Les Misérables star Anne Hathaway has spoken out about challenging perceptions of herself as an actress who is “very sweet, very accessible and not interesting”.
Reflecting on the past 12 months in which she has appeared as the very gritty and sexy Cat Woman in Batman film The Dark Knight Rises, married the “love of her life” Adam Shulman, turned 30 and been cast as Fantine in Les Mis, Hathaway has spoken ecstatically about shaking off the “good girl” image that has plagued her since she shot to fame in The Princess Diaries 12 years ago.
“I’m not Rihanna; I’m not cool. When people come up to me in the street, they often want a hug not a photo, and they want that because they like my work,” Hathaway said in an interview with Harper’s Bazaar.
“For a long time it was me and [my manager] against the world. I was seen as this bizarre-world good-girl cartoon that I in no way identified with – very vanilla, very sweet, very accessible and not interesting. I had no grit, no sex appeal.”
But getting married and growing older has fuelled her confidence. “It doesn’t help that that new crop of girls is so gorgeous, and so 22 years old. But I’m excited about it. I figured out a lot of things that work for me; I have the love thing figured out.”
Speaking about meeting Shulman, Hathaway says: “[I told my friend] ‘I’m going to marry that man’. I think he thought I was a little nuts, which I am a bit, but I’m also nice....”
“I’ve never really talked about this, but I was just very honest with him. I knew from the second I met him that he was the love of my life. I also knew that I couldn’t have met him at a worse time... I took my trust out for a ridiculous joyride with him.”
Shulman visited Hathaway while she was filming Les Misérables, but she had to send him home early as she feared the fun they were having together would hamper the feelings of sadness she needed to summon to play the tragic role.
“‘He walks into a room, and I light up, I can’t help it,” Hathaway said. “A few days into it [filming Les Misérables] I said ‘I’m having too much fun, I just want to play with you and I need to be really sad right now’.”
The unbridled passion that Hathaway summons when acting is both a help and a hindrance to her. She says: “At times I wish I could tamp down my passion and just stay a little calmer. I get carried away by things so easily, I get caught up in them; I give everything sometimes without thinking, when thought might be welcome addition to the circumstances.
“Sometimes it winds up biting me in the behind. But I don’t know how to be any other way.”
*The full interview appears in the February issue of Harper's Bazaar (on sale from tomorrow)