For all the talk about the extent to which Hannah Horvath, Lena Dunham's character on the writer/director/actress' hit HBO show, Girls, is based on Dunham herself, there is at least one key difference. Presumably, when Hannah attempts to deposit a pack of gum into her purse, misses, and drops it on the ground, she doesn't feel compelled—as Dunham did last night, upon doing just that—to announce, while retrieving it, "This is not an advertisement for Eclipse!"
To be fair, the occasion of the dropped gum was the second-season premiere of Dunham's phenomenally successful show, presented by The Cinema Society and HBO at NYU's Skirball Center, and Dunham was the single most in-demand star on its red carpet—so if she hadn't clarified that she wasn't, we might very well have believed she was engaging in some guerilla marketing. In a chic, strapless black-and-white jumpsuit, she looked more than camera-ready. (Hannah, too, is looking more put-together this season, with an extremely flattering haircut—at least in the couple of episodes the premiere's A-list crowd got to preview last night.)
One character with a bigger role this season is Andrew Rannells' Elijah, who by the final episode of the first season has agreed to become Hannah's roommate. Though they weren't great as lovers in college, the two make great roommates—"I love living with you!" they squeal in unison—a situation Rannells explained closely mirrored an actual experience he and Dunham had for one wonderful week in Los Angeles.
"I lived with her in Los Angeles for one week, and it was totally perfect," Rannells said. "Because like, I would do my stuff during the day and she would do her stuff, and then she would come home, and I would have a drink, and she would have tea, and we would just talk about our days."
Though the party their characters throw together in the premiere wasn't based on any specific real-life analogue, Rannells remembered its type all too well. "That party is a party that you have post-college, with bad, hot hors d'oeuvres that you try to make, and some sort of weird punch," he said. "I feel like I've been at that party many times."
The increased visibility of Elijah's character provided a fun new challenge for the show's costume designer, Jenn Rogien: menswear that didn't hinge on skinny jeans and old t-shirts. "We really wanted to just go for it with him, because he was really our first opportunity on the guys' end of things to do that," Rogien said. "And we did. We went for color, we went for pattern, we went for stripes..."
"All in the same outfit," she added.
Jemima Kirke's character, Jessa, starts the season as something of a self-satisfied newlywed, following her surprise wedding to Chris O'Dowd's Thomas John at the end of the first season. "Yeah, totally smug!" she agreed.
We were curious whether the performance was based on any real insufferable brides she'd known. "I'm sure that when I got married, I had moments of pride, like, ‘Oh, I'm a bride, I've made it,' and I'm sure I've come off as that when I've gushed about it. So yeah, I think maybe in myself," she answered, with admirable candidness.
When we saw Interview pal Alex Karpovsky, we had to ask: Does anyone quote the very funny "slim leg" scene at him on the street?
"It's happened a few times," he said. "One time, I was in the Condé Nast building, in Times Square. Architecture drop... And I was with someone, and he was like, ‘I want to introduce you to David!' And I turned around, and this sort of very distinguished gentleman looked at me and went, ‘Oh! Slim leg! Slim leg!' It was David Remnick. So that's my best slim-leg story. He pulled it off. I was proud of that moment."
Michael Kenneth Williams, who looked very dapper in a Paul Smith coat, is a longtime HBO mainstay, what with his beloved turn as Omar Little on The Wire and his current role on Boardwalk Empire. Given his relationship with the network, he admitted he's thought about what kind of a cameo he might be able to swing on Girls.
"I would so be interested in a guest spot. As long as it involves some sort of sex, that'd be great," he said with a smile. "Maybe [one of the girls could] meet a guy by the bar in Brooklyn, she's probably going through it, I console her, you know. I've given it a little thought."
After the screening, the cast and plenty of friends—including Brian Williams, Steve Buscemi, William H. Macy, Felicity Huffman, John Leguizamo, Zoe Kravitz, Gabourey Sidibe, Jason Biggs, Debbie Harry, Michael Stipe, Diane von Furstenberg, and Jonah Hill—headed off to Capitale, on Bowery, to party like people who are almost kind of getting it together.