HERE AND NOW
Cute and perky in The Princess Diaries 1 & 2 and Ella Enchanted, sharp and sparky in The Devil Wears Prada, Becoming Jane and Brokeback Mountain, the 26-year-old Brooklyner follows up summer flick Get Smart with Jonathan Demme’s Rachel Getting Married. As Kym, an acerbic, kohl-eyed fuck-up released from rehab for her sister’s wedding, Hathaway gets to unleash her acting chops with an in-yer-face character that she claims “changed my life”…
Someone refers to the women in Rachel Getting Married as pains in the ass. Doesn’t that make Kym a colonoscopy?
Is that with or without an anaesthetic?
Seriously though, how do you approach a character it’s hard to feel sympathy for?
That’s an awesome interpretation of her, but Kym’s the sort of person that I would be friends with and I am friends with. So the hard part for me was making sure that I wasn’t compelled to make her likeable. I didn’t concern myself with whether the audience loved her, I only worried about whether they understood her. So whether you like her or not, that’s about you.
You must think Total Film is a bit of twat…
[Laughs] I just wanted to make sure that whatever your interpretation of her is, she’s just being herself. I only figured that out about a month before we started – it was a kind of gushy moment that made me realise what love is and how it really is without limits and without preconceived notions. It opened my heart, it changed my life and the way I view the world.
How’s that then?
Well, we all have warts… Not physically, obviously! But we all have faults and so often we feel compelled to pretend that we don’t. And I think we should give each other more credit to be ourselves and be more accepting of each other.
She gives a train wreck of a speech at the rehearsal dinner. Did you improvise it?
No, that was the exact speech that Jenny [Lumet] wrote. It is painful to watch and no one’s responding, everyone just wants her to shut the hell up and sit down. Doing that scene was the most fun I have ever had acting.
Jonathan Demme shot the film like a home video. It’s a bit like watching The Blair Witch Project: The Wedding Party.
Yeah, and the Blair Witch actually turned up in this one! [Laughs]
Did you do this film to shake up your image?
I get that question in every single interview and, not because I’m cocky, but I’ve never defined myself by the way other people do. It’s always been about, “Be yourself.” Well, the person I am is an actress and I feel like in this movie I’ve earned that title. I’ve certainly been striving to earn it since The Princess Diaries.
There’s no career-move aspect to it at all?
I’ve never made choices based on that or thought about the way I was perceived because I don’t see the point in it. Those perceptions aren’t going to motivate me to try harder. If I can’t motivate myself, then I shouldn’t be doing this.
But it’s cool to do something different…
Of course it was, but not for the reason you were asking! It wasn’t cool because I’d done The Princess Diaries, it was cool because Jonathan is a fucking great director. It was cool on its own merits.
How many times have you seen the film?
Three and a half. The first time was just before Christmas last year. The second time was after ADR and Jonathan asked me if I wanted to come to a screening and who should be there but Tom Hanks? So I didn’t watch the movie that time – I was watching Tom Hanks watch the movie.
What did he think?
He loved it! It was so cool. The third time was at Venice and the fourth time was last night [the Toronto Film Festival premiere]. It’s an amazing feeling getting two standing ovations in one week.
Are you hoping that you’ll bag an Oscar nomination for Kym?
It doesn’t really matter to me. I either will or I won’t.