Why Jean Smart made his ‘hacks’ co-star Hannah Einbinder cry

Desperation is a common thread in “Hacks”, HBO Max’s dark comedy. Comedy legend Deborah Vance (Jean Smart) reluctantly hires writer Ava Daniels (Hannah Einbinder) to punch her number because she desperately wants to keep her Las Vegas residence. Ava, a self-centered Hollywood prodigy turned outcast thanks to an offensive tweet, accepts the job because she has no other options. At the start of the first season, their contempt for each other is visceral, but in the end, they forged a tenuous friendship. Just in time for a big cliffhanger.

For much of the season, Deborah deals with Ava in a manner similar to Louis Gossett Jr.’s treatment of Richard Gere in “An Officer and a Gentleman,” but with less warmth. After a particularly brutal exchange, an enraged Ava briefly leaves and puts the dirt on Deborah to strangers. Soon returned to the fold, she realizes that her betrayal could explode everything she and Deborah worked so hard to create.

Einbinder, along with the show’s many fans, have to wait to find out what happens in Season 2. “I have no idea how this scene ended and I’m desperate to know,” says she.

Hannah Einbinder and Jean Smart in a scene from "Hacks."

Hannah Einbinder and Jean Smart in a scene from “Hacks”.

(HBO Max)

In the meantime, the series has garnered 15 Emmy nominations, including a lead actress for Smart and support for Einbinder, her debut – and first role with a name. She had worked regularly as an actress before landing the concert; her flowing, confident stand-up style is an act made more impressive when she discusses the extreme anxiety that disturbs her before each performance. “My nerves became almost unmanageable before I went on stage,” she says. “When I have my first laugh, they completely disappear.”

Einbinder, 26, wasn’t nervous while auditioning for “Hacks” because she didn’t think she had a chance, even though she implicitly understood Ava. “I’ve never seen someone who feels like someone I know / am,” she says. She was thrilled to get the part, “and then the panic started to set in because I was just feeling a ton of impostor syndrome. Honestly, that only went away the last week of filming,” in left because co-creators Lucia Aniello, Paul W. Downs and Jen Statsky let her know she made them proud. “Turns out that’s all that matters to me. I didn’t want to let them down. .

Equally important is his relationship with Smart. “It is a known fact how extremely talented Jean is, but what is so precious and important to me, and such a gift that I have received, is just being in his presence and learning. to be a better person of her. She is so generous, loving and strong. She stands up for herself, but she also welcomes those around her in a truly motherly way, and she is so lovely and lovable that everyone gravitates around Of course, when I play with her, and when I watch her play, I take a lot of notes, but who she is is so much more impressive.

Their closeness created a painful dilemma for Einbinder. Filming this big fight scene, Einbinder started crying on the first take, even though the camera was on Smart. “After they yelled ‘cut’ Jean said, ‘Honey, you gotta keep this, the camera isn’t on you right now,'” Einbinder recalls. “But I love him, and he’s an angel, so it was really confusing, because you exist in that emotion as characters who feel justified in their feelings, so it’s real, but it’s not there. It’s not. It was hard. “

Hannah Einbinder, comedian and actress

HBO’s “Hacks” co-star Hannah Einbinder is pictured at the InterContinental New York Barclay.

(Michael Nagle / For the Times)

The series shot during the pandemic, for which Einbinder was grateful. But she missed the stand-up, and as soon as the restrictions were lifted to allow comedy clubs to reopen, she returned to the scene. “I love the spontaneity of the crowd, how volatile it can be at times. It’s exciting and terrifying, and I’m sure I’m going to be in trouble later in my life because I’m releasing all that cortisol and adrenaline all the time, but it’s an incredible rush.

Acting now has its own equal and opposing appeal. “What actors and musicians have in common that comics don’t have is purity of expression. A singer can sing ‘I’m sad’ and a crowd is like ‘Yes, ‘and an actress can say’ I’m sad ‘, and the crowd is like,’Yes, ‘and a comedian says’ I’m sad ‘, and they’re like’no. How is your sadness like the DMV? List three reasons, transparently. ‘ I am, and comedians in general are, such emotional beings, but there is always this feeling of dressing, so expressing yourself is exciting. I love that.”

Also, playing the often difficult Ava made her more compassionate towards such people in the real world, “because I think there is always a reason why a person is difficult.” This is no excuse for bad behavior, but now I immediately go to the place of “Uch, this person is hurt, and I feel really sad that they are hurt and wish they weren’t.” .

Looks like she’s already ready for when Deborah finds out what Ava has been up to.

About Daniel Lange

Daniel Lange

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