Empty-nest syndrome affects new HBO show’s title character
Figuratively and literally, every part Kathryn Hahn has played has led her to “Mrs. Fletcher.”
The actress’ experience in roles supporting or main – and comedic or dramatic — proves cumulative in the HBO series that premieres Sunday, Oct. 27. Based on the novel by Tom Perrotta (“The Leftovers”), who also wrote the debut episode, it casts “Transparent” alum Hahn in the title role of a divorced senior-center director who finds it a challenge to adjust when her only child (portrayed by Jackson White) goes off to college. The empty-nest situation takes Eve Fletcher down a surprising path of self-discovery.
“I devoured the book and the pilot script,” Hahn says of “Mrs. Fletcher,” which also features Casey Wilson and the late Cameron Boyce (“Descendants”). She then discussed the material with Perrotta, “and I just really loved his brain and his innate curiosity and his big sort of collaborative wonderment. I thought, ‘Oh, this is going to be an interesting process.’ I just knew it right off the bat.”
Hahn also had an indication of that from having watched the 2006 movie version of Perrotta’s “Little Children,” which she deems similar to “Mrs. Fletcher” in its “lifting the veil on suburbia, and looking underneath the sprinklers at the dreams and desires and wants and longings of people you might not necessarily pay attention to. That’s the kind of neighborhood I grew up in outside of Cleveland, so it felt very familiar to me.”
Much of Hahn’s “Mrs. Fletcher” performance is reactive to circumstances and other characters, and she feels it’s “more satisfying for me, being in that stillness. When I learn the most about who I’m playing is when I’m listening, so I was really pleased by how much you get to see Eve processing things. She has such a journey of finding out who she is after this Pandora’s box has been opened once Brendan (White) leaves for college.”
Hahn also will work for HBO in the forthcoming adaptation of Wally Lamb’s best-seller “I Know This Much is True,” and she’ll enter the Marvel universe in “WandaVision” for Disney+. She’s proud of her range of projects, also encompassing movies from “Bad Moms” to “Private Life” – and she especially appreciates the boost from cable and streaming services to the sort of outside-the-box work she likes to do.
“Certainly, the roles are more rich and deep and complicated and varied,” Hahn reasons. “I don’t feel the difference between film and television at all anymore. In fact, I’ve been able to dig deeper in some of these series or limited series that I’ve been afforded to do … and if that means there are more eyeballs on them, that’s fantastic.”