Anne Hathaway doesn't exactly fit the profile of young Hollywood today. She went to Vassar, religiously reads The New Yorker and gives up things for Lent. (This year it was Starbucks, chocolate and gossip.)
She apologizes for being a "boring" interview, when what she's really acknowledging is she doesn't have any stories of ill-spent nights at Hollywood's Roosevelt Hotel or in Brett Ratner's babe-cave. She blanches at a story about a Jane Austen relative who said (not really, the quote was taken completely out of context) Hathaway was too beautiful to play the famous author (as she will in Becoming Jane).
"Part of me was thrilled," Hathaway says. "I've never been too pretty for anything."
Hathaway, 23, made her mark playing the klutz in the princess-to-swan girl power Princess Diaries movies and has now gracefully graduated to meaty adult roles in films such as Brokeback Mountain. She can currently be seen playing Meryl Streep's harried assistant in The Devil Wears Prada, a coming-of-age cautionary tale.
We spoke to Hathaway over tea, where she talked about fashion, The Family Guy and how she came to recognize there's more to life than obsessing over body image.
What's the best personal-assistant horror story you heard?
I worked with this producer, who, when he was younger, was an assistant to a really famous actor. One day, he had to give the actor some bad news, and the guy turned around and cold-cocked him right in the mouth. It knocked him out cold. The next day, the actor bought him a Thunderbird. And the assistant grew up to be a producer who now can punch assistants of his own.
(Laughs) No, no, no. But the general stories come from when the boss forgets that everyone else's life is just as important as theirs. The movie makes your character seem like a freak because you wear a size 6.
In the fashion world, that is freakish. It is a world that is absolutely gripped by fear. It becomes an important headline even that a size 6 is working at a fashion magazine. That's a real self-esteem builder - kind of like what goes on in Hollywood. How does a young woman keep from obsessing over her body in these kinds of scrutinizing environments?
I had body issues long before I came to Hollywood. I was petrified and hated my body and couldn't understand why it was the way it was. I, who apparently had so much to be grateful for.
And I just wound up really upping my charity work. I started visiting countries that were in a very different position and meeting people who had their legs blown off by land mines. And I thought, "How dare I complain about the size of my thighs. I can walk."
And it wasn't even that I became comfortable with my body. I still hate bikini shopping. I don't think I'm ever going to be strong enough to get over that. But I don't spend every minute of every day thinking about my body. I'm grateful for it. It gets you where you want to go.
I also recognize the fact that I'm 23, and in no time at all I'm going to have arthritis, and things are going to be down to my knees that shouldn't be there, things that were once a lot higher.
So, I think, even if it's not perfect, just enjoy it. It's not even about becoming more comfortable with yourself - everyone has issues with every single part of themselves. It's just about caring about other things more. I'm doubting one of those things is fashion. You don't strike me as a woman who needs multiple walk-in closets.
I was a tomboy when I was a girl. I lived in my older brother's flannel shirts. I was a member of the grunge generation. Then in high school, I became a little more aware of my appearance, and when I was in college, I hit my bohemian vintage phase. Now, I'm not really concerned with designer labels as much as I am with a sense of style. But I'm still a very low-maintenance, low-key kind of girl. But your brother has the flannel shirts now.
He does. But, I'm actually a 13-year-old boy inside. Or, my personality is split - I'm a 45-year-old gay queen and also a 13-year-old boy. I'm my own walking skewed demographic. What does the 13-year-old boy do for fun?
It's all about The Family Guy. I have an insane memory for lines. I watch animated shows like The Family Guy and The Simpsons, and tell people the funniest parts of them. That's how I keep people entertained because, otherwise, I'm deeply unoriginal. So what's your favorite Family Guy line?
When Stewie mentions to Lois that he left a ticking time bomb in her womb before he came out and says (perfectly imitating Stewie's effete British accent), "Happy 50th birthday, Lois!"
This is a side to you that people might not expect from the Princess movies or Prada or your Jane Austen movie.
Yes, I'm very big among children and gay men. I don't think I've managed to cross the straight market yet. I need to do a big old action movie. I need to make Elektra VIII, and I'll get some fans.