Kat Dennings: ‘I Know Firsthand About Losing Yourself in a Relationship’
The former 2 Broke Girls actor stars in Hulu’s Dollface, a new series about reconnecting with your friends after a relationship ends.
Kat Dennings is in the middle of a 16-hour road trip from Los Angeles to Santa Fe with her best friend when she calls me. “It’s our first road trip together, so this is a historic moment,” she says. “We’ve always wanted to do it, so we’re fucking doing it.”
It’s the beginning of many firsts that Dennings, 33, is taking on since wrapping her long-running CBS sitcom, 2 Broke Girls, in 2017. In addition to starring as the lead in Hulu’s new series Dollface, she’s also an executive producer. “I hoped to EP on whatever the next show I was on after 2 Broke Girls ended because I wanted to have more of a hand in the product,” she explains. “I was looking for a character that was totally different from Max.”
She found it in Jules, a down-to-earth 20-something who realizes that she’s lost herself in her relationship. While Jules is nothing like the sarcastic Max, Dennings says the one through-line in both shows is the chemistry between her and her costars, on and off-screen. “I loved that with 2 Broke Girls, you’re watching real friends and real chemistry, and I think that really came through. It’s the same thing with Dollface.”
But while most shows about friends center on romantic relationships and getting the guy or girl, Dollface takes the opposite approach. Jules has just been dumped by her longtime boyfriend, Jeremy, and realizes she doesn’t have much of a support system without him. She neglected her girlfriends (played by Shay Mitchell, Brenda Song, and Esther Povitsky) over the years, and now she must work to get them back. They’re reluctant, and for good reason.
It’s a situation that Dennings says she related to her in her early 20s.“I fell for a guy and lost myself in the relationship,” she says. “It’s very relatable to everyone and not just women. So I felt like I could tell that story from experience. It wasn’t a place that I liked going back to, because it was just like a shitty time, but I felt like, I did this, I knew what it was like, and maybe it will be cathartic somehow.”
As both producer and star, it was important for Dennings, working with the team, to show the unglamorous side post-breakup, starting with her wardrobe. “I really didn’t want to wear high heels; I didn’t want to wear tight stuff. I wanted to dress more like a regular person because it didn’t make sense to me where, Jules is at,” Dennings says. “I wanted her style to reflect how she felt, which is all over the place and ill-fitting. That’s how I dress — I’m wearing sweatpants and a sweatshirt and a sports bra right now.”
The series also addresses the intimidation factor that comes with cliques and how it isn’t so easy to form a bond as an adult. For Dennings, it was just another way in which she related to her character. “I was home-schooled, so I didn’t really get to experience the junior high, high school clique thing. But I think anywhere that people gather, it just happens.”
She points to one experience years ago at band camp, when she was one of only two females and didn’t know whom to sit with for lunch. “Instead I thought, I think I’ll just go to the bathroom and sit under the sink,” she says. “So yeah, I ended up under the sink.”
Dennings is just glad that a light-hearted series about the ups and downs of friendship has already generated so much interest (6 million have already viewed the trailer on YouTube). “There’s so much gritty, raw, real stuff on TV, and it’s great for actors, but sometimes I miss that feel-good, binge thing, where I want to sit down and watch,” she says. “Nothing can touch The Golden Girls, but when I had a hard day, I’d want to watch The Golden Girls to me feel good. I think this could accomplish that for people. It’s a fun, feel-good show about friends. I feel like it’s been missing.”
All 10 episodes of Dollface are available on Hulu now. Jessica Radloff is the Glamour West Coast editor.