Girls will be Girls

Girls star and co- cre­ator Lena Dun­ham dis­cusses her show, book and the next US pres­i­dent with TIF­FANY BAKER

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - FRONT PAGE -

THERE’S a scene early on in the new sea­son of Girls where Lena Dun­ham’s bum­bling pro­tag­o­nist Han­nah is be­ing cri­tiqued – to put it mildly – over her writ­ing tal­ents. ( In sea­son four, Han­nah has left New York for the pres­ti­gious Iowa Writ­ers’ Work­shop).

Ul­ti­mately, the scene ( which was filmed months ago) turned out to be prophetic for Dun­ham, given the crit­i­cism that greeted her re­cent mem­oir, Not That Kind of Girl.

“It has this weird con­nec­tion to my book and the way that my book was re­ceived,” smiles Dun­ham when we meet at HBO’s mid­town of­fices on a snowy New York day.

“So [ Girls ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer] Jenni [ Kon­ner] and I were like, ‘ Are we psy­chic? What hap­pened? How did this oc­cur? Maybe we should en­ter the lot­tery’.”

Dun­ham, a witty, warm and en­gag­ing in­ter­vie­wee, has swapped her re­cent bleached blonde hair for a more Han­nah- es­que brown.

“There comes a point with dyed blonde hair,” she gig­gles, “where you start to look like a mum on meth.”

Some of the crit­i­cism sur­round­ing her book stung, though, par­tic­u­larly the barbs that sug­gested she had been sex­u­ally in­ap­pro­pri­ate with her younger sis­ter, Grace, when they were kids.

( In the book, Dun­ham had re­counted a child­hood mem­ory where she re­mem­bered be­ing cu­ri­ous about Grace’s body. For her part, Grace has said she found the en­su­ing up­roar laugh­able).

“It’s never easy to be at­tacked,” Dun­ham says, adding that the main per­pe­tra­tors are usu­ally “men yelling at me on Twit­ter”.

“For me the line is re­ally when I feel like it hurts my fam­ily or any­one around me – that’s when it’s painful,” she says.

“I re­ally try to pro­tect them and I’m learn­ing how to do that. But for the most part I think I’m get­ting bet­ter at cre­at­ing dis­tance be­tween me and the neg­a­tiv­ity that’s thrown my way.”

Dun­ham adds that she’s “cut down” her “de­pen­dence” on Twit­ter given the abuse she of­ten re­ceives.

“If I think some­thing’s worth re­spond­ing to, I re­spond, but oth­er­wise I block it out.”

With a lit­tle help from Kon­ner. “Some­times I have to go around to her apart­ment and phys­i­cally get her off Twit­ter for her own emo­tional san­ity,” Kon­ner says. “I get so pro­tec­tive over her and to see how hurt she gets by what peo­ple say, it just up­sets me greatly.”

Crit­ics, of course, con­tend that Dun­ham has merely made a ca­reer out of over- shar­ing.

“Men over- share and it’s ‘ brave’,” she says. “With women, it’s like TMI [ too much in­for­ma­tion]; I hate the phrase TMI, by the way …”

Dun­ham says she doesn’t have an end game for the show, adding that she and Kon­ner have al­ready started work on sea­son five. Still, some things have changed over the years; where once she would rope in her mates to play char­ac­ters on the show, now she’s fob­bing off Os­car- win­ners ( Reese Wither­spoon ap­par­ently asked Dun­ham straight- out for a cameo).

Dun­ham, how­ever, reck­ons she’s got no chance of sway­ing cur­rent BFF ( and ma­jor Girls fan) Tay­lor Swift to board the L train to Brook­lyn.

“I wish,” screams Dun­ham throw­ing her hands up, “but she’s too busy tak­ing over the world. She’s go­ing to be pres­i­dent soon. Se­ri­ously, she is go­ing to rule the world. And we’re all just along for the ride.”



Lead­ing ladies: Left to right, Girls stars Lena Dun­ham, Jemima Kirke, Zosia Mamet and Ali­son Wil­liams.

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