Anne Hathaway: ‘I stopped apologising when I became a mother’ | Ents & Arts News
Anne Hathaway is not a woman you would expect to suffer from impostor syndrome.
The Oscar-winning actress is one of the world’s most famous faces, with more than 35 films to her name.
But it seems even Hathaway isn’t immune to the nagging self-doubt so many feel on a daily basis.
Sitting with me in a swanky London hotel, luminous in a green two-piece suit, she is refreshingly honest about her previous feelings of inadequacy.
“I grew up not feeling comfortable taking up space, I just didn’t think I was entitled to it,” she says.
“I apologised for it. I apologised for being places on a cellular level, and I just stopped that in recent years.
“It’s something about growing up, something about becoming a mother. I just don’t have time for it anymore.”
Hathaway, who has one son with her husband, actor Adam Shulman, is so determined to do a good job as a mum that she recently announced she would give up drinking until he’s 18 in order to really “be available” for him.
She continues: “I’m a human being just the same as anybody else. And nobody’s higher or less than anybody else and we all deserve to be here.”
But despite her newfound confidence, Hathaway admits: “I have days even now when I wake up and it’s not there.”
On days where she isn’t “feeling it”, the actress turns to an unexpected source of inspiration – an influencer of sorts, but dating back more than 700 years.
“There’s this fantastic poem by Rumi [13th century Persian poet and mystic] and he talks about welcoming all your emotions as a guest.
“I think there’s something about being secure enough in yourself to go, ‘Oh whoa, the blues have come to visit, here we are. Here’s your bed. Let me know what I can put out for you. I don’t know how long you’ll be here but please make yourself at home’. And then the blues go.
“And then joy comes and you go, ‘Oh I’m so happy to see you! Please, here’s your bed’, and you just kind of flow with it and you welcome it.
“And those things that come, they’re not necessarily who you are and they don’t necessarily define who you are. And they don’t throw you off. You’re just you, beyond all of that.”
The character Hathaway plays in her latest film, The Hustle, needs no such self-help advice.
The female-led remake of 1988 film Dirty Rotten Scoundrels recasts Michael Caine and Steve Martin as Hathaway and Rebel Wilson respectively.
The con artists – one high-class, the other low-rent – are so confident in their abilities they are able to juggle multiple personas, accents and appearances to extricate cash from rich men.
“It was really refreshing to play someone who doesn’t apologise for anything,” says Hathaway.
The fun nature of the film – which couldn’t be further from 13th century philosophy – also gave her a break from more dramatic roles.
Hathaway describes it as “a silly comedy. Very sweet. Very high-quality stupid”.
And while you might expect Wilson to naturally fill a room with her exuberance, it turns out there’s also more to the Australian actress than meets the eye.
Hathaway explains: “She’s quieter than you would imagine. Very calm and focused. Very observant.
“Then it’s time for action, and all of a sudden it comes out of nowhere. It’s like a magic trick.”
That’s not to say Wilson wasn’t hilarious.
“Working with Rebel there was at least one moment a day when I would just lose it,” says Hathaway. “I couldn’t keep it together. She was just so funny.”
The slapstick nature of some of the humour in the film also meant Hathaway flexed a different set of acting muscles.
“I don’t usually like to watch the monitor for scenes when you’re talking, but any time I have to do a scene that’s physical I really do like to watch playback because it is so precise, it’s like a dance.
“I know it sounds so silly, but the way your hand is turned – a joke could be funnier if your hand is like this or like this and you just don’t really know until you see it.”
One scene that took a little extra preparation was a nightclub sequence that she describes as “stressful”.
Playing opposite the film’s leading man, English actor Alex Sharp, Hathaway admits she’s not a natural dancer.
“We did tequila shots to give us some liquid courage. We got very drunk and then danced our you-know-what’s off.”
If there’s one thing that will take the pressure off, it’s tequila.
And so from shots back to Rumi and being yourself, Hathaway continues: “We put too much pressure on ourselves to be one thing all the time – which includes being happy. We’re just really setting ourselves up. It’s not possible.
“I think the kinder we can get with ourselves, the softer we can get with ourselves, the better. When you get into that place you find yourself doing it with other people. And I think the world gets on better.”
:: The Hustle is out on Friday