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'Off the Cuff Podcast': Desiree Akhavan on Being a Sundance Success and 'The World's Laziest Activist'

The indie filmmaker downloads #pretapodcasts on her buzzy new film "Appropriate Behavior" and her role in the next season of "Girls."
Danielle Lurie

"I'm the world's laziest activist. As long as I don't kill myself then I'm doing something extraordinary."

Desiree Akhavan has the remarkable quality of being extremely self-deprecating while simultaneously outsmarting everyone else in the room — which is exactly what she did in this episode of Off the Cuff. Her unusual combination of humility and conviction — an especially rare pairing in Hollywood — is exactly what viewers have been responding to in her new film, Appropriate Behavior, which premiered at this year's Sundance Film Festival to high praise from the indie film world, and the LGBT community in particular.

"For some people it's a bisexual story, for some people it's an immigrant's story, for some it's just a straight-out Brooklyn comedy" Akhavan says of the film that follows a bisexual Iranian-American 20-something woman as she experiences a breakup with her first girlfriend and struggles to come out to her family. In other words, says Akhavan, it's "a gay Annie Hall."

We also chatted with Akhavan about her part in the upcoming season four of HBO's Girls, her complicated feelings about Woody Allen and why writing roles for herself was a necessary evil in a business filled with "so many freckly white girls" — a phrase she used to describe Allen's particular casting preference but which is a fitting observation of the business overall.

"I never wanted to belong to the other party," she insists. "And I never could if I wanted to."

What do you think?

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