you get. Also, the ritual of showing up and being open to that part of your brain. The problem with being a writer/director is that you spend all your time writing, and then making your movie, and then you cut your movie, and eventually, you forget the writing process. Sometimes I feel like a fraud.
Would you ever consider writing as an actress?
KATHRYN: I think I would argue that in some of the work I’ve been asked to do, it involves a lot of improvising, and I would consider myself a major contributor to the writing of that work.
What was your toughest scene?
TAMARA: The Thanksgiving scene. And writing Sadie’s character, who is a 25-year-old, but it’s written by someone over 50; I just wanted her character to be right and not a cliché. Anyway, I was nervous about Sadie and I was nervous about Thanksgiving.
KATHRYN: The first twelve days of the shoot was in the apartment and it was just three people—Richard, Rachel and Sadie. Then the Thanksgiving dinner scene exploded with all these other humans. It definitely felt disorienting. But I love that feeling of being around the table and having real food and getting it all on camera.