|by Thom Fowler
Anne Hathaway, who played Meghan Green on Fox's shortlived "Get Real", is the young star of the new summer Disney film, The Princess Diaries, directed by Garry Marshall and costarring Julie Andrews and Heather Matarazzo (Welcome to the Dollhouse). The Princess Diaries is about Mia Thermopolis, a tenth grade girl who lives in San Francisco with her offbeat artist mother. Mia's grandmother unexpectedly comes to visit and just as unexpectedly, Mia learns her grandmother is the Queen of Genovia, a small European republic and that she herself is the Princess of Genovia. The plot pivots on how Mia adjusts to this news and whether or not she will accept the awesome responsibility of leading her country. Anne is just two years older than Mia, with just as many options ahead of her.
Marhsall's six (!) casting directors looked at a thousand Mias before he decided (in the comfort of his living room while watching a videotape) that Anne "had the chops" for the role. Marshall's an experienced guy and he's started the careers of recent Academy Award winner, Julia Roberts as well as Robin Williams. So I guess this is lucky for Anne. Marshall describes himself as "superstitious". He told me he believes in fate and luck and all that "WhooOOoooo". He lifted his hands above the table and wiggled his fingers when he said that.
Hathaway is still getting her bearings around the press but she was at least willing to let it all down in front of our tape recorders. "It upsets me that you can't speak your mind," she says. "If you're a celebrity, you're advised against it because it can reflect badly on your career. Life is about making choices and speaking your mind." I wasn't exactly expecting non-rehearsed answers but we rolled with it and Hathaway held herself up well under pressure, considering it was her first time out in the "wild". Happy that she could speak her mind without being labeled "a bitch or difficult", she's certainly a modern woman in the making.
When I told Hathaway I was writing a piece for HollywoodBitchslap.com she became really nervous, so I quickly assured her that we weren't going to tear her a new asshole. Okay, I would have if she had given canned answers or seemed the slightest bit disingenuous, but Hathaway is a well spoken, composed, down to earth woman. As much as she'd like to be wearing couture, she still buys things on sale at the mall and her limited wardrobe budget for the press tour doesn't include Givenchy (which she knowingly pronounced as Gee Vawn Shee). Fortunately, she can get all the GeeVawnShee she wants a short drive from her unassuming New Jersey home. Fifth Avenue demands the delicate sacrifice of the soles of her Italian mules.
Because The Princess Diaries also features "recording star, Mandy" (Who?), it's safe to say that young girls will flock to the movie in droves, which puts Anne in the sticky predicament of becoming a 'role model'. That's the punishment you get for going Disney. Young Miss and Teen will do all these spreads getting Anne to say things like, "its cool to stay in school" and "Don't pull a Drew, coke is bad for you." Her public face is going to have tighter control than the former East German border. Have you even seen a picture of Britney Spears drunk? That's because she only drinks wheat grass juice and unwinds with a half-hour of Yoga. Duh.
Hathaway made it clear that although Hollywood wants to portray the "reality" of teen life, like drinking, smoking, having sex, sinking your parents' car in a lake, killing the babysitter, being hacked to death at summer camp and saving the world from nuclear destruction, she doesn't think you should be partying at 15. She informed us that "lots of kids drink and party but lots of kids don't. I don't think you should be [partying at 15]." Save it for Tiger Beat, Anne, this is a no-bullshit operation. Go ahead, get trashed, smash up a car, get caught with your pants down at a seedy motel in San Bernardino. But don't forget that chem final. Hathaway is no Bush daughter. They'll finish school the Bush family way: with a missing file and an endowment in their name. Anne may actually have to read to get hers.
And read she will. Hathaway is taking Julie Andrews' advice and finishing college on the East Coast so she may not have much time to wreck her life in the Hollywood party scene. "I am going to balance school AND career over the next few years.", she declared. But if this summer she decides to chuck it all in and "Do The Drew!" for coke and whores, she can always pull off the same high profile comeback. (Speaking of Drew, she is starring in Penny Marshall's upcoming film about teen motherhood, called Riding in Cars With Boys.) Liv Tyler almost quit high school for coke and whores, instead bailing on college for the fun and glamorous life of a Hollywood celebrity. Yes, Anne, life IS about making choices.
Andrews told Anne that the thing she regrets the most is not having the school experience, even though she, by all reports, is well-read and tends to have people stand up a little straighter when she's around. She's even been declared a Dame by the Queen of England. I guess if Dame Julie Andrews recommends that Anne Hathaway get a solid grounding and learn more about the world than how to preen in front of a tabloid photog she probably should. According to Hathaway, Dame Jules also impressed upon her that she should first and foremost be an actress and not focus on being a star. Can you see Mary Poppins saying that? Go ahead, say it out loud in the Mary Poppins voice. This is apparently a non-issue for her. "I haven't given the fame a lot of thought. I don't think [fame] will change who I am."
Marshall reminded her that there is more to life than show business. Garry's own wife is a nurse and Anne thinks that "helps Garry stay a little more real". Here she is, bursting onto the Hollywood scene and who's looking after her? Mary Poppins and the guy who discovered Robin Williams. Talk about being born under a good sign.
Though if you can blame your parents for your own inability to deal with life, then I blame Marshall for Jakob the Liar (on the other hand, I should thank him for Popeye). It's funny where things are born in this world. Maybe my interview with Garry will now open untold vistas of opportunity for one highly ignored writer. But God! Anne Hathaway's got her first film and it's a Walt Disney summer release. I think she should go at least a little bonkers, forget all about the real world and just suck it up for a few months. The books will still be there in the fall.
Hathaway cut her teeth with giants in the business but her role models in the busines are a little closer to what you'd expect. Angelina Jolie redefined the way she feels about acting. Jolie showed Hathaway that acting needs to be at the core of who you are if you are to make the characters real. "Angelina is gutsy. Her portrayal of Gia (in Gia) set the standard of acting for me." If the Angelina fascination holds true, we may see Anne move away from clean-cut family fun and into edgier roles, provided the right script reaches her. "I'd like to do good roles. I don't want to work just to arbitrarily work. Hopefully, I'll stay true to my ideals." Hathaway also admires Kate Blanchett because she's "never seen her do anything that wasn't honest." Perhaps she means Blanchett didn't need to get a boob job to get a lead role.
Acting is what she is focussing on now, but thinking ahead she'd "maybe like to write, but perhaps not directing right now." Whoa there young filly. One thing at a time. The Princess Diaries doesn't open until August so she's got some time between now and that first weekend gross. She won't be sitting around biting her nails. Marshall advised her that, "You never know what's going to be a hit, so you might as well have fun." So says the man whose miss was Joanie Loves Chachi and whose hits included Happy Daysand Pretty Woman. Pretty Woman was more than just a hit. Marshall did what was once said couldn't be done. "They say you can't make a summer romantic comedy", he said, "that will make more than 100 million and Pretty Woman made more than 100 million." So perhaps he's got a little more leeway in the "ah well" department. Hathaway did have fun on the set. For 57 of the 58 shooting days, she got to know everyone "really well" and it was "like summer camp". That's what Parker Posey said about shooting The Anniversary Party. Do directors get some kind of "fun" training these days to help manage the set?
Hathaway is in the best of company, but as she continues to make her own choices, it seems she'll be in the best of hands.
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originally posted: 06/22/01 10:24:49
last updated: 07/04/01 07:33:09