Dexian Wang
by Dexian Wang

Colossal, which stars Anne Hathaway delivering a raw and goofy performance as an alcoholic/kaiju monster (?), lands on CATCHPLAY this week. It’s very good! Anne Hathaway has alternated between wholesome media darling and polarising figure in pop culture, which snowballed into a collection of haters on Twitter, the #Hathahaters. With the release of Ocean's Eight last year and The Hustle on deck, it seems like Anne is enjoying a golden moment again. And what better time to take a stroll down memory lane, dive deep into Hathaway’s diaries, and revisit some pivotal moments from her career?


1. Becoming a Princess

Anne auditioned for her major film role as Mia Thermopolis in The Princess Diaries, while on a 26-hour layover in Los Angeles. She was on her way to New Zealand to film The Other Side of Heaven. The competition was a list of the who’s who of 90s golden girls, including Juliette Lewis, Reese Witherspoon, Kirsten Dunst, Alicia Silverstone, Jessica Biel, Claire Danes, Kate Hudson, Cameron Diaz, Drew Barrymore, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Brittany Murphy, Katie Holmes, Christina Applegate, Kate Beckinsale and Eva Mendes. Liv Tyler was considered to be the front runner.

Hathaway was extremely nervous during her audition, to the point she fell out of her chair. That inherent clumsiness was something that impressed director Garry Marshall. She reminded him of Julia Roberts, whom he had directed in Pretty Woman, comedian Harpo Marx, for her unique combination of both glamour and physical comedy. The final kicker? Marhsall’s granddaughters convinced Marshall that Hathaway had the more “princess-like hair” over Liv Tyler.

2. Auditioning for Ang Lee

One of Hathaway’s first roles to transit from the young woman/princess archetype was her role in Brokeback Mountain as Jack Twist’s long-suffering wife, Lurleen Newsome. In the film, Lurleen goes from a liberated go-getter, to a cynical, indifferent woman. Therefore, it may be surprising to learn that Anne Hathaway auditioned for Ang Lee in full princess get-up.

“On the Universal lot for auditions, the casting director told me the next actress coming in to read was going to apologize for her clothes and makeup, but to just let her do that and go into the reading. Then Anne came in, wearing heavy makeup and dressed as a princess, because she was shooting a parade scene for ‘The Princess Diaries 2’ on the Universal lot. She used her lunch hour to audition for the part.” Specifically, she was in her costume for the parade scene of that movie. In that very room, a literal transition from a teenage comedy star’s most identifiable role to serious dramatic actress was taking place.

Brokeback Mountain

3. Makeover from the Devil

Anne wasn’t the first-choice name to play Andrea “Andy Sachs” in The Devil Wears Prada. While the director, David Frankel, liked her enough to not need her to audition, she was still competing with over 100 actresses for the role. Specifically, Rachel McAdams, fresh from the success of Mean Girls and The Notebook, was the name Fox wanted for the role. However, McAdams declined multiple times, telling the studio she was trying to avoid mainstream projects for a while. Hathaway stayed patient and actively worked on the role, going as far as tracing "Hire me" in the sand of the zen garden on studio executive Carla Hacken's desk when she talked about the project with the executive.

anne hathaway wink GIF

4. Same dream, twenty times

For her one-take Oscar-winning performance of “I Dreamed A Dream”, Anne may have gone a little overboard. In an interview with Yahoo! Movies, she revealed that they did about 20 takes over 8 hours:

"We did it upwards of 20 times, but it was the fourth take that Tom [Hooper, the director] came up to me and said, 'You know, I have it. That was the one. I don't imagine we're going to do better than that.' "And I, of course, am like, 'No no no no, we gotta go, we gotta go,' and 'I can do it again...' And I never broke through in the same way again. So, at the end of eight hours of singing the song we realized we could have finished after the first 20 minutes."

Well, sometimes, you just have to do it the hard way to find out.


5. All that weight loss… not great

In order to play Fantine (a role her mother had played in a touring musical production), Anne Hathaway famously went on a Christian Bale-type diet. She lost 25 pounds, going on a “near-starvation” diet to do so. Before filming, she lost a further 10 pounds by doing a "strict cleanse" to look "simultaneously emaciated and radiant." For Fantine’s final stage where she becomes destitute, turns to prostitution and then dies of tuberculosis, Hathaway went to the extreme, losing a further 15 pounds by eating only two thin squares of dried oatmeal paste a day.

Earlier this year, she reflected on what the extreme weight loss had done to her, and how she hadn’t been able to enjoy winning the Academy Award fully to PEOPLE Magazine.

“I’d lost an unhealthy amount of weight in two weeks, I didn’t know anything about nutrition. I taxed my body, and my brain bore the brunt of it for a while. I just felt very anxious and very lost at that time. That weight loss was not a long-term good thing for my health, and it took a really long time to come back from it. And I was still really sick because of it. I had just turned 30. I had just gotten married, even the most positive thing can be upheavals to your identity. So to just have this moment and not really know who I was — and the moment when you just feel like you’re on display — it wasn’t a comfortable feeling. And I didn’t do what I hoped that I would if I ever found myself in that moment.”

Coupled with the #Hathahaters being at peak form that year, it must have been a difficult period for Anne. We’re certainly glad she’s gotten past it it!

6. First instinct… right one

Anne Hathaway and James Franco hosting the Oscars together will forever live on in that show’s history as one of the most ill-suited pairings of all-time. The sight of two completely different personas onstage - the earnest theater nerd Hathaway giving her absolute all, with low-energy/possibly stoned Franco was a complete mismatch.

In that same interview with PEOPLE, she revealed that she had turned down the job, but Franco convinced her to do it.

Sometimes, you really gotta go with your instincts.

7. One leg for mankind

While on the Graham Norton Show to promote Interstellar, Hathaway showed off her secret to filming zero gravity scenes: standing one-legged!


8. Working with female directors

In an interview with Peter Travers in 2017, Hathaway confessed that she herself may have fallen victim to “internalised misogyny” while working on the set of One Day with female director Lone Scherfig.

“I really regret not trusting her more easily,” Hathaway said. “And to this day I am scared that the reason I didn’t trust her in the way I trust some other directors is because she’s a woman.”

“I’m so scared that I treated her with internalised misogyny. And I’m scared I didn’t give her everything she needed because I was resisting her on some level,” Hathaway added.

Hathaway elaborated further, suggesting that internalised misogyny may have affected her choices of roles. “When I get a script, [if] I see [it’s] a first film directed by a woman, I have in the past focused on what was wrong with it. And when I see [it’s] directed by a man, I focus on what’s right with it,” she said. “I had actively tried to work with female directors. And I still had this mindset buried in there somewhere.”

Since then, Anne Hathaway has been doing her part to do more for female representation on screen. In addition to working with director Nancy Meyers on 2015’s The Intern, she’s since starred in 2018’s all-female ensemble Ocean's Eight, and has The Hustle (a female-centred remake of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels) and The Last Thing He Wanted (a political thriller directed by female directo Dee Rees) on deck for release in 2019.

Ocean's Eight