Why we want Anne Hathaway to be our friend: An interview with the cast of Rachel Getting Married

Why we want Anne Hathaway to be our friend: An interview with the cast of Rachel Getting Married

We thought Anne Hathaway peaked as a princess—and we were wrong. We assumed Debra Winger’s success on film ended in the mid-’80s—strike two. We knew Rosemary DeWitt only as the bohemian lover of Don Draper in Mad Men—now we know better. Jenny Lumet had never written a screenplay, but took some time off from teaching Grade 8 English to hammer out Rachel Getting Married and then somehow nailed down Jonathan Demme (The Silence of the Lambs) to direct her debut. Certainly it helped that her father, Sidney Lumet (Dog Day Afternoon), handed the project to Demme, but we still applaud her and this cast of unlikelies for making a film that is already garnering Oscar buzz. Highlights (including Hathaway using the F-word) from the media roundtable with Winger, Demme and Hathaway, after the jump.

Here’s a bit of advice: never ask Debra Winger about the Academy Awards. When prompted, she cringes:

“You know how to give a girl hives. I really have no comment… I hate when it [a performance] becomes synonymous with talking about the work. The work is good and solid and you either relate to the character or you don’t. I don’t know anything about how that other side of the business works.”

Perhaps Winger was testy because of the filthy torrent a zooming car on Avenue Road splashed at her, or, perhaps, having been a Harvard professor, she feels that themes of celebrity are poisonous. Either way, her cranky antics were thwarted when a smiling Hathaway fluttered into the room appearing pretty and energized.

When one jackass reporter commented, “Kym was one of the most difficult people I’ve ever had to watch on screen. The kind of person I would run a mile away from to avoid in real life.” Hathaway defended her character with zeal: “Kym is the sort of person I’d be friends with and am friends with.”

Returning home after a nine-month stint in rehab, Kym blasts through the front door—her chain smoking and lewd shout-outs immediately put her soon-to-be-married sister, Rachel (DeWitt), on edge. Throw in an overprotective, gushy father and a stone-cold mom, and a devastating family story begins to unfold. Rage, love, sadness, frustration and awkwardness abound and are authentically captured by a hand-held digital camera. Demme described it as “The Blair Witch Project, but the wedding party one.”

Of the characters, Lumet remarked, “Every woman in this film is a colossal pain in the ass.” Sound familiar? Every family, especially during a wedding weekend, is full of hormone-combusting women who simultaneously love and hate one another. Watching Kym stumble through an excruciating toast, we suddenly don’t recognize the Anne Hathaway we’ve come to know. “It was one of my favourite parts…everyone wants her to shut the hell up and sit down,” the actor reminisced about the bumbling speech. “I think it was the most fun I may have ever had acting.”

Asked if she feels lucky to have been cast in this role, Hathaway responds:

“Not to sound arrogant or cocky, but I’ve never defined myself the way other people have. The person I am is an actress, and I’m really excited to be a part of this movie and be given this role. I’ve certainly been striving for it since The Princess Diaries. I actually did something that I’m proud of, where all the intentions that I had for the character made it onto the screen. So for me this role is a recognition of my dreams.”

Demme interrupts, “Are you saying it wasn’t cool to do something completely different?”

“Of course it was cool, but it wasn’t cool because I’d done The Princess Diaries, it was cool because you are a fucking great director! And Kym’s an amazing character. It was cool on its own merit, and that’s what I signed up for—I was never scared.”

We were surprised but impressed that she didn’t shy away from making us aware that she was deserving of the role.

We were also surprised when Demme announced, “I have lost my desire to work with film; I never thought I’d say that.” Don’t panic. He’s not referring to making movies, but will switch from 35 mm to digital from here on in. This is fine with us, because the way he’s captured these actors onscreen and woven the tumultuous story together is phenomenal, and we hope to see more films with this raw vigour. —Jen McNeely

Related:• Read our review of Rachel Getting Married