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Kathryn Hahn Talks WandaVision And More - Exclusive Interview

While acclaimed actor Kathryn Hahn has done her fine share of creative comedy projects like the movies Step Brothers and Bad Moms, as well the TV series Parks and Recreation, Girls, and Transparent, nothing could have prepared her for the wild twists and turns coming her way with Marvel Studios' debut Disney+ series WandaVision.

That's because WandaVision, which kicks off Phase Four of the MCU, lands Hahn smack dab in the world she's never been before as an actor — the idyllic settings of television sitcoms from the 1950s, '60s and '70s reminiscent of such family-friendly classics as The Dick Van Dyke Show, Bewitched, and The Brady Bunch. It's there that Wanda Maximoff, a.k.a. Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen), and Vision (Paul Bettany) are getting a chance to live out the life of a married couple that they never had following Vision's death in Avengers: Infinity War. Hahn stars as Wanda and Vision's nosy neighbor Agnes, who may not be all that she seems since there's a much larger story unfolding around them in the suburban setting of Westview.

In an exclusive interview with Looper, Hahn discussed details about her character on WandaVision — which is streaming now on Disney+ — her work with her co-stars, and her thoughts about becoming a part of the MCU, as well as future possibilities with Marvel Studios.

Becoming the nosy neighbor

Kathryn, there's a lot of speculation about your nosy neighbor character that you may actually be Agatha Harkness. I don't expect you to answer that question, but it has to be fun getting to be a part of the Marvel Universe — there is so much fervor with the fans. They're so excited. They talk about so many different things. The anticipation level is through the roof. Do you pay attention to that stuff, and do you let it inform you in any sort of way? How does that work for your leading up to a project?

I mean, I don't have any social media at all, so that helps. I know that there are, of course, so many Marvel fans, and I know that there is a ton of anticipation for this. I've also heard some of the theories and the theorizing about many aspects of the show, and I just can't wait for the fans to see it. And for anyone that's not maybe even familiar with this particular storyline of WandaVision, I think they're still going get just such a kick out of it. I mean, you've seen them, they're not only just charming and delightful on the surface, but you just can feel that something is building and churning along underneath it. Anyway, people are just in for a treat.

Also, the name Agnes simply may be a tip of the cap to Agnes Moorehead in Bewitched, because you are that sort of sitcom character.

I took a lot of inspiration from, there's so many different... In every one of those sitcoms there is that character that is just kind of [nosy]. Like we had just talked about in the conference, that just shows up uninvited and then just kind of plops herself down and just seems to offer polite advice non-stop, solicited or non, that is just kind of always there to kind of keep the main couple on check, a little bit on tiptoes. Wanda and Vision move to this new town, and they're trying to fit in the best they can. And so, with somebody kind of breathing down your neck that lives right next door, she just makes it a little bit more difficult for them.

Finding chemistry with Elizabeth Olsen

How does working with Elizabeth and Paul enhance your performance? Especially with Elizabeth in those first couple of episodes where you had a lot of scenes together. You have such a fantastic chemistry. It has to help you up your game in some sort of way.

It always does. You can't act in a vacuum. I mean, most of anything I do, it's like about just reading in the same space as you've seen your partner and you find so much of your performance through the other person as well. I mean, for myself, at least I find that's where... anything you try to preplan too much, for me, it never seems to work. And so yes, I was so excited to work with her in advance because I just think she's so tremendous. And then when we got down to it, I mean, she's just a phenomenal, diligent, wonderful actor, so it was just an ease and a pleasure with all of the other things that we had to, I'm not even going to say challenges because it was so fun as an actor, but all the other elements that we had to put on. The costumes, the period, the accent, everything, the lights — turns out they're much hotter in the '50s... But we were able to work throughout all of that. She's just such a decent human, and we did have such great chemistry, which is no small thing. I care about her very deeply.

One thing you didn't mention is being part of the opening of the second episode, where you're animated, Bewitched style. I mean, that's a sort of thing you could freeze frame, print it out and hang it on the wall. How cool is that? It's like you're almost being transported to the opening of Bewitched in a way.

It's the coolest. There are so many things about this, though, that if you just step back and start to [think about it], it's hard to even wrap your mind around. Had I known that I would be in the MCU in live-action in any capacity, that is still blowing my mind... that my entrance into it would have been into a 1950s sitcom is still like, what? I still am tickled by the whole thing, for sure.

Experiencing a different kind of comedy

I'm sure it's a thrilling time when you get the call and you're considered for WandaVision. I have to tell you how much I love you in films like Step Brothers and Bad Moms, and TV shows like Parks and Rec, Girls and Transparent. Were any of those films or TV shows instrumental in helping you get WandaVision?

I don't know. I mean, every new gig builds upon the one before, I suppose. I think for this, it was really about looking, especially at the beginning, in the '50s. It's a different kind of a comedy. Not only multicam, but just that period, there is a certain rhythm and craft and rigidity, and then there's also an ease that has to be found. They're so relaxed, like The Dick Van Dyke Show, everybody is so relaxed and that only can happen after so much rehearsal of bits and moments and all those little like, jumping over the couch and things, [like] Dick Van Dyke. You realize, "That's some craft."

And I feel like, at least for myself, comedy-wise, (that I) have been so in the kind of anarchic, a little bit like improv world, loosey-goosey, that it was just the idea of going back to [that style of comedy that] was so inspiring and very moving to me, to feel that bridge, comedy-wise, was really moving. And like we'd said before in the conference, it was true. It didn't feel like we were parodying it or satirizing it. We were trying to get inside of it, which is a different thing. We are so cynical right now, and comedy can be so cynical — and there was something so pure and innocent about it, knowing that there's roiling underneath, of course, and that we're not just doing it for the sake of mimicking episodes of television. There was something earnest about it that was for refreshing for me as a cynic. It was definitely fun.

Would Kathryn Hahn leap back into the Spider-Verse?

I'm hoping that there was some sort of influence being in the Marvel Universe before with Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. I mean, certainly a role like Dock Ock in a smash film — and a memorable role at that — had to at least have put you on Marvel's radar.

Yeah, maybe, I don't know. I mean, live-action is certainly different than animation, but that was a real treat to be a part of. I love that film so much.

I don't know if you're a fan of The Mandalorian, but It's been exciting for fans to see animated Star Wars characters turn up in The Mandalorian. I'm thinking "If Katee Sackhoff can go from The Clone Wars to The Mandalorian in live-action, who's to say that Kathryn Hahn can't go from Into the Spider-Verse as Doc Ock to the live-action version of Spider-Man since the third one's going to be a multiverse film?" Have you given that any thought yet?

You know, who's to say? You're absolutely right. As Kevin [Feige] said, "This is a whole brand-new chapter." This show [WandaVision] feels unlike anything that the MCU has ever done before on so many levels. I just feel like the rules are changing every second. And the rules are, there really are no rules, which makes it really exciting for fans and for creators. So yeah, for sure.