- Simon Garner
Actor of the Week: Anne Hathaway
A new week begins, and with it comes a new Actor of the Week award! This week, our winner also celebrates her birthday - the brilliantly talented Anne Hathaway! Her career has only gone from strength to strength, and there’s not much that she hasn’t done!
‘Instant success’ is, perhaps, used too often, but in Hathaway’s case, it’s very true. This success was in 2001’s The Princess Diaries, her first major film role, and it is one she is still fondly looked upon for. The Princess Diaries sees Hathaway’s character, Mia Thermopolis, find out she is, in fact, the heir to the throne of the kingdom Genovia. She then has the struggle of processing this discovery alongside being a sometimes awkward, sheepish late-teen. Her personality is somewhat contrasting to what would be expected of a royal, as she is introvert and shy, and often ‘wishes to be invisible’. Hathaway is great here, she really lays the journey out for you to experience with her, from shy teen to royal princess. Having a daughter myself, it’s a film I am familiar with, and one I would recommend as a chilled out Sunday afternoon type film. She also starred in the sequel, The Princess Diaries 2, as well as Ella Enchanted, another family friendly film, so has this genre locked down and is much loved by many families as a result.
In many ways, she evolved from the family/child friendly roles, to a more mature version of this, almost growing with a generation of viewers and fans. Bride Wars is a great example of this. Here, she stars alongside Kate Hudson, and they play Emma and Liv, respectively. Bride Wars tells the story of Emma and Liv, friends since childhood, and how they have dreamed of the fairytale wedding since that childhood. In their adult years, however, friendship turns to rivalry when they are proposed to at a similar time, and end up scheduling their weddings on the same day. Hilarity ensues, with sabotage of each other's plans playing a large part. This is a guilty pleasure of mine, with the dance-off being a particular highlight! This is a great showcase of Hathaway’s funny side, and together with Kate Hudson, they have a brilliant on-screen relationship. As before, with the more child-friendly roles and films, she has a couple of this ilk in the locker, with The Devil Wears Prada being a slightly more mature flick, alongside Bride Wars.
The list of skills grows again, as we were then treated to her lending her voice to the character Jewel in Rio, and subsequently Rio 2. Another great family treat, from the people who brought us the Ice Age series, Hathaway is good fun as Jewel, working very well with Jesse Eisenberg, who plays the other lead, Blu.
After Rio, she entered a crucial phase of her career in film. From starring alongside former Actor of the Week Christian Bale, as Selina Kyle, in The Dark Knight Rises, to winning an Oscar for her turn in Les Misérables. Her ascent seemed complete.
Les Misérables saw Hathaway play Fantine, a factory worker who has to turn to a darker side for income, all in the name of supporting her daughter. Many will be familiar with the plot of Les Misérables, so I won’t go into too much depth, but being familiar, we will all know it required Hathaway to bring in a new skill - singing. Being a long-running musical production, this was obvious from the outset. Hathaway achieves this with ease, delivering an impeccable performance and really stuns her audience. Her Oscar for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role really came as no surprise to anyone as a result, and only cemented her place in Hollywood legend. Here, she also worked with another former Actor of the Week in Russell Crowe.
2014 saw Hathaway star in Interstellar - a favourite of ours at Life of Films, coming as no surprise to many, with it being a Nolan film! Here, it was Anne’s second time working under Nolan, and another occasion where she worked with a further two Actor of the Week winners, and on this occasion it was Matthew McConnaughey and Matt Damon. In Interstellar, Hathaway plays Brand, an astronaut in a team alongside McConnaughey’s Cooper. The team are sent on a mission to travel through a wormhole in space, with the goal being to find a way to cement the survival of the human race. With several twists and spikes of drama along the way, Nolan provides the perfect platform for a brilliant cast to thrive, and that they do. Hathaway is excellent, bringing a great balance of emotion and reason to her character, further justifying her place in the elite of the film world.
Hathaway is still a very young woman, which means there is so much more to come from her, and this is a hugely exciting prospect, given what she has already achieved in her career up to this point. Happy birthday for Sunday, Anne, we’ll raise a glass! And thank you for what you have given us so far, we look forward to many more enthralling roles!