This story about Kathryn Hahn first appeared in the Limited Series & TV Movies issue of TheWrap’s awards magazine.
Kathryn Hahn never expected that her brief foray into trapeze artistry in her 20s would come in handy until she was hanging by wires pretending to fling magic blasts at Elizabeth Olsen.
“It’s so surreal. It’s so trippy,” Hahn said about filming the “WandaVision” finale, which featured a huge blockbuster-size stunt that pitted Hahn’s Agatha Harkness against Olsen’s Wanda Maximoff. Luckily for Marvel’s Kevin Feige and company, Hahn was more than game and brought an unexpected background from her early days in Los Angeles.
“When I first moved to L.A., I had done a little bit of trapeze,” she said. “My trapeze career was abruptly ended because I got my foot caught in the safety rope one time. It was the rope burn of all rope burns. But this was a whole other ballgame. My takeaway is that I am obsessed with the stunt community. I just have such awe and respect.”
Hahn, known primarily for playing sarcastic, irreverent (and often times whip-smart) characters in comedies like “Step Brothers” and “Bad Moms,” traded those out for a centuries-old comic book villain. But since the show was set in a fake world that was literally straight out of classic TV shows like “The Dick Van Dyke Show” and “Malcolm in the Middle,” Hahn was able to bring her impeccable comedic timing — and her own theme song, which quickly landed atop the iTunes and Spotify charts. (Hahn described the hit song, “Agatha All Along,” as “a bucket list item that I did not even know that I had.”)
In “WandaVision,” Agatha, going by the fake name Agnes, is the only one in the town of Westview who is not having their mind controlled by Olsen’s grieving Scarlet Witch. That made the character even more fun to play for Hahn. “I had kind of concocted this creation for myself,” she said of the character who is trying to find out how Wanda had managed to mentally subjugate an entire New Jersey town. “I cast myself in this role, and that informed me that underneath all of the play, I was really on the hunt for the why.”
Hahn’s “Agnes” didn’t reveal herself until the end of the sixth episode of the nine-part limited series, meaning that Hahn had to spend months holding back the true identity of her character (even if diehard Marvel fans saw it coming from miles away). The hardest part was that the names were nearly identical. “You know what a nightmare it was, because of Agnes/Agatha, how close their names were?” she said. “I had to really say this little silent prayer before every interview that I wouldn’t by accident just spill out Agatha, because it was so close to Agnes. I have no poker face, so I have no idea how I was able to follow through.”
Even though dedicated fans predicted her reveal, Hahn was amused by the millions of theories that were circulating around the internet, particularly that one that suggested her character was not the true villain of the show. While she admitted it made sense to wonder if the Agatha reveal was just the appetizer for a bigger surprise, she asked, “Why does it have to be somebody? The real source, of course, which (head writer) Jac Schaeffer proposed from the beginning, was that the true villain was (Wanda’s) trauma. She had to get over that, and Agatha was there all along to guide her to seeing that, to finally opening her eyes.”