And all are captivated by Hathaway, who is, in a word, ferocious. Her portrayalalong with those of the cast, including Bill Irwin as dad Paul and Debra Winger as her conflicted mother, Abbywas acclaimed by critics. Hathaway nabbed Best Actress at the Critics Choice Awards, in a rare tie with her Devil Wears Prada costar the legendary Meryl Streep. And the unintentional matchup will continue to the end of awards season, as she faces her idol again in the Best Actress race for Oscars. Lumet and Hathaway recently reconnected for an LA exclusive conversation.
Jenny Lumet: I used to think you were a swan. Now I think youre a big cata lioness or something.
Anne Hathaway:Wow! Thats an upgrade. Its a promotion.
JL: Swans are very beautiful, and they glide, and I was like, All right, shes beautiful, shes very interesting, and theres the gliding thing...But I know some swans who will kick your ass. Theyre very scary if you get near their family. And then I realized you were definitely more of a big cat, like a lioness. And this is why: Lionesses do all the work. But youre also a young woman. I mean, youre 24.
AH: [Laughs.] Twenty-six, but I love you.
JL: Im still old enough to be your mother. When youre 50, you will be a fully grown big cat, and now youre youngish-er.
AH: I think youngish-er is exactly where I am right now.
JL: I keep thinking about knowing you in the perverse way that I dont know your favorite color but have seen you in these incredibly intimate moments.
AH: I dont have a favorite color.
JL: You know what I mean. I dont know your middle name or if you pick your nose. But I know some very intimate stuff about you by the nature of your work.
AH: Then whats the difference? Because thats a great point about the schism of intimacy. Theres the intimacy you gain from close observance over time, from getting to know someones head, and then theres emotional intimacy, which you can have with perfect strangers. Thats the kind that turns me onwhen you sit there and you dont know someone from Adam, and you realize you have joy or pain or disappointment in common, and you can share that and kind of, you know, each come from a different perspective. Im really bad at remembering peoples favorite colors, peoples names. I have a swiss-cheese memory. But Im so good at remembering the bond I felt with that person. I never forget that.
JL: I dont know if you are aware of your own powerand potential. Not in an Im older than you, and you have potential kind of way. Its not that, because youre a very accomplished personand Im thinking as I say this, Shes a cat, because they have this enormous strength and commitmentbut I think its safe to say the role of Kym in Rachel Getting Married is the first role where the moviegoing public gets to see your ferocity. Is that a fair thing to say?
AH: Yes, but the thing is, Im not a ferocious person with anger. The one thing I know Ive always been ferocious about is my ability to focus on something.
JL: Mmmm. I think youre a huntress. And huntresses are not angry; its just, This is what I can do to get what I need. And I think you will always have the ability to get what you want. You will always get your quarry, always fill your hunger. And thats a really, really powerful thing. A lot of actresses are willing to sell their hunger for the sake of being palatable to others. Actresses are often like, Im hungry, Im needy, Im winsome, Im vulnerable, Im palatableand Ive never seen you trade on that.
AH: Im reelingI see the enormous compliment there, and I feel so overwhelmed, because its incredibly beautiful and poetic and insightful and kind and loving and just, quite frankly in the true sense of the word, amazing. Thank you.
JL: Have you been like this since you were a little girl?
AH: Yes. Whatever whiffs of vitamins are there, I will find them, and suck on them and burn them until I cant anymore.
JL: I know youre a truth teller, and I know youre not a quiet person, that youre emotionally and intellectually hungry in the best way. You want information. You want to feel things. And I had this whole theory about you: Look at her physicallyshes got these big eyes like violets, and her mouth is large, and she wants to take stuff inshe wants to know stuff. And this character Kym is like that.