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"I would love our show to change Hollywood." The stars of Hacks on Stan on their game-changing second season.

When Jean Smart stepped onto the set of Hacks to film season two, she felt an intense sense of nervousness wash over her.

This was despite the fact she was coming off what could only be called a perfect awards show run, with her role in the Stan series Hacks winning her everything from an Emmy and a Golden Globe to Best Actress statues from the Hollywood Critics Association, the Television Critics Association Awards, the Critics' Choice Television Awards, and the Screen Actors Guild Awards.

In the critically acclaimed comedy, the actress brings to life a legendary Las Vegas comedian called Deborah Vance, who in the first season was grappling with her show spots being given away to younger performers. 

A situation that forced her into working with a young writer called Ava, played by comedian Hannah Einbinder in her first acting role. Ava too was watching her career options dry up after effectively being canceled for sending out a questionable tweet. The two women's sharp and volatile dynamic was very much the crux of the show's storyline.

Take a look at the trailer for Hacks season two on Stan. Post continues after video.

After such a critically acclaimed first season, the cast and crew were acutely aware that this time around they not only had to deliver the same show magic, but also surpass it.

"We definitely felt pressure around it," Jean told Mamamia when describing working on the second season of Hacks.

“All of us on set we were thinking to ourselves 'ooohhh, is everyone going to actually like this?'" Hannah Einbinder added. "But as it started to come together and as we got deeper into the shoot we just realised we have to trust ourselves because that is what everyone loved about the first season.

"The truth is, our writers are such expert world builders, and they have made these wonderful vivid characters for us to play. They have already done that detailed work, so it's much more straightforward for us this season. 

"I think audiences will be shocked and excited when they see it."

The on-screen chemistry between Jean and Hannah is an element that really allowed the first season of Hacks to fly and their bond was cemented before the cameras even began to roll.  

Just before the first COVD-19 lockdown swept the world, Hannah became the youngest stand-up, at 23, to perform a set on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert, establishing herself as the new voice to watch in the comedy space. But the pandemic halted the momentum of her burgeoning career, and she was left wondering what was next. 

When the Hacks script came along, she was instantly drawn to the role of Ava, but nervous about auditioning with the award-winning Jean Smart in what would be her first professional acting job. 

But Jean, who was already aware of Hannah's work and wanted her for the part, called her the night before their screen test, warning her that she would be walking into an intimidating environment with the COVID protocols in place and then talked her through the process so she felt comfortable enough to do her best work.

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 "What I have learned from Jean goes beyond acting," Hannah told Mamamia about working with her co-star. "This is my first TV show, and I watched her lead by example. She showed me so many intricate and tiny details that exist within the craft itself. 

 "Our friendship has evolved over time, much like Ava’s and Deborah’s," Jean added. "This time around our characters trust each other more and they have gained respect for each other.

"But unlike Hannah and I, they still very much butt heads all the time," she continued. "Which is the fun part of the show so thank goodness, that’s still there. And that generational divide between them on-screen will never go away."

Jean Smart as Deborah Vance in Hacks. Image: Stan One of the storytelling elements that helped make Hacks such a standout series during its first year on our screens was that it centered on two complex and often unlikeable women. 

For Jean Smart, being able to play such a character in her 70s is the change she's been waiting to see in the entertainment industry. 

"I would love it if our show helped change Hollywood a bit," Jean told Mamamia. "The fact that it is so popular, with both men and women, speaks a lot to the fact that if you tell a good story then it does not matter what the age of the characters are. Just tell a good story and it will work.

"But being an older actress, I know there are simply some roles I now cannot play," she continued. "So there are fewer and fewer types of roles available to me. You know, I can’t play someone who is pregnant now, for instance, and certain things like that.

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"But I also think that we have come a long way in realising that stories about women are every bit as fascinating as the ones about men. Maybe even more so as we discover stories about women who have done things that were extraordinary, these are stories we have not always heard before."

“What I have learned from Jean goes beyond acting," Hannah told Mamamia about working with her co-star. Image: Stan In season two, Deborah and Ava take Deborah's new comedy show on the road with scenes set everywhere from the Grand Canyon, to a cruise ship and even a few roadside bars and a dumpster. It's a story thread that allows the women to indulge in some big physical comedy moments. 

"Jean has a real arm on her, as you’ll see in the crystal shop scene," Hannah said of filming their most memorable scene. "So we are at work but, at the same time, the whole thing is so ridiculous. They had to rig this part in the crystal shop where Jean throws a crystal at me, and they rigged a glass shelf to explode and that’s so cool. So in between everything else we’re just dealing with miniature explosions of glass throughout the whole shoot.

“Well, I did feel bad about that because I didn’t realise until later that I had actually hit Hannah a couple of times," Jean added. "I was trying to not do that but still make it look real. Then things got a little too real, but it was funny."

"It’s OK that you hit me, at least we got the shot," concludes Hannah.

The first two episodes of Hacks season 2 are now streaming,same day as the US and only on Stan.

Every episode of the Emmy Award-winning first season is now streaming, only on Stan.

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