The thought of revisiting your teenage years is fairly rattling terrifying, however Anna Konkle did it on tv and survived. (And even emerged as an Emmy nominee.) Now, in her first TV venture following her and Maya Erskine’s beloved teen “traumady” PEN15, Konkle is tiptoeing into spookier territory: the homicide thriller. However, as Konkle does greatest, there’s a comedic twist.
She’s starring within the second season of Apple TV+’s The Afterparty, a whodunnit comedy that includes Tiffany Haddish, Sam Richardson, and Zoe Chao, the place every suspect’s alibi is conveyed with a special movie style. (Season 1 went from motion flick to cartoons; season 2 ranges from noir to rom-com.) This season, with a forged together with John Cho, Hacks’ Poppy Liu, Ken Jeong, and Elizabeth Perkins, the homicide takes place throughout a marriage. Each visitor, from the long-lost uncle to the bride’s ex, is a suspect. One in every of them is Konkle’s Hannah, the groom’s odd sister who lives in a tent, does taxidermy, shoots archery, and attire like an additional plucked from a Wes Anderson movie. She’s a weirdo, however Konkle, who so gracefully performed her 13-year-old self in braces and all her awkward glory, imbues the position with attraction.
However talking on Zoom from a resort room in Los Angeles, Konkle is extra modern than unusual, carrying an all-white outfit and a slicked again blonde bob, giving a little bit of a Sharon Stone vibe. (She’s flattered by the comparability. “That’s the very best factor you might presumably [say],” she says.) This summer time has been totally different than most, partly as a result of she’s in her second yr of motherhood. (She and companion Alex Anfanger, who she met at NYU, welcomed their daughter Essie in 2021.) One other half is the writers’ strike.
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This time final yr, Konkle, a author and actor herself, was in the midst of filming tasks; now, she and plenty of others are dealing with a lull because the strike places the business on pause. It’s nearly paying homage to the COVID-19 lockdowns, “when it comes to issues slowing down in an unfamiliar manner,” says Konkle, who totally helps her fellow writers. “But it surely provides you an opportunity to, whether or not you’re prepared for it or not, to replicate in your life—what’s working, what’s not, what do I would like, what’s happiness?” she jokes. A basic existential disaster, if you’ll.
Throughout a summer time afternoon, Konkle does a few of that reflecting with ELLE.com to debate genre-hopping in The Afterparty, being a working actor and new mother, and whether or not Pen15 will ever come again.
How did you become involved with The Afterparty initially? Have been you a fan of the primary season?
Yeah, I beloved the primary season. After I signed on, we have been filming in possibly a month max, so it was a giant rush when it comes to studying concerning the character and even the semantics of all of the totally different genres and all of the digital camera checks for the totally different genres. And it was positively on one other stage than I had skilled due to all of the totally different filmmaking types. In order that was actually fascinating. However they wouldn’t ship all the scripts due to spoilers. I feel they despatched each actor their particular person episode the place they’re the protagonist and the place it’s their viewpoint. In order that’s the place I acquired to see the form of twee, indie movie-inspired, like Amelie or Wes Anderson [vibe of my episode].
I assume the cherry on high to already liking the present loads and loving the forged and the creators was simply the episode. I really like how character-driven the episode was. My favourite [kind of role] is one thing that has coronary heart and is humorous, however you’ll be able to faucet into no matter unhappiness or wanting there’s within the character. So I simply beloved that episode instantly; I felt very fortunate from the get-go. And he or she’s so bizarre too. She’s such a humorous character, and he or she’s humorous due to her essence, not [just] due to jokes on a web page.
What was it like for you switching between genres? I do know you bought your private episode at first. However when you guys have been all filming, what was the expertise of switching from noir to Wes Anderson to rom-com for every episode?
As a theater nerd with a drama faculty background, I used to be actually excited. For me, the closest comparability can be in class the place you might do a scene from Shakespeare, after which the subsequent scene you’re doing [something else] and also you’re simply taking part in all types of various characters. There will not be a whole lot of worlds that pertains to in movie and tv. So it was actually thrilling. After which it was additionally very intimidating to consider attempting to try this authentically whereas nonetheless being humorous. How do you stability the satire of all of it? Simply being conscious of desirous to entry no matter you connect with in your individual comedy.
Meaning attempting to be genuine, whereas doing a brand new character in all these totally different genres. I beloved the noir and my character particularly. What I beloved about doing my character in that episode was she must be so assertive and sexual and critical and all these items that she’s not. To push these contradictions collectively, that’s at all times what tickles me essentially the most. In order that one was actually enjoyable, having to flirt and having the worst phrases. I feel one in all my favourite traces within the sequence is, “I really like how your hair sticks collectively in all the appropriate locations. It’s like spaghetti that’s been cooked to excessive hell.” I give it some thought on a regular basis.
The present coincides with a whole lot of different homicide mysteries proper now, like Knives Out and The White Lotus. What’s it concerning the style that excites you?
As an individual that loves being lulled to sleep by Forensic Information, I used to be attempting to determine or simply pondering “why proper now?” And clearly the true crime factor had this big comeback. And I’m positive I’m not the primary particular person to say, however [maybe by] attempting to essentially look mortality within the face and examine it not directly, that possibly you’ll be able to keep away from it on some stage. However then there’s additionally simply the enjoyable and form of reduction of—with Afterparty or comedies which have thriller too— laughing at one thing that may be so critical.
I keep in mind studying that while you filmed The Drop, you have been three months postpartum on the time.
I don’t know what I used to be pondering. Yeah.
Whenever you filmed The Afterparty final yr, what was that like in comparison with filming The Drop? Do you’re feeling such as you’ve develop into somewhat extra accustomed to being on set as a working mother now?
