Exclusive: Q&A with Anne Hathaway

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(Anne Hathaway, Me)

When Disney’s The Princess Diaries was released in 2001, audiences all over the world fell completely head over heels in love with its hysterical and enchanting young star, Anne Hathaway. Now, nearly a decade later, our beloved princess has matured into one of the most sought after and recognizable women in all of Hollywood. The actress grew up before our very eyes by playing roles such as a betrayed wife in Brokeback Mountain, the underappreciated assistant to Meryl Streep’s ferocious fashion magazine editor in The Devil Wears Prada, the classic novelist Jane Austen in Becoming Jane, and the hilarious female field agent in Get Smart. In 2008, Hathaway received critical acclaim for her daring portrayal of a former drug addict who leaves rehab to attend her sister’s wedding in the indie-drama Rachel Getting Married. This unforgettable performance garnered a nomination for a “Best Actress” Academy Award, the highest possible honor for a film actress.

While this may seem like a resume with a lifetime full of achievements, Hathaway has only just begun. Up next for the talented leading lady is the live action Tim Burton directed re-make of Alice In Wonderland, in which she will be joining the Disney family once again by playing the classic character of the White Queen. In 2010, she will be starring in a remarkable new project (which could easily become the role of her lifetime) called Get Happy, a musical biopic of legendary actress Judy Garland. Simultaneously with the movie’s release, Hathaway will also be playing Garland live on stage in a Broadway version of the film. The co-release of the motion picture and the stage musical will not only shed light on one of the biggest icons in both music and film history, but will give Hathaway a chance to combine her two biggest passions at once – theater and film.

Getting reacquainted with performing for a live audience, Hathaway is currently starring as Viola in “Twelfth Night” in this summer’s annual free New York outdoor theater festival, Shakespeare In The Park. At the opening night gala of this show, my boyfriend Jonathan Bender and I toasted drinks with and spoke to Anne for a little bit. With her incredible modesty, intelligence, poise, and charm, she chatted with us about her transition to the stage, fashion, why she feels Judy Garland is a relevant figure worth creating such an extraordinary piece of art about, and how she tackles all of her diverse and ever-changing roles.

Since you’ve become a screen actress, this is your first time doing theater, correct?

Well I started my career by starting out in theater and then found myself happily working in television and films and now am happy to find myself back in theater … I’m very happily employed (laughs).

Is the transition into doing theater difficult after having gotten used to doing so much film work? How different is it for you to act on stage than it is in front of a camera?

It’s been a good solid ten years since the last time I did theater. I was sixteen then and I’m twenty-six now, and my life has obviously changed. It is different but I couldn’t tell you specifically how just because I myself am so different too.

So on a big night like tonight, what are you drinking and who are you wearing?

I am drinking a vodka and tonic and I’m wearing a Marchesa and some lovely sandals that I got in Saint-Tropez. I actually was wearing heels for the pictures on the red carpet, but then I found out the (after) party was going to be on grass and so I switched over.

Yeah, otherwise your feet would be sinking down.

It’s practical glamour.

Are you nervous for your upcoming Judy Garland project? That’s such an amazing role to play!

Of course! I mean even last night I was watching YouTube footage of her late into the evening. It is such an honor but clearly it’s an incredibly daunting opportunity. I’m going to tackle it and I accept the responsibility but I also appreciate how big it is and what an icon and what a talent she was.

What specifically is it about her career and life that inspired you to want to take on such a huge responsibility by portraying her?

It begins and ends with her talent. She had a gift from God. She could express more in a song than novelists can in a lifetime of writing. It’s really an honor to be asked to portray an artist of that caliber.

Throughout your career, you’ve shown an incredibly wide range by appearing in multiples genres – I mean, you’ve done romantic comedies, teen comedies, independent films, dramas …

What was my teen comedy?

The Princess Diaries?

I don’t know – was that a teen comedy?

Well you played a high school-er, and it came out when I was a teenager so …

(Laughs) I was too.

So since you’ve already accomplished so much, what career goals do you still have? In other words, what specific fields or areas of acting do you feel you still want to conquer?

Oh my goodness. You know it’s very difficult to break it down in terms of what there is to accomplish. Everything has its demands, everything is different and difficult. I mean how can you compare doing something like The Princess Diaries to doing something like Shakespeare In The Park? Each time has its own challenges, but I guess the challenge is always to manage to tell a story honestly while maintaining your integrity as a human being. That’s kind of the challenge with every project … and what a glorious challenge to have! I love my life so much (laughs)!