By Frank Ariveso
Anne Hathaway is down to earth, charming and witty; the Oscar winner is engaging, open and relatable, making the trolling she has received in the past all the more unfathomable. So where did all the Hatha-hate come from? One slightly stunted Oscars ceremony?

The reality, probably, is that the New York-born beauty had perhaps just been trying a little too hard. Having long suffered from a chronic need to please others, she took to putting on a cheery media facade to endear people to her, which had the exact opposite effect.

But as time has progressed, the Oscar-winning actress has undergone a profound self-re-examination, confessing, “I didn’t think I was good enough, so I pretended to be someone I wasn’t.”

These days, that honesty stretches right through into her movie-making too. “I have learned a huge lesson from every job I’ve worked on, but of course, not all of them are my own personal taste. I’d be first in line for some more than others, but I’d still see them all.”

Her new movie, Serenity, comes from the creative mind of Oscar nominee Steven Knight. It is a daringly original, sexy, stylized thriller, which positions Baker Dill (Academy Award winner Matthew McConaughey) as a fishing boat captain leading tours off a tranquil, tropical enclave called Plymouth Island.

His quiet life is shattered, however, when his ex-wife Karen (Hathaway) tracks him down with a desperate plea for help. She begs Dill to save her and their young son from her new, violent husband (Jason Clarke) by taking him out to sea on a fishing excursion, only to throw him to the sharks and leave him for dead.

Karen’s appearance thrusts Dill back into a life he’d tried to forget, and as he struggles between right and wrong, his world is plunged into a new reality that may not be all that it seems.

Proud of what is already an impressive body of work, she chats about her desire for risk and danger in her career and why she was looking for something different.
The star lives in LA with husband, Adam Schulman and their two-year-old son, Jonathan.


