The well-grounded, well-educated Hathaway held focus on her career, evolving into impressively three-dimensional adult roles in widely heralded films Nicholas Nickelby (2002), Brokeback Mountain (2005), and the role which proved she could more than hold her own against the greatest talents, as well as carry a film herself The Devil Wears Prada (2006).
What was the last piece of art, regardless of mediums, whether it was a film, or a piece of music, book, television show, where you found yourself surprised by the depth of your emotional response?
Phantom Thread. I loved that movie so much. I wasn't surprised that I loved a Paul Thomas Anderson movie, at all, but the luxuriousness of watching a three-hour movie on 70 millimeter, the pace of it, the humor of it, and the discovery of it. It meant so much to me.
When you are choosing a movie what are the motivating elements?
I am starting to learn what that is, because I have been doing this for a while, but in the beginning you go, well I love acting, but I don’t totally know how to do it yet and the best thing would be to work with the best directors that will have me on their sets. So, in the beginning that was the focus, just kind of find the best people you can. And that kind of stuck. And now, somebody asked me the other day, what do you look for in a project, and I said it’s not really what for me, it’s who. I look for people that really inspire me and I look for people who are artistically ambitious and I like making movies that are the four quadrant, that everybody from eight to 80 will love this movie, but I really love kind of going deep into movies that aren’t totally clear on the surface and aren’t easily sold, that have a mystery and by the way, might not be everybody’s taste.
So you like movies that don’t give everything away in the trailer. But how do you get people to see those movies? How do you do that?
I am just happy to take an artistic risk, what a thrill, what a great movie, how great to make something totally different, wow, some people love it and some people have a different feeling about it and all of those things are welcome...
Earlier you mentioned that you have a small child. What do you think of video games or social media, and the Internet? What is your philosophy on those?
So when my son started to walk, I learned that I couldn’t leave a knife at the edge of the counter, I had to put it out of his reach, until he was old enough to respect that there was a dangerous aspect to it. I feel very much that way about social media and all of those things and I think there’s nothing inherently wrong with it, some people, I am going to ultimately and inevitably, have very little control over the way my child engages with it, all I can do is, and if it does begin right now, is to make sure he knows how to engage with the natural world, to make sure that he knows how to have a sense of calm and being away from a computer and away from his phone and it doesn’t give him a sense of anxiety, and to give him the pleasure of being bored and finding your way through the other side of it, figuring out how to get yourself un-bored. And one of the best ways that I am going to be able to help him is learning how not to do it myself, because it’s a real seductive thing. And I think we are all feeling it and we are all struggling with it and that’s just that, you just have an ongoing relationship with it. But I hope it doesn’t hurt him, I hope it doesn’t hurt anybody, and I hope we get to a point where we can figure out how to live with it without hurting ourselves.
What would you say is your place of serenity?
I am really simple. Whenever I am with my husband and my son, wherever we are, I am so happy. Within our relationship I am the one who leaves the home to work and so, I mean my husband does too, but I do it more. And so I don’t take those moments for granted. But you know, I love, if I had to give you a specific place, just being in the kitchen cooking for everybody, and I love the feeling when I offer my son a sweater and he takes it, just something simple, anticipating his need and having him realize that oh yeah, that does feel good. It’s just those simple moments in life, that is what makes me happiest.
Let’s talk about your last movie The Hustle. I'm sure you did some kind of research. So, have you figured out why people hustle to begin with? Is it to gain money? Is it to gain power? Is it just a fun thing, are they bored otherwise in life? I mean, why do people hustle?
I really don't know, because it's not something that I've ever been all that interested in. I think it's fun to watch in a movie, but I don't think it would be a fun way to live your life. In the case of my character, and coming up with motivation for why she does it, we spent a lot of time, "Okay, does she have a backstory? What was her childhood like? Was her mother a con artist? Did she come from a family of con artists?" And, eventually, I just thought, it kind of felt a little regressive trying to give her an emotional angle into this, and so we came up with the reasons that she's a con artist are because she likes it and she's good at it. And I think that there's also an argument that can be made that until we achieve equal pay on a worldwide level, any woman that plays by the rules is being conned. So, I think she feels very entitled to going and getting what's hers.
When was the last time that you had someone trying to con you? Has that happened to you in your personal life, or in business, because you are famous? If you had someone trying to take advantage of you, and it took you a while to realize it, I would say, that person was your friend for the wrong reason.
I deal with it a lot and sometimes when you get quotes on prices, sometimes I'll go in and ask for a quote and then they won't know but I'll send in someone I know to ask for the same quote, and they always upcharge me by about 20%. But I like to get the lay of the land in order to negotiate better. So that kind of happens on the regular. But the last time that I care to talk about was, I had somebody trying to scam me, it was a skin esthetician, and she was charging money to my credit card and I noticed irregular charges on my account, and assumed that it was a clerical error. But it turned out she was doing it to a lot of other people. So, we had to make that stop.