Anne Hathaway is fully in control of her career and has been a showstopping performer for decades now. But there was a time when one question could stop her in her tracks.
Riding another wave of acclaim for her role as a psychologist who gets entangled with a prison secretary in her newest film “Eileen,” based on the book of the same name, Hathaway recalled an earlier incident with the press that’s really stuck with her.
The moment actually helped connect her to the narrative of “Eileen” as she felt an unexpected connection between that uncomfortable moment and her new film, which premiered Saturday at the Sundance Film Festival.
She also offered an apology if what she was about to say became “an annoying headline.” She worried that she may come to regret her words after, but it’s a conversation worth having and it’s important that these truths are shared to hopefully prevent anything like them happening again.
The actress was participating in a Q&A session after the screening where she shared the awkward anecdote. “I just remembered one of the very first questions I ever got asked when I started acting and had to do press was: Are you a good girl or a bad girl?”
“I was 16,” she punctuated the story. “And my 16-year-old self wanted to respond with this film.”
Ensuring its accuracy to the source material, author Ottessa Moshfegh adapted her own novel for the screen, alongside Luke Goebel. The film is directed by William Oldroyd, who previously directed Florence Pugh in 2016’s “Lady MacBeth.”
It was his work in that film that convinced Hathaway to sign on. Calling it an “extraordinary work,” the actress said, “I saw a study of female complication that hit me really, really deep, and I felt like Will was a filmmaker that could be trusted to tell complicated stories, especially about females. And that meant a great deal to me.”
Oldroyd said he was drawn to the book for adaptation because he felt its tone and voice, which he described as “dark, strangely funny, weird,” would lend itself well to that translation to the screen.
Currently without distribution, “Eileen is hoping to score with audiences and studio executives after its Sundance screening.