STRIPLV: So, your character in the movie—tell us a little bit about her.
HATHAWAY: I play Karen, who is a woman in a desperate situation. She is trapped in a toxic and abusive marriage to a man named Frank (played by Jason Clarke), and things have gotten so desperate that she has no choice but to try and have him killed. Karen has watched her life slip away from her over the last 10 years of her marriage. She married a man for security, and he turned out to be a monster. So, where she is at right now, she’s not hoping for anything grand, she’s not hoping for any romantic stories. I think she just wants to get back the stability in her life that she once had.
STRIPLV: What are the main themes of the movie?
HATHAWAY: The movie is about so many things—it‘s about compulsion, it’s about love, it’s about revenge and in some ways, forgiveness. But it’s hard to give anything away going into the film because it’s a mystery and a thriller and it was a film and a script that ripped me apart but in a really good way. I am really proud to have been chosen to star in this film, and I am very happy with the end result, as well. Steven Knight (the film’s director) has such an incredible mind, and I would say that it is a film about all of the things that we are not talking about. It’s about violence and the inheritance of violence. The family itself has been torn apart by war, and this film centers on events that happen 10 years after the war is over—which is alluded to in the movie—but we don’t get to hear too much about that, and we certainly don’t go into details about it, either. This is always the problem when you star in a film which is heavily shrouded going through the promotion! (Laughs) But I will be more than happy to talk about it after people have seen it.
STRIPLV: What’s it like working opposite Matthew McConaughey?
HATHAWAY: I’ve said it before, but Matthew’s just a very easy guy to be around. It’s so easy when you’re working with people who don’t take themselves too seriously. He is, of course, an actor of incredible stature, but he’s one of those people who expresses that stature in the roles he plays and the performances he turns in, not in his day-to-day demeanor. What I also admire about Matthew is that ability to reinvent. I know a lot of actors talk about stepping outside of genres and playing about with different characters and different styles, but you watch some movies and you know the actor is really someone else much different than the person they are playing. With Matthew, I’ve always found him totally believable, totally absorbed, in whoever he is playing.
STRIPLV: I am led to believe that Matthew was acting with some serenity on set. Can you tell us a little bit about that?
HATHAWAY: So, we’re on set, and it’s very late. I mean, we worked some really late nights on this film, and it’s kind of near the end of the night, and sometimes, people’s humor starts to slip away from being funny into being a little bit mean, for example, if somebody doesn’t totally nail their mark. We had a non-professional actor doing something, and he was very confused, he didn’t know what was going on, and there was somebody else on set whose humor was kind of slipping into that snarky place. So, I watched Matthew in between shots just kind of took it all in and was not going to have this. He got up and calmly took the person by the arm, and they went off to a private place, and I don’t know what was said, but when they came out that person was respectful, and it was as if they had been re-centered. I could think of a lot of people who would have thrown a glass, I can think of a lot of people who would have tried to embarrass that person as a way of taking care of the situation, whether or not they were embarrassing that person. But Matthew just handled it, and I thought that was very cool.
STRIPLV: Talking about people losing their cool, when you have a scene when your character has to cry or something similar to that, how do you get in that mindset?
HATHAWAY: I think that it is important to understand the life of your character up to that point. Whether you cry or not, you have to understand all of the circumstances that led them there and for me, I am always interested in whether or not I have scar tissue in common with my character. The way that they are created they are kind of inside of you, and then one day, they are you, and you have kind of faded away. So, I find that very often pain is a great way of getting into character and using anything that you can relate to.
STRIPLV: What’s your process for choosing and assessing a script?
HATHAWAY: There is no set process, per se, but I think the best scripts are those that I read and really can’t work out. It was a bit like when I first read Colossal – I sat back and said to myself, “What the fuck did I just read?” It was so removed and fresh and bracing; it made me sit up. It was exactly what I am after – that kind of thing represents for me the movies I wanted to make when I first got into acting. Just entirely directionless, in a good way, and really unpredictable. These are the kinds of movies where I would have been first in line at the theater, whether I was in it or not! It’s about choosing stuff that, in whatever way, pushes the boundaries of filmmaking—so trippy, entirely left of center—the sort of thing that will make me fall back in love with why I do this—something that teleports me to another, visceral experience.
STRIPLV: Do you find it easy to portray dark, challenging characters, as well as the funny, light ones? the funny, light ones?
HATHAWAY: Certainly, because we’ve all been to dark places as people. That’s inevitable – it just is. We all get down, despair, wonder will it get better, and it inevitably does. I’m making it sound much worse than it has been in the past, but we’re all the same, life’s a rollercoaster.
STRIPLV: Coming back after having your son, is it a tough juggling act?
HATHAWAY: I was so fearful that I wouldn’t be able to get pregnant, it wasn’t the easiest journey, and it’s something I wanted for a long time but it happened, and he’s here, and I’m so happy that he is, everything after is a gift. At the start, I was making it up as went go, so far so good. So far so amazing—when we got him to his first birthday that felt like a big achievement. (Laughs) Everything since then, with the relief and confidence that grows every day, has become easier.
