The 10-episode Hulu comedy series Dollface follows Jules (Kat Dennings), a young woman with a very vivid imagination who, after being dumped by her longtime boyfriend, must rekindle the female friendships that she let fall by the wayside while she focused on romance. And even though one girls’ night out might not solve all of their issues, Jules tries to find a balance that includes making her friends feel valued.
During this 1-on-1 interview with Collider, actress Kat Dennings (who’s also an executive producer on the series) talked about relating very strongly to this character, signing on to produce and lead the series, finding her voice as a producer, making the magical realism of the story work, developing the friendship dynamic, the quirky humor, and why she’s so proud of the final outcome.
Collider: I love this show!
KAT DENNINGS: Oh, good. That makes me so happy!
When this opportunity came your way, did you know how great this show could be?
DENNINGS: No. Well, you hope. I have trouble watching myself, so I’m just like, “Well, we’ll see.” But when I got approached with the script, I was hesitantly really excited because I related very strongly to the character and the story of Jules. It just seemed like it was gonna be a really fun shoot, and it was so much fun.
This is a very relatable situation to be in, either because you are someone who forgets your friends when you’re in a relationship, or you know someone who has done that to you.
DENNINGS: Yeah, that’s been me. I’ve been that person. You’ve done it to your friends, and you have friends who’ve done it. I think men and women will relate to this, very strongly. We’ve all been a Jules, but we don’t really see that as the focus of something. That’s a really refreshing element in the show. People will see themselves in the characters, whether you’ve been a Jules, or you’ve been a Stella (Shay Mitchell) or Madison (Brenda Song), watching one of your best friends do this. I hope it’ll resonate with people.
How did you get involved as a producer, as well? Was that something you were specifically looking to do?
DENNINGS: It was something that I was hoping to do next, just because I’d come off of a long-running show and I was ready to take another step forward. I wanted to do something different. I didn’t really wanna do a sitcom again next, and I wanted to have a little more creative input on whatever the next project was. LuckyChap, which is Margot Robbie’s production company, had given the script to my reps and they brought it to me. I was like, “Oh, my god, if this is like the best version of this, this is my dream show.” I’m very happy with it, but I’m also in it, so it’s hard for me to fully understand it.
How involved did you get, as a producer? Did you want to have a big voice in this?
DENNINGS: Yes! I was as involved as I could get. As soon as we had all of the people in the cast, I wanted to make sure that they all knew that I was on their side, that I was someone that they could talk to about anything, and that they felt very safe and taken care of it. I think I accomplished that, at least. That was important to me, especially with the core group of four women. I was like, “Whatever it is, I’ll do it.” And I think they were happy.
Do you feel like you’ve had to work to find your voice in this business, or have you always been comfortable with speaking up?
DENNINGS: I feel like I’m a confident person, but I definitely felt hesitant, in the beginning of that process ‘cause I’d never been able to do that before. As an actor, you do that. You get told what to do, and you do it. Now, I’m like, “I’m here. I want this to be great. We all want this to be great. Let’s do it together.” We had such an amazing group. Margot’s company, LuckyChap, and one of our producers, Brett Hedblom, has been such a partner for all of the girls and a real advocate for us. It was such a collaborative experience. It’s been really great. It’s really spoiled me for other things. I did find my voice, eventually, and I used it. You have to. We all want this to be great, and it’s nice that we have that in common.
I love that there’s a bit of fantasy and imagination in this story, but were you worried about how that might translate to the screen?
DENNINGS: The magical realism element is not something we’ve seen in comedies very much. I equate it to Being John Malkovich, but funny, although Being John Malkovich is funny. You seamlessly and shockingly go into this other world. You’re plunged into it, right away, and then you explore it through this season. They’ve handled it really, really masterfully. Beth Grant, who’s a legendary actress, plays the Cat Lady. I’m calling her the Fairy Catmother of Jules’ weird Cinderella. She shows up to guide her through whatever issues she’s dealing with, and it’s up to the audience to decide whether it’s real or not. She’s so great. She’s my favorite thing in the series, and there’s a lot more of her to come. There’s a lot of fun to be had, with the Cat Lady in that world.
Developing the friendship is also really important to this show working. How did you find the other actresses for those roles and how did you know that would work?
DENNINGS: I think we just got so lucky because we love each other. We’re all completely different people. I was attached first, and then Brenda was one of the first people we saw. She and Esther [Povitsky] were hired pretty early on, and just fit the characters perfectly. It’s not our first rodeo. We’ve all done a lot of TV, so we’re all very professional, and we’re on time, prepared, ready to go, and ready to work. We have that ethic in common. But we just love each other. We all just fell in love. Me and Brenda live really close to each other, and we see each other all of the time and talk, every day. It’s just been a lucky, amazing experience.
There are some really funny unexpected moments in this show. How much of that humor can we expect?
DENNINGS: There’s a lot of that. I hope that the audience is delighted. With every episode, I think there’ll be something to delight your senses and make you laugh. I find it very difficult to watch myself and to hear my own voice. I think we all feel that way. But being an executive producer, I’ve seen cuts of episodes, and I find myself laughing. I’m laughing at things that I’m in, which is a new experience. I really enjoy it. I’m able to separate myself from it and enjoy the episodes, which is a good sign. I’m very proud. I’m very proud of everybody. It’s a super unique show, and it’s really funny and different. Every episode is its own little special thing.
Dollface is now streaming on Hulu.