Desiree Akhavan Talks Lena Dunham, Appropriate Behavior, & Her All-Time Crush

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463843909Photo: Jeff Vespa/Getty Images.
Her movie was a hit at Sundance. She plays Hannah's classmate on the next season of Girls. She's even been compared to Lena Dunham herself. But, it's all still very new to Desiree Akhavan, who didn't see this windfall coming. Ahead of the Brooklyn premiere of her first feature film, Appropriate Behavior — a drama that centers on a young Persian woman trying to reconcile her family's values with her own — we spoke to Akhavan about how her movie came about, what it was like working on the hit HBO series, and just what she thinks of comedian Tig Notaro.

On Appropriate Behavior
"It was a web series called The Slope (watch it). And, while I was shooting it, I thought, 'This is so easy and fun, why don't I just go ahead and do an entire feature-length film.' It ended up being more about my life after making this web series, after having this pivotal lesbian relationship in my life. But, that was the seed of it: to make something very easy. To have your friends shoot it, to have your friends do sound — everybody chipping in where their talents are, and just to get it done by the skin of our teeth. But, I think it ended up becoming slightly more ambitious than that."

On working with Lena Dunham
"When I first met her, I had no time to prepare myself or anticipate what it was going to be like — I never expected it would happen. But, she was the kindest, most generous conversationalist I'd ever met. She really goes out of her way to make the other person feel special. And, on set, she's the same way as a director...it's a very collaborative experience."

On her summer reading list
"[Phoebe Gloeckner's] Diary of a Teenage Girl. They just shot a feature version of it. I first read it when I was a teenager. Back then, I really glamorized it and thought she was such a cool girl. I really wanted that for myself, and now I think it's such a tragic, horrific story."

On her celebrity crush
"It changes all the time. I've been crushing on Cate Blanchett...but you know what my deepest Hollywood crush is? Tig Notaro."