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People In Film | Anne Hathaway

Anne Hathaway | Bringing Emma Morley to Screen

For Anne Hathaway, the star of Lone Scherfig’s romance One Day, the project was love at first word. She told Imogen Carter of The Guardian about reading the script: “It was one of those magical experiences where I sat at my kitchen table, looked up hours later and dinner had been eaten around me. I was so engrossed. It was absurd to think that this beloved British character would be played by an American but I told my agent I have to play Emma Morley.” And despite Hathaway’s disclaimer, the director Lone Scherfig was thrilled with Hathaway’s take on Emma: “Anne is a very warm actress. She has the warmth of Elizabeth Taylor or Judy Garland … I love Emma as she is in the book, obviously, but I also love Anne Hathaway's version of her." In One Day, the young, impressionable Emma Morley meets the roguish Dexter (Jim Sturgess) on the day they graduate from college. The book and movie then chronicles their complex history together by checking in on them one day each year. And year after year, Emma slowly blossoms into a smart, beautiful and sage woman, it’s a transformation that Hathaway’s characters make often.

Anne Hathaway | Born to Perform

Anne Hathaway in rehearsal for Millburn High School's 1998 production of "Once Upon a Mattress"

Born in Brooklyn and raised in New Jersey, Anne Hathaway was in many ways a normal kid with an extraordinary talent. And except for a short phase when she wanted to be a nun, she was a theater geek from day one. Early on she signed up for classes at her hometown Paper Mill Playhouse. In 2011, Theater School Director Mickey McNany told, “I noticed right from the beginning that she had a very easy and natural confidence that really made her stand out…Even at such a young age she showed tremendous focus and a love of performing that would inspire everyone else in the cast.” Her turn in her high school’s 1998 staging of “Once Upon a Mattress” earned her the Paper Mill’s Rising Star Award, an honor bestowed on New Jersey’s finest young performers. Her talent quickly took her from New Jersey community theater to television where in 1999 she got a part in the series “Get Real.” When her TV gig ended early, Hathaway was pushed into film, and into audition with comedy star-maker Garry Marshall.

Anne Hathaway | A "Princess" is Crowned

The story goes that Garry Marshall decided to cast the unknown Anne Hathaway as the star of The Princess Diaries when she fell off her chair during the audition. While Hathaway later upended the veracity of that anecdote, the tale’s image of beauty and klutziness sums up perfectly the personality that made The Princess Diaries a worldwide sensation––and putting Hathaway at the top of every casting director’s list. Indeed it was Hathaway’s talent for transformation that caught critics’ attention. Hathaway is, as the San Francisco Chronicle’s Mick LaSalle explains, “a chameleon, who, from the most unpromising of beginnings, blossoms before our eyes into near-Audrey Hepburn-level loveliness.” Despite this talent, it was her family-friendly princess quality that filmmakers kept coming back to her in films like Nicholas Nickleby, Ella Enchanted, Hoodwinked!, and The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement. By the time the Princess sequel rolled around, the then 22-year-old actress was ready to grow up. Director Garry Marshall later joked to W that at the junket Hathaway “was talking Nietzsche and Schopenhauer, and Disney was getting nervous, and I said, ‘Annie, why don’t you talk about your hair a little; we’ll talk Nietzsche later.’ But that’s why I love Annie! When you look in her eyes, somebody’s always home, which is rare.”

Anne Hathaway | From Princess to Movie Star

After winning America’s heart, Hathaway started taking on roles that proved she could evoke a range of other emotions. In 2005’s Brokeback Mountain, she played Lureen Newsome, a rodeo princess who eventually realizes she’ll never fully capture the heart of her prince (played by Jake Gyllenhaal). It was the part that broke her tiara but raised her horizons. She later told NPR’s Terry Gross, "I am an actor who believes film is the director's medium. And I got along so well with [director] Ang Lee [on Brokeback Mountain] because I showed up and said, 'What color do you need me to be today in your painting?' I was so happy to serve him and his story and his vision." In 2006 The Devil Wears Prada, Hathaway plays the unlikely assistant to a ruthless fashion editor (played by Meryl Streep). In a way, real life imitated art during the production as Hathaway let herself be guided by her larger-than-life costar. “Working with her [Streep], like working with Ang Lee,” Hathaway explained to Cole Smithey, “I realized that if I was going to be able to play on that level I was going to have to let go of all of my insecurity and all of my ego about what I could deliver and feel like I was in new uncharted territory. All of my old rules didn’t apply because I was working with someone that was better than everyone else I’d ever worked with—not to be dismissive of them, but I think Ang and Meryl are pretty special.” Her schooling paid off as Hathaway expanded her range from romantic artist, as the young Austen in Becoming Jane, to slapstick spy, as the elegantly funny Agent 99 in Get Smart.  While many still viewed her as a Disney princess, Hathaway defied expectations, using those assumptions to her own ends. In his review of Rachel Getting Married, Entertainment Weekly’s Owen Gleiberman’s points out, “the last actress you'd expect to see cast as a self-loathing, frayed-nerves drug casualty is a red-carpet blossom like Hathaway.” And as such her performance as Gleiberman continues is “a revelation: She makes toxic narcissism mesmerizing.” Others agreed, as Hathaway was nominated for a Golden Globe, Spirit and Academy Award for her performance.

Anne Hathaway | An Artist and an Activist

In recent years, Hathaway has breathed life into roles that ranged from the dramatic (as a lover in Love and Other Drugs) to fantasy (as the white queen in Alice in Wonderland) to the animated (as a bird in Rio). But she’s also fully embodied the role of being Anne Hathaway, a young star with integrity, humor and humanity. She defined that co-hosting the 83rd Academy Awards, winning the 2010 Hasty Pudding Woman of the Year, and co-hosting with Denzel Washington the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize Concert. Indeed as busy as her professional career was, she still found time for advocacy and charity. She’s lent her name to charity groups helping children, like St. Jude Children's Research Hospital and The Lollipop Theatre Network. She’s also targeted particular issues, like the first-amendment challenges with The Creative Coalition, female empowerment with Step Up, and GLBTQ rights with The Human Rights Campaign Fund, for which she received in 2008 an Ally for Equality Award. Indeed GLBTQ issues have been particularly personal because her brother Michael is gay. After doing Bride Wars, Hathaway told Modern Bride that her favorite wedding moment was her brother’s: “At one point, he and his husband were standing up there, and my mom got up to sing…She was beaming straight love into them and everyone felt it, and it was just this beautiful moment."


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