Anne Hathaway has earned her first Academy Award nomination for the riviting Rachel Getting Married. Hathaway, the former princess, has proven an acting force with her portrayal of a recovering drug addict attending her sister’s wedding.
Hathaway is now one of the year’s fab five when it comes to an actress in a leading role.
“Of course I found out Jonathan Demme was directing it and that sort of made me hit the roof!” Hathaway says.
Rachel Getting Married in the hands of the Philadelphia director with a screenplay by Jenny Lumet has resulted in nominations throughout award season for Hathaway. But, it is her Oscar nomination that has her most thrilled because of the passion she has for this part.
“I love Kym’s almost compulsive need for honesty and how direct she is. Her timing may not be appropriate, but she’s trying so hard to get across the chasm of tragedy that separates her from her family,” Hathaway says.
“She’s trying every day to choose joy and sobriety. She’s fighting for her place in the family. Trying to acknowledge and atone in her own way. At the end, maybe her sister Rachel understands her journey and that acceptance is crucial.”
A history of Hathaway
Hathaway’s big break was the Princess Diaries movies, but she caught casting director’s attention with her powerful turn opposite an Oscar queen — and fellow nominee for Doubt — Meryl Streep.
The pair teamed up in The Devil Wears Prada and audiences are still buzzing about that film.
Prior to being Disney’s go-to Princess and a critic darling, she climbed the silver screen ladder and achieved the almost-impossible in Hollywood: Getting audiences to take you seriously beyond a stereotype you portrayed more than once.
After the Princess Diaries movies and Ella Enchanted, most actresses would be sporting a tiara for the next three decades, but not Hathaway. When she tore up the screen as legendary British author Jane Austen in Becoming Jane, Hathaway had arrived.
In Rachel Getting Married, her character, Kym, is a flood of emotions that often push towards the angrier side of the spectrum. Kym is coming to grip with her drug addiction and it is not easy during a family event like a wedding.
“Kym comes home and is trying to communication. She tries to communicate and the family is trying to love her in any way they can. It’s about how those two things that are very far apart come together to a certain understanding,” Hathaway says. “I loved the way it sounded the way a family talks.”
For the thespian that is knocking audiences out with her performances of late found the Rachel Getting Married experience more stage than screen. “This one felt like theater. You had to listen ever second. Distraction was not an option,” she says.
“One of the lessons that the movie teaches, particularly for people in recovery, is how important it is to stay in the present. To be able to stay in character, and hear and react to the music and the scene around you, is very liberating for an actor. To me, this is a story about communication and love,” Hathaway continues, “and we were given the latitude to explore that.”
For Demme, the auteur who created The Manchurian Candidate’s successful remake, having Hathaway’s own spontaneity proved priceless for the filmmaker, albeit stressful for the performer.
“There’s one scene where Rosemary has a very intense monologue with Kym,” Hathaway says. “We did the first take and I couldn’t hear her.”
Demme had a second camera crew filming the musicians playing outside on the porch, just beyond the Hathaway scene.
What did Hathaway do?
She yelled ‘Do they have to play all afternoon?’ Demme captured the moment and the shot and the shout ended up in the film. “I love that that happened,” Demme adds.
Those moments and dozens more added up to a treasured creative experience for Hathaway. “Working with Jonathan has been an amazing experience. Intuitively we were always moving in the same direction,” Hathaway says. “There was such an atmosphere of trust. Since we never knew when the camera was on us, the cast had to listen every second and achieve a very intense level of focus.”
Now, she has an Oscar nomination to her credit, spun from the entire treasured experience of making Rachel Getting Married. “It’s experiences like this that made me want to be an actor,” Hathaway says. “I’ve been very lucky to be here.”