Anna Konkle on Her “Strange, Stilted, Alien” Character in ‘The Afterparty’ Season 2

The cast of The Afterparty Season 2.

The Afterparty is back, and uh oh! There’s been another murder. Season 2 of the hit Apple TV series has landed, and we spoke to Anna Konkle (PEN15) about joining the series as Hannah, her Wes Anderson-inspired episode, and what it’s like working with such a stacked cast of incredible character actors.

The Afterparty Season 2 begins with a wedding that’s ruined when the groom is murdered— every guest is a suspect.

The Afterparty Season 2, Zach Woods and Poppy Liu
Zach Woods and Poppy Liu as Edgar and Grace in The Afterparty Season 2. Credit: Apple

Reprising their roles from Season 1 are Tiffany Haddish as Detective Danner, Sam Richardson as Aniq, and Zoë Chao as Zoë. Danner returns to help Aniq and Zoë solve the mystery by questioning family members, star-crossed lovers and business partners alike. Over the course of the season, we see and hear each suspect’s retelling of the weekend — each with their own unique perspective and visual style.

The Afterparty Season 2 Trailer

Joining the cast for Season 2 are John Cho, Paul Walter Hauser, Ken Jeong, Poppy Liu, Elizabeth Perkins, Jack Whitehall, Zach Woods, Vivian Wu, and of course, Anna Konkle.

Chatting to The Latch over Zoom, Konkle said she was thrilled to join her castmates for the second season, partially because they were all “just legit”. Asked who she was most excited to work with, Konkle named Elizabeth Perkins and Poppy Liu first.

“I was just with her all day so I sound like I’m sucking up to her, but Elizabeth Perkins — I’ve been a fan of her forever, I mean, she’s kind of an icon,” Konkle said. “Poppy Liu, I was a fan of from Hacks before, I love her character work.

“It’s a lot of character actors who are really funny, which is kind of my favourite,” she continued. “Sam Richardson, John Cho, I mean really, I could truly list every single person.”

What Drew Anna Konkle to Hannah

In The Afterparty, Anna Konkle plays Hannah, the adopted sister of the now-deceased groom (played by Zach Woods). Hannah’s episode is Wes Anderson inspired, complete with the precisely centred shots, symmetry, and heightened, colourful aesthetics you’ll recognise from any Anderson film.

Anna Konkle and Jack Whitehall in The Afterparty Season 2.
Anna Konkle and Jack Whitehall as Hannah and Sebastian in The Afterparty Season 2. Credit: Apple

When Konkle first got the script, she “just loved the character of Hannah”.

“A character like Hannah just doesn’t come around everyday,” she said. “I’m 36, I’m a woman, you just don’t get to play… ” she paused, “a strange lady that often!”

As Konkle puts it, the appeal of Hannah is that she’s comedic, but “doesn’t know she’s funny”.

“She’s funny ‘coz her essence is funny, and that’s my favourite,” Konkle said. “It was really fun getting to do someone who has a real heart, and real wants, and real sensitivities and emotion, and is also hard-comedy funny. That’s just kind of unique, so I was excited.”

How the Wes Anderson Aesthetic Reflects Hannah’s Character

In Episode 4, we get to see the events of the ill-fated wedding through Hannah’s eyes, and it’s very reminiscent of Wes Anderson’s The Royal Tenenbaums. Konkle said that this specific, heightened aesthetic gives us a lot of insight into her character and the way she sees the world.

“I think there’s something in the Wes Anderson compositions and how it can feel intentionally stilted, you know?” she began. “Even in the way that characters are literally frozen at times, there’s a slightly heightened-from-human quality to a lot of those films.”

Konkle said that most people would see Hannah and think, “she’s a little alien, she’s not totally, dead centre human, she’s a little off, she’s on her own planet”, and this overlaps nicely with Anderson’s aesthetic.

“I think the styles play into her emotion — not to get too heavy about it — but the sort of stiltedness that you’re seeing visually is sort of her emotional stiltedness,” she said. “But that there’s also a lot of soft, gooey heart that’s sort of propellant for the story and propellant for her character’s needs, that is also in that filmmaking and is in her character.

“It was the perfect compliment for that character,” she said.

Anna Konkle’s Favourite Episodes to Film

Of course, Wes Anderson is just one of the many styles that The Afterparty Season 2 explores. In fact, over the course of the season, the characters take us on a journey from Jane Austen period drama to film noir to TikTok and beyond, each putting their own individual twist on the events.

Elizabeth Perkins, Jack Whitehall and Anna Konkle in The Afterparty Season 2.
Elizabeth Perkins, Jack Whitehall and Anna Konkle as Isabel, Sebastian and Hannah in The Afterparty Season 2. Credit: Apple

With so many different styles, costumes, and tones to play with, we were curious which episodes stood out as Konkle’s favourites.

“Some of the ones in the beginning,” she said. “Hitchcock, film noir and the Wes Anderson episode were probably my favourites, all for different reasons.”

The Film Noir Episode

The film noir episode is Episode 3, and is told through the perspective of Travis (Paul Walter Hauser) — the bride’s ex-boyfriend.

“Film noir was really fun doing — Hannah’s character in that episode was very conniving and serious, and a little bit violent, threatening and sexual,” she said. “It was just not the things that you’d think of, at least on the surface, when you first start seeing her.”

Noting that Hannah is “an oddball” who “couldn’t flirt if she tried”, it was fun to get to merge that with the femme fatale tone of the episode.

“All of a sudden, to get to play this seductive woman who’s saying like… really weird s**t, is a really fun union, so I loved that,” she said. “And I loved working with Paul Walter Hauser, ‘coz he also had a similar character, in that he’s not the smoothest ball in the… pool table?”

She laughed. “Okay! I don’t know!”

“He’s acting like, very suave, and like has all the answers, as he’s messing everything up,” she explained. “And that contradiction is probably my favourite comedy in general.”

The Wes Anderson Episode

And of course, Hannah’s episode also holds a special place in her heart.

“I’m a fan of that filmmaking, so it was great to get to live in the different film compositions, and the super stylised shots — while trying to not become a caricature or an idea I have of twee indie movies — of really being still in this Hannah character and really getting to her most vulnerable spot,” she said.

“She’s this weirdo but she’s also craving a lot in her heart and inside,” she added. “So getting to do all of that was a whole ‘nother texture to the show, and to the character. I just felt so lucky that I got to play with all of the different colours in the show.”

Where to Watch The Afterparty in Australia

The Afterparty Season 2 premieres globally with the first two episodes on Wednesday, July 12, 2023, on Apple TV+. New episodes will follow weekly every Wednesday until September 5.

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