‘Tiny Beautiful Things’ Interview: Kathryn Hahn

‘Tiny Beautiful Things’ Interview: Kathryn Hahn

Premiering April 7th on Hulu is the new series ‘Tiny Beautiful Things,’ which is based on the novel of the same name by Cheryl Strayed (‘Wild’), and is executive produced by Oscar winners Reese Witherspoon (‘Walk the Line’) and Laura Dern (‘Marriage Story’).

What is the plot of ‘Tiny Beautiful Things?’

Based on the best-selling collection by Cheryl Strayed, ‘Tiny Beautiful Things’ follows Clare (Kathryn Hahn) a floundering writer who becomes a revered advice columnist while her own life is falling apart. When we first meet Clare, her marriage to her husband Danny (Quentin Plair) is barely limping along; her teenage daughter, Rae (Tanzyn Crawford), is pushing her away; and her once-promising writing career is non-existent.

So when an old writing pal asks her to take over as the advice columnist Dear Sugar, she thinks she has no business giving anyone advice. After reluctantly taking on the mantle of Sugar however, Clare’s life unfurls in a complex fabric of memory, exploring her most pivotal moments from childhood through present day, and excavating the beauty, struggle, and humor in her unhealed wounds. Through Sugar, Clare forms a salve for her readers – and for herself – to show us that we are not beyond rescue, that our stories can ultimately save us, and, perhaps, bring us back home.

Who is in the cast of ‘Tiny Beautiful Things?’

‘Tiny Beautiful Things’ stars Kathryn Hahn (‘Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery’) as Clare, Sarah Pidgeon (‘Gotham’) as young Clare, Quentin Plair (‘The Good Doctor’) as Danny, Tanzyn Crawford (’Servant’) as Rae, Merritt Wever (‘Michael Clayton’) as Frankie, and Michaela Watkins (‘Paint’) as Amy.

Moviefone recently had the pleasure of speaking with Kathryn Hahn about her work on ‘Tiny Beautiful Things,’ what excited her about the role, Clare’s decision to become Sugar, and working with actress Sarah Pidgeon to create both versions of Clare as one seamless character.

Kathryn Hahn as Clare in Hulu’s ‘Tiny Beautiful Things.’ Photo: Jessica Brooks/Hulu.

You can read our full interview below or click on the video player above to watch our interviews with Hahn, Sarah Pidgeon, Quentin Plair and Tanzyn Crawford, and series creator Liz Tigelaar and author Cheryl Strayed.

Moviefone: To begin with, what were some of the aspects of the character that you were excited to explore with this series?

Kathryn Hahn: I was excited about her change, about her willingness, and about her courage to change. I was excited about really digging deep into how difficult it is to reframe and re-address how trauma lodges in someone. How hard it is, difficult it is to change as a human especially when you are in a long-term relationship, and especially when you’re a mother or when you’re defined as other things. That felt very compelling to me.

Kathryn Hahn as Clare in Hulu's 'Tiny Beautiful Things.'

Kathryn Hahn as Clare in Hulu’s ‘Tiny Beautiful Things.’ Photo: Elizabeth Morris/Hulu.

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MF: Can you talk about Clare’s decision to become Sugar and how that changes her outlook on life and her future?

KH: I think that’s the inciting incident for her for all of this change. I think that she had always wanted to be a writer, and a lot of that happened to do with her mother’s desire for her to be a writer, her mother who had died when she was very young, and that certainly was a starting point for her. She thought she was unworthy of being a writer, unworthy of any of it because of the self-destruction she had done once her mother died. She kind of threw herself into a pretty nasty degree of self-harm, and so it was impossible for her to see that there was a track back. Then, this man from her past played by the amazing Zak Orth, kind of got her back on track with this opportunity anonymously. I think it was once she started reading the letters and saw the radical, blindingly naked vulnerability in these letters that compelled her. She had no choice but to answer back with her own nakedly vulnerable and honest self in a way that she even was not quite ready to examine in her own voice. It was only through her writing.

Sarah Pidgeon as young Clare in Hulu's 'Tiny Beautiful Things.'

Sarah Pidgeon as young Clare in Hulu’s ‘Tiny Beautiful Things.’ Photo: Elizabeth Morris/Hulu.

MF: Finally, you share your role with actress Sarah Pidgeon, who plays the younger version of Claire. Did you work closely with her to create a seamless performance for the character?

KH: Sarah Pidgeon is so extraordinary. We did not have much time to work together. I saw her amazing audition tape, and then she was cast. We had a very short workshop together, and that was basically it. She shadowed me, but I wish we had had more time. But she shadowed me, I think, for the first couple of episodes when we didn’t have as many flashbacks. She watched the monitor, and then it was off to the races, but the way you look at her, she had no idea who she was to become. She had no idea what her older self was going to be, so she was playing in this very raw emotional state, like the trauma had just happened. She was in the scene with her mom, so I was able to take a few things from her. 20 years is a long time, I’ve dyed my hair so many times since then, and I also shrank about a foot and a half. I feel like we were able to just seamlessly and wordlessly become one. Our transition seemed so seamless, and we would send each other poems and send each other pieces of music, and it was very nonverbal. I think it kind of worked in our favor because it was very important to me, and I think to Liz as well that it not feel like mimicry because, again, 20 years is a long time. So it just felt very organically and just perfect. I think she’s incredible.

Kathryn Hahn as Clare in Hulu's 'Tiny Beautiful Things.'

Kathryn Hahn as Clare in Hulu’s ‘Tiny Beautiful Things.’ Photo: Jessica Brooks/Hulu.

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