Anne Hathaway could have taken the easy way out. After doing two Princess Diaries movies and playing another princess in Ella Enchanted, she could have just kept on taking roles of royalty in family-friendly fare. But for her most-recent big-screen turn, as the wife to Jake Gyllenhaals queer cowboy in Brokeback Mountain, she makes a daring change, playing a character who is (despite only appearing onscreen in a handful of scenes) complicated and sometimes unlikable. In the December issue of Out we offered up seven reasons this actress, who resides in Manhattans West Village and will next appear in the film adaptation of the book The Devil Wears Prada, rocks. Here we give you a few dozen more reasons to love her.
You once said in an interview when you were growing up that you wanted to be a nun.
Yeah, actually, its so funny you brought that up. I have been to the Vatican a few times since and I have gotta say, I saw some nuns there and I wanted to run up to them and say, Take me! Its still this feeling I have every once in a while of wanting to go into the service. Obviously, I dont think Im a good enough person. I like hedonism a little bit too much! But I love the idea of being completely devoted to service, zero vanity. I think you get a lot of spiritual freedom.
Talk about getting your role in Brokeback.
They wanted me to read for Alma [Heath Ledgers characters wife], but I said, no, Im Lureen. Im Lureen. I went in and Ang had no idea who I was or the work I had done. I think [producer] James Schamus was, like, Shes fresh out of drama school! I think Ang had been resisting stunt casting. James was worried if he heard Shes been in a lot of kids movies, he would get the wrong idea. But it went great. Now Im part of a film Im more proud of the film than anything I have ever created.
Had you ridden horses before?
Yeah, theres a horseback-riding scene in Ella Enchanted so I have been on a horse before. I thought I was OK on Ella Enchanted. Then I got to the set of Brokeback Mountain. I got on the horse and they were like, Oka-a-ay. And they were like, Maybe practice when youre not in Calgary. So I wound up going to Claremont Stables, and I went riding almost every day through Central Park. I got to be quite good, or so I thought. Then I got on set and I was really excited to show them what I learned. I got on the horse and we just got each other. Four days of rehearsal, I was ready to go, I was going to shoot all my own stunts. Everyone was raving at what a good rider I had become. The day of shooting, they switched horses on me. I dont know why. And I didnt get this horse and the horse didnt get me. And the horse wound up throwing me in front of 300 extras. And Ang came up to me and said, Well use the stunt girl. I was thinking I let Ang down and he was being so nice. I think he was trying to make me feel better and he said, You know what? When we were filming Crouching Tiger, Ziyi [Zhang] was really afraid of horses. She had 10 lessons, and then she was shooting bows and arrows with no problem, but the point is its hard. It was so embarrassing.
Did they have the stunt girl do it?
And by the way, my stunt rider was a 15-year-old junior world champion barrel racer! Shes amazing. You can see it in the film. Then I got on at a slightly slower pace. It was a blend.
You said you had no problem going topless in the film.
A reviewer actually mentioned that. They said, The most shocking thing about the film is that the princess gets nekkid. Michelle Williams and I talked a lot about this. We became well-known for things that had nothing to do with us. [Williams got her start on Dawsons Creek.] If you know me, you would know Princess Mia is miles away from who I am as a person. Same thing in a way with Ella. When I chose to make Ella Enchanted, I didnt know I was going to have to do Princess Diaries 2. All of a sudden I had cornered the princess genre without meaning to. By the end of Princess Diaries 2 I was ready to do something completely different. I got into this not to typecast myself. I got into it to be an actress, to scare the shit out of myself, and force myself into a place outside of my comfort discussion.
You have a successful career in film. Why not move to Los Angeles?
I have lived in L.A. when Im working, but when Im not working my time is really precious to me and I dont want to be in a place where Im not happy. I dont get L.A. I dont know what to do with myself out there. I cant be in the sun. Ive got really pale skin. Im not a throw-lemon-juice-in-my-hair, grab-the-surfboard kind of girl. I like New York for what it offers. It lets me be my brainy, geeky, yet somewhat-fashionable self. It lets me be me.
And you happen to have a gay brother, Michael, who, along with his boyfriend, went with you to Cambodia.
They came to Cambodia with me when I filmed my segment of A Moment in the World, Angelina Jolies documentary. I had wanted to go to Cambodia for a long time. When she said, Do you want an expenses-paid trip where you can direct your own section of the film in Cambodia? I was like, Umhi, Santa Claus!
Before your brother came out, had you always had gay people in your life?
Oh, yeah. I have been around gay men since, literally, the day I was born. I had fairy godfathersone of them was my moms best friend from high school. I have known them forever. It never struck me as strange. I always remember it being something fine. It was just love to me.
Too bad it was Raven who got to duet with Julie Andrews in Princess Diaries 2 and not you!
I thought it was appropriate. Out of nowhere, two movies in, suddenly Mia can sing? I thought it organically made sense. Plus, Raven is a performer. She was going to sell it.
Anyone you would like to work with?
Im kinda kicking em down. Ive gotten Angelina, Meryl Streep, Ang Lee. I want to work with Dustin Hoffman, who I think is sublime. You know who I just met, who I think is going to be the next It girl for the next 30 years? Bryce Dallas Howard. Shes so funny, charming, sweet, and lovely. Shes my top pick. And I would die to work with John Cameron Mitchell. Hedwig [and the Angry Inch] is my favorite movie. I go around singing Wig in a Box.
What has been your most Hollywood moment that you can think of?
Many, many years ago I was on a television series called Get Real and there was a billboard in front of Fox. I was in Studio City shooting so I never made it over to that side of the hill. One day my parents were in town and we were driving around and saw it and they said, Oh, my God, its Annie! Later on we went there and my brothers and I got out there and were posing with the sign. Thats my Jersey-meets-Hollywood story. I was like, Oh, my God, Im on a billboard! And then I was like, Oh, my God, why didnt I get photo approval?
To read the Seven Reasons Anne Hathaway Rocks! pick up the December issue of Out.