Hats off to anybody breastfeeding and dealing, interval. It’s such a beast as a result of the parameters, to not get too political about the entire thing, however the filming protocols and the lengthy days and whether or not you’re behind the digital camera in entrance of the digital camera, it’s simply not…in case you get a manufacturing that’s supportive, you’re fortunate. But it surely’s simply not arrange so that you can be like, “Yeah, I’m going to go take a 30-minute pump break,” which isn’t a fucking break, “each three hours and possibly stain 4 of those shirts.” And everybody’s working underneath such strain that it’s simply actually laborious. And happily, The Drop was supportive though it was so laborious. And we have been nonetheless ending up some scenes from PEN15. So Maya, too—we have been each each three hours pumping within the trailer collectively. It was very humorous.
I’m simply pondering again to that first yr, and I feel we went to the Emmys that yr. I introduced my cooler. I had a Yeti cooler, my pump tools and the milk, as a result of additionally you simply don’t know someone’s milk state of affairs. I needed to step out in the midst of it for half-hour and pump after which come again in. However anyway, that’s all to say that the primary yr, I discovered it so, so, so difficult, and when it comes to pondering we’d love one other child, however I need to preserve working. And I do know we’ll make it work, however it’s fairly intimidating to consider.
However now she’s two, and I’m not breastfeeding. And I really feel like I’m lastly dabbling. There are some weeks which might be higher than others, however with getting within the swing of what motherhood is for me when it meets work. I’m so used to “work” which means a 12-hour to 15-hour day on my own, simply don’t eat lunch. Simply energy by way of. Simply bursts creativity that if it’s there, you’re like, “Don’t drop it. Simply run with that ball.” And there are occasions after I do this, however extra so I’m studying somewhat bit tips on how to be current on daily basis the very best I can in my mother hours, after which even have my work hours.
Now that you just’re a mother, do you look again at any of the storylines in PEN15, which is about girlhood and rising up, in another way in any respect, or possibly with a special viewpoint or extra knowledge even?
That’s such query. To be completely trustworthy, I’m freaked out concerning the farther alongside we’re getting…you understand, expertise, I feel, can improve nervousness and the way a lot we really feel cool or loser-y in essentially the most fundamental phrases. And that’s such a perpetual 13-year-old developmental state of questioning your self and your self-worth, and what do I feel?Aand what do different folks consider me and my identification? And who am I? I really feel much more protecting now that we’ve our daughter Essie when it comes to her simply attending to that age, whereas earlier than I felt like, particularly going again to it and being 13 [onscreen], like, “Oh, possibly I’ll be extra outfitted as a mum or dad to speak to her about issues.” I do not know how she’s going to really feel about me having performed 13. I’m positive she’s going to be like, “That was so not how it’s.”
Like, “It’s embarrassing, mother.”
It’s so embarrassing. Oh my God, I can’t think about. However I feel I get extra afraid that there’s this massive expertise animal within the room mainly that’s extra untenable than I’d prefer to suppose as a mum or dad, when it comes to the management or partnership that I’d like to have with my child. However then again, I do suppose that that’s one other type of rigidity that’s at all times there at coming-of-age, and it’s simply form of a bit enhanced the place dad and mom need to take extra half of their identification or their growing-up struggles than there’s actually room for, than you actually can permit in an effort to discover your individual identification. So hopefully I can speak myself out of that nervousness, however that’s there.
I feel when it comes to trying again [at PEN15] as a mother, I don’t know. There was a lot enjoyable and pleasure at 13, and we will’t overlook that, but additionally the torture that you just give to your self somewhat bit. I hope that my daughter is aware of that she will speak to me in essentially the most trite phrases, that there’s nothing too massive that she couldn’t speak to me about. However I feel there’s additionally ache and reduction in realizing you could’t repair every part and that they’re a person particular person, that they’re going to be on their journey. But it surely’s so overwhelming. I don’t understand how our dad and mom did it.
You’ve talked about earlier than that in case you introduced the present again, it must be the appropriate time and the appropriate storyline. I do know I’m not the primary particular person to ask you this, however has there been any progress on these conversations?
Yeah, I nonetheless suppose that there’s going to be the appropriate time, however it’s not proper now, which is tough to say as a result of I miss it too. In some methods, I feel PEN15 got here from two perfectionists who have been actually having to push ourselves to cease pleasing all people round us in each manner, however creatively too. And I really feel like that somebody’s tapping on my shoulder with that very same inventive factor being like, “It’s good to cease people-pleasing; creatively stretch your wings and fuck issues up in whether or not that’s failing or no matter which means.” And so I feel there’s extra to mess up earlier than returning to PEN15, however I actually hope that that occurs on the proper time.
Lastly, is there something we will count on out of your memoir?
That fucking I end it sometime. No, I’m working—
As a author, I get that.
The minute I pitched it, I used to be humbled. I wasn’t like, “Yeah, I’m going to fucking do that.” I used to be petrified and I’m nonetheless petrified, however I’m chugging away. It’s positively loads slower than writing a script. I can say that. And I don’t understand how it’s for novelists and journalists and folks that write in that capability each single day, however for me it’s been a sluggish burn and attempting to be taught. It hopefully can be on the planet and I gained’t disguise. Hopefully these two issues will occur on the similar time.
This interview has been edited and condensed.
Erica Gonzales is the Senior Tradition Editor at ELLE.com, the place she oversees protection on TV, films, music, books, and extra. She was beforehand an editor at HarpersBAZAAR.com. There’s a 75 p.c likelihood she’s listening to Lorde proper now.