Jay Sage: Good day, Entertainment Bureau readers, and welcome to another edition of the Chat Wrap. It’s a Wednesday morning and that means it’s time for our weekly Actors’ Series segment. Today we’re talking about Anne Hathaway, who has been a big star for years now but whose stock may be approaching a boiling point after her recent portrayal of Selina Kyle in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises. As our coverage of the movie winds down, I have to say I was most impressed by Hathaway.
Jared Feldman: She’s certainly come a very long way from the mousey twenty something who appeared in the Princess Diaries in 2001. I don’t know if The Dark Knight Rises is the peak of her abilities, but she did do an excellent job working within her character.
Sage: I don’t remember the circumstances, but I did sit through Princess Diaries at some point. For all the money it made, it’s borderline amazing that Hathaway shook that ignominy off of her resume so quickly. Her strategy was somewhat controversial, as Christian/parenting groups attacked her for jumping into serious roles that included nudity immediately after starring in a popular kid flick, but you have to wonder if it might have been the best thing to do.
Feldman: After seeing the direct to DVD film Havoc, starring Hathaway and Bijou Philips I assumed she’d lost her marbles. It was written by Oscar winning writer Stephen Gaghan (who I once met in the Miami airport) but it was a typical underground teenage coming of age sex and drugs film essentially. I don’t know what it was, but it did allow Anne to swing a supporting role in Brokeback Mountain. While it again required nudity, her role was a crucial one to the creation of an all time classic.
Sage: There’s an unfortunate double standard in the movie industry. When a male actor wants to create a grittier persona, the best advice is pretty much “Play a bad guy or an anti-hero.” For an actress, it’s “Get naked”. I guess that’s a different issue for a different time, and I’m not suggesting that Hathaway didn’t choose those roles out of her own volition.
Feldman: I believe Hathaway really wanted to avoid being typecast as the whimsical children’s film actor and in order to catapult herself away, she needed to make a somewhat shocking move. Her first role was on the 1999 TV series Get Real starring alongside Eric Christian Olsen, and a young Jesse Eisenberg. In addition to the Princess Diaries films, she also appeared in Ella Enchanted, Nicholas Nickleby and the animated Hoodwinked. I’m sure she and her brain trust decided that she needed to get away through any means possible.
Sage: Very possible. In any case, it’s fortunate that she avoided that typecast. To watch TDKR and her portrayal represents a BIG step forward in her acting method. She shows the hallmark of a great thespian in that she accomplishes much of her portrayal outside the vocal realm…with body language and facial emoting. I have to admit that I was expecting Selina Kyle to be a kitschy element in this film, but that wasn’t the case at all. Note to all actors/actresses looking to make that next step – find Christoper Nolan!
Feldman: Yes, as Christopher Nolan really discovered Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman. Only Joking. I think this was Hathaway’s first hugely mainstream role in which she was able to showcase her acting talent. She has performed in a few very quality roles in the past as well. After Brokeback Mountain,she did her best to hold her own against Meryl Streep in The Devil Wears Prada, played Jane Austen in becoming Jane and scored an Oscar nomination for Rachel Getting Married. I think it is clear that she’s got the acting talent, but prior to TDKR most people still remember her as Mia Thermopolis from The Princess Diaries. Most of her other roles were a bit too small or kitschy to get her wide acclaim.
Sage: I did enjoy Rachel Getting Married, but the movie along with her performance were a bit overly maudlin at times. Just my opinion. Becoming Jane was unspectacular and The Devil Wears Prada should be conveniently forgotten in the histories of both Hathaway and the legendary Streep. So, what should we expect next?
Feldman: I can kind of understand her need to break out, again as her roles the last few years have been questionable at best. Despite a solid role in Alice in Wonderland as the White Queen, she’s been stuck in poor romantic films like Love and Other Drugs, Bride Wars, and Valentine’s Day. Super quick aside, why is it that no one has been able to even come close to the multiple story romantic comedy a la Love Actually? Anyways, Hathaway should be able to pull some better roles with TDKR in the bag. Plus she’s probably going to be in the next four Christopher Nolan films now anyway.
Sage: Trying to deftly avoid any spoilers, there are numerous bits of evidence that her Catwoman might appear in the Batman segments of any upcoming Justice League movies, as Nolan is listed as producer on Man of Steel. That’s speculation, though. What isn’t speculation is that Hathaway’s vocal cords will be the subject of scrutiny when Les Miserables comes out on December 14th. She’ll portray Fantine, perhaps the most difficult female role. I imagine Hathaway’s rendition of “I Dreamed a Dream” will be particularly judged against the viral Susan Boyle performance. That said, it’s a movie so there’s sound editing magic at her disposal.
Feldman: I couldn’t have said it any better myself. Here’s to Anne Hathaway and her excellent portrayal of Selina Kyle. Not sure where she’s going to go from here, but I’m sure the sky’s the limit. That will do it for this edition of the Entertainment Bureau’s Chat Wrap. Keep on reading for more on All Things Entertaining.