'Eloise' Doc Director, Star Hilary Knight Reveal How Lena Dunham Ended Up Appearing in the Film

Its Me Hilary Event Lena Dunham - H 2015
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Its Me Hilary Event Lena Dunham - H 2015

The trio talked about 'It's Me, Hilary' and Knight's future projects at a "rawther fancy," as Eloise might say, recent screening and tea at the Palm Court at New York City's Plaza Hotel.

Lena Dunham isn't just one of the executive producers of HBO's short documentary about Eloise illustrator Hilary Knight, she also appears in the film.

In It's Me, Hilary: The Man Who Drew Eloise, which airs Monday night on HBO, Dunham talks about what the book series about the 6-year-old girl who lives at the Plaza meant to her, shows off her Eloise tattoo and explains how she and Knight met, with the latter sending her a letter after discovering that she had a tattoo of one of his most famous characters. She's also shown interacting with Knight, including putting on a sparkly blond wig, which she says makes her feel "very Eloise-y," talking to him about his career, observing his new creative endeavors and taking viewers on a tour of his home.

Dunham, Knight and director Matt Wolf talked to The Hollywood Reporter about the film and Knight's future creative endeavors ahead of a "rawther fancy," as Eloise might say, recent screening and tea at the Palm Court at Eloise's longtime home, New York City's Plaza Hotel.

Wolf explained how Dunham ended up in the film not just working behind the scenes, a decision she says she left to him.

"I think Lena's an entry point," he told THR. "I mean, she was an entry point for me in terms of finding out about Hilary's world, and we wanted her to provide that access to a viewer, too, but also let Hilary kind of take over in a sense. In a collaboration, it's kind of amazing to have someone you're thinking about telling a story with be in the film because in a way, Lena can express some of the ideas that we were thinking about behind the scenes in terms of interpreting Hilary's story."

For Knight the premiere brought him back not only to his work on Eloise but also to his early life in New York.

"Collectively, I start out here. I was a little boy when I was brought here by my parents to the Palm Court," Knight told THR. "So I've watched all of this happen over the past 60 years [of Eloise's existence]. [Eloise author] Kay [Thompson] and I worked here on all three of the books."

The film goes beyond Knight's work on the Eloise books to explore his other work as an illustrator and additional creative endeavors.

Even at 88, Knight is still working on various projects, including making elaborate home movies, as viewers will see in the documentary.

While Dunham and Wolf said there likely wouldn't be a sequel to the documentary, they were both excited to see what else Knight produces.

"Hilary's got more coming down the pipeline that will be released soon," Wolf said.

Knight says he's working on "many things" including a "theatrical enterprise" with Nine actress Liliane Montevecchi.

The Palm Court at The Plaza event was also attended by Dunham's producing partner on Girls and It's Me, Hilary, Jenni Konner, and her Girls co-star Allison Williams.