STRIPLV: Someone told me the other day you were teetotal, that must help.
HATHAWAY: No, god no. I am not. (Laughs) Before I went to college, maybe, but then I went to Vasser, I let loose, maybe went a little further than I should have sometimes. It was never out of control but yeah. I think most people are shocked to learn I’m not teetotal, far from it.
STRIPLV: Emily Blunt said she used to un-focus her eyes to play drunk. What was your trick?
HATHAWAY: I don’t know if she did the same but what I found very helpful in those scenes where I’m playing drunk, who’s trying to be sober, before they’d say action, I’d spin around in a circle as many times as I could and when they’d say action, I’d be in this very disorientated, wobbly space and I’d attempt to walk in a straight line. Which is impossible. It worked. (Laughs)
STRIPLV: You seem happier and content, in yourself now.
HATHAWAY: I’m very happy with how my life is evolving. I’ve figured out that I don’t have to stress myself as much and can just enjoy everything more by being true to who I am.
STRIPLV: Your honesty is very warming.
HATHAWAY: It’s just I’ve realized over the years that you don’t ever want to look like you’re trying too hard, and I know I do sometimes, or at least, I did. But then I figured out that I don’t have to put on an act and I can still be appreciated just for who I am in my own awkward, contradictory, messed-up self. I don’t try to hide behind some façade that isn’t me.
STRIPLV: Does being settled make you look back on past relationships and experiences?
HATHAWAY: I do like to reflect because it proves to you how far you have come. I guess every relationship is different. Sometimes you fall in love very hard, and sometimes it takes time to develop. I remember many years ago when I was at a low point in my life, and a stranger entered my life, and we had this fairly intense time together even though it didn’t last very long. Unfortunately, we wound up going our separate ways, and we no longer have any contact but he had this incredibly positive impact on my life, and it was one of those relationships that changes you for the better. In general, though, a relationship becomes real once the initial glow wears off and you each start to reveal yourself and become much more open. That’s when you’re going to find out if it’s going to last. Ultimately, I am very lucky with who I fell in love with—a keeper, so I kept him. He was smart enough to know I still had a lot of demons to battle and gave me my own time and space.
STRIPLV: What’s next? A return to music?
HATHAWAY: Music is a big part of my life and always has been. As a young girl, I sang in choirs and trained as a soprano. I also sang in an a capella group in college. My mother also toured the country with Les Mis and music, and musical theater was a huge part of my upbringing. I would often listen to Evita in my room and imagine myself as Eva Peron singing on Broadway. But I always associate music with performing and acting, and I realized a lifelong dream when I played Fantine (in Les Misérables, for which she won an Oscar).
STRIPLV: And you can play the guitar, right?
HATHAWAY: I know a few songs like “Sea of Love” that I can play on the guitar and feel pretty comfortable at it, but I don’t see myself ever becoming some sort of folk singer. (Laughs) Also, songwriting is not one of my skills.
STRIPLV: What about comedy?
HATHAWAY: Sure, I do love and will always love doing comedy. I’m a big fan of stories that explore relationships and try to understand what brings people together as lovers or friends. Humor is a great way of presenting those—of finding a way in.
STRIPLV: Will you work with your husband Adam Shulman again (the duo produced Song One)?
HATHAWAY: It was a great thing to do. Adam is so organized and sure about what he’s doing that we never had any problems working on this together, so I don’t see why not. I actually respect my husband even more after having made that film with him, and he’s a very good producer. I didn’t realize is how hard it is to produce a film. There are so many details and so many issues to deal with on a constant basis, and I have a lot more respect for the producers who work very hard to finance and get movies made.
STRIPLV: Is acting still as much fun now as in your teens when you were starting?
HATHAWAY: I don’t think it will ever not be fun—it is a constant journey, as much about yourself as it is the character you embody. I love that thrill, always have, and I’m sure always will. For as long as people want to watch me then I will carry on performing because it is such a pleasure and the most exhilarating thing I think I could possibly do. What I will say is variety is important to me in how I move from one role to another, but to have the role in the first place is the ultimate thing for me, and despite the things I have been through I do always consider myself very fortunate.
STRIPLV: There were so many people who don’t want to take the job of hosting the Oscars. It’s too hard, isn’t it?
HATHAWAY: Why does nobody want to do it? I just think that the show by design is very long and unwieldy. You know what Jeff Bridges said at the Golden Globes about how the ships were taking up too much fuel to even turn the rudder because the rudder was so huge and then some guy came up with the technology to turn the rudder? Well, I think the Oscars needs to figure out what that technology is to figure out how to be defter at changing position and turning that boat around. Because it is big, I’m not saying that it’s an easy task to do. But I think that some change might be necessary to make it more attractive for people to host it. And before you say, I am not one of the whole bunch of actors who have been asked to take turns at presenting it. Well, if I am one of those, I certainly haven’t been made aware of that fact. I think they would be more interested in keeping me as far away from it as possible. I could be being crazy about this, but the Oscars used to be a luncheon, they fed everybody, and you would get up, and you’d give a speech maybe ten seconds long. I wonder if it’s not nice to have the actual ceremony part of it be private, be non-televised or streamed, and then you put on a huge thing, and the winners come out and give a speech. But if you’re nominated, you’re not obligated to come; there’s a ton of musical performances and—I don’t know.