Interview: Rachel Getting Married's Anne Hathaway

From the moment she steps into the room, it’s clear that Anne Hathaway is not like other girls. Some starlets dress up to the nines for a press junket, their evening make-up looking strangely clown like in the early afternoon sunlight. So it was very refreshing when Anne chose to answer questions wearing jeans, a t-shirt, and a dirty pair of sneakers. Her commitment to her character and fellow actors was admirable as was her habit of keeping track of which journalist had raised their hand first. Though she’s been going through a bad time lately, she kept her focus on the film and even talked about her experience with the DNC.

What was the coolest thing about playing Kym?

Besides that hair? I think for me it was the first time I’ve not editorialized a character. Sometimes I’ve felt like I should know my character better than everyone: what is good about them, what is bad, what their journey is. In a way I would over think it. I had a realization about a month before we made this movie that it didn’t matter if I liked Kym or not. It doesn’t matter, no offense, if any of you like Kym or love her. The only thing that was important to her story was that you understand her. The worst thing I could do would be to try and manipulate her to gain the audience’s sympathy or respect. My only job is to make it truthful and if it’s truthful, then she will be understood and people can take away from her what they want. But she’ll be honest.

Who did you understand her to be?

I’ve gotten a lot of questions about playing a selfish director. Kym has flaws, but the thing that I love about this movie is that underneath it all is a girl fighting for her survival. She’s fighting to stay sober. To the people who say she’s selfish I wonder if they see what she puts up with in the movie, how she’s seen, how she’s treated. And she’s there putting up with it because she loves her sister. Kym has the biggest heart of any character I’ve ever encountered and she’s frighteningly intelligent and really extreme. My heart goes out to her because I know people like that, who are overwhelming and that’s what Kym does. She overwhelms her senses. She was so much fun to play.

Jonanthan Demme has said that the looseness of the screenplay inspired him as a director. Did you feel that the script inspired performance?

Do you yoga? You know when you’re trying something new and the only way to do a difficult pose is to be relaxed as possible? That’s what making this movie was like. There were so many things being thrown at you and all you could do was say, okay, let’s try it. Jonathan Demme is steering the ship and I’m just happy to be onboard. I personally feel that your own personal hang-ups and feelings don’t matter onset. It’s all about telling the story and doing the scene and telling the truth. I automatically try to feel comfortable wherever I am because if I’m uncomfortable it’ll only hurt me. The consistency and complexity of the scrip and the truthfulness of it made it easy. You just had to show up and find the truth every day.

Do you think that things that happens to you as a teen influence you your whole life or can you put things in a back drawer?

I think one of the most beautiful things that we have as human beings is our ability to heal. I think it’s dangerous to put things in a back drawer. Everything that’s happened to me, in my experience (and maybe I haven’t been through things traumatic enough), good and bad has happened for a reason. I’ve been made stronger from the good stuff and much, much, much stronger from the bad stuff. I don’t want to put anything in a drawer, but I want to let things rest.

Do you think the character of Kym is one that will stay with you for a while? What kind of influence has she had on you as a person?

I didn’t want to let go of Kym. I’m not going to lie. I loved her. After I played this character I felt more of a willingness to put myself out there and not be afraid of judgment or being disliked. I’ve found a lot of confidence thanks to this role. That level of honesty and self-representation has deepened my relationship with people I love in my life and has made my life better. Even if Kym’s not with me anymore, her lessons are.

In the simulated wedding atmosphere, were other guests informed of who Kym was?

Everyone had back story that Jonathan talked to them about. It was a mixed bag, but I thought it was really cool. I got to meet Fab Five Freddy, like we’d been friends forever. I was running up to him, jumping on him, asking him questions. He was game, but I totally crossed the line at one point and it totally worked for the characters.

How are you dealing with all the Oscar buzz?

It’s thrilling to have inspired people with my performance and I’ve never done anything that warranted or garnered that before. I’m enjoying having my work enjoyed. That being said, ultimately the buzz doesn’t matter until the nominations come out so I’m not really thinking about it.

After doing Rachel Getting Married, how light and breezy is Bride Wars?

It was tough to go back to the 19-hour shooting days. In this one if we worked 10 hours, everyone would complain. But Bride Wars had a really rigorous shooting schedule. I was still coming out of Jonathan Demme’s light touch with the character, but Bride Wars is 180 degrees the other way. It’s impossible to not have fun with Kate Hudson. She’s a ray of sunshine!

Was it cool to switch gears and promote a fragrance, where you didn’t have to have a character or analyze a character?

But I had a character! I did analyze her. I think sometimes I torture myself with all this tuff. It was fun to tell a story in 30 seconds. We’re about to shoot a second campaign and have to tell a story in 12 seconds. It’s a different kind of storytelling. It’s a challenge but it’s also really fun.

After the success of Get Smart are you going to do another one?

I haven’t been asked yet. I understand that people are hopeful. If you can, please call Warner Brother’s.

Will you talk a bit about your DNC experience?

A: Wow, it was amazing. But let me preface this by saying that when I’m promoting a movie, I don’t promote politics, and when I’m promoting politics, I don’t promote a movie. But to talk about the DNC as an experience without going into my adoration of Brack Obama? Entirely not talking about politics! I love Barack Obama and think he should be the president. It was a really cool thing when we made this movie because Jonathan made it look like his life and it looks like my life and it looks like the American I know. I was at the DNC and it looked like the America that I know. The RNC just didn’t. The word liberal has been so besmirched for the past 8 years by the current administration that it’s caused people to lose hope. So to see people standing there, looking at a candidate like Barack Obama and saying that our liberal policies produced that genius or helped that genius along and gave him opportunities? That’s what America can be and that’s what we should be moving towards. If 84,000 people who felt disenfranchised and hopeless and powerless and without a voice to suddenly start believing, it was like a liberal revival.

Do you have siblings that influenced the dynamic in the movie?

I don’t have sisters, but I do have girlfriends that were as close as sisters. I’ve grown up observing my friends who’s had sisters. I always thought they hated each other but that’s the thing about sisterhood. You have a person who you’re free to love with your whole heart and hate with your whole heart.

Rosmarie DeWitt told us that you two didn’t become friendly onset and that it helped establish the strained relationship between the sisters. Was this true for you, as well?

We wanted it that way. We went out to have a dinner and it was a little awkward because we were half in character. We thought the awkwardness would be good between us because the characters don’t really know each other at all. We kind of kept a respectful, friendly distance. It was never any question that it was personal, but just what would serve the story best. We’ve gotten to know each other since the movie wrapped and I really like her. She’s a great girl and she’s so adorable. She’s a phenomenal actress and I expect great things from her.