It was tough at times to tell the difference between the character Anne Hathaway plays in her new film, One Day—Emma, who we watch in single-day increments over the course of 20 years—and the woman behind the role sitting here this steamy August afternoon at the Waldorf in Manhattan. Both women are slightly insecure yet determined and full-of-life. Still, not at all shy when it comes to sharing her anxieties or discussing personal topics, Hathaway dropped all sorts of surprising tidbits during this candid conversation, including her boredom with formulaic romantic comedies and her unhappiness with her British accent. As she notes, she’d rather do a nude scene than do another accent…
Your leading guy in the movie, Jim Sturgess, was just in here saying he’s not big on romance in movies. No, he’s not! And there were some great moments with him in the movie, but then he was…back to being a jerk! But I never got bummed. I just looked at it as a challenge.
What about you? Um, when they’re good, I think there’s nothing better. Personally.
In what way? You know, I love to have my heart challenged. And ripped out. And woken up, in unexpected ways. And the thing I love about romance is the more specific the characters are, the more fun the stories are. So it gives you great opportunities as an actor to draw a character that feels really nuanced.
What peeves you most about the usual romances in most movies, and that you found refreshing about this one? I don’t mean to knock traditional rom-coms—they can be so much fun. But how many times can you watch people spill coffee on each other? And then three weeks later they’re soulmates, and they want to be together forever? And then at the end of the movie, somebody is running across a field?
Your British accent was pretty good in One Day. Thank you. But you know how you think you sound like the screechiest banshee in the world? Well, maybe you don’t, maybe it’s just a me thing. Um, it’s hard. It’s hard to listen to yourself, and to look at yourself. And it was something that I was very nervous about. So thank you very much.
Didn’t you say you get more nervous about doing an accent than doing nudity? Totally. I mean, you can do sit-ups as prep for the nudity. But there aren’t a lot of vocal sit-ups that you can do. I don’t know, maybe it’s because I have more experience in my life being naked than pretending to be British. So I got more comfortable quickly with the nudity than I did with the accent.