Anne Hathaway says 'toxic' online backlash cost her roles, but Christopher Nolan helped save her career

by 24USATVMarch 26, 2024, 5:21 a.m. 19
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Anne Hathaway told Vanity Fair during a cover story interview that Christopher Nolan more or less saved her career when public opinion turned against her in the lead up to and the aftermath of her winning the Oscar for “Les Miserables.”

Hathaway was widely mocked online at this time, and she once remembered googling herself after the Oscar win only to see one of the top search results was an article with the title: “Why does everyone hate Anne Hathaway?”

“A lot of people wouldn’t give me roles because they were so concerned about how toxic my identity had become online,” Hathaway now told Vanity Fair. “I had an angel in Christopher Nolan, who did not care about that and gave me one of the most beautiful roles I’ve had in one of the best films that I’ve been a part of.”

Hathaway is referring to the role of NASA scientist Dr. Amelia Brand in Nolan’s 2014 space epic “Interstellar.” She had already worked with Nolan before as Selina Kyle in 2012’s “The Dark Knight Rises,” which earned her acclaim several months before her Oscar campaign for “Les Miserables” in the back end of 2012 generated internet scorn.

“I don’t know if he knew that he was backing me at the time, but it had that effect,” Hathaway said about Nolan. “And my career did not lose momentum the way it could have if he hadn’t backed me.”

“Humiliation is such a rough thing to go through,” the Oscar winner added. “The key is to not let it close you down. You have to stay bold, and it can be hard because you’re like, ‘If I stay safe, if I hug the middle, if I don’t draw too much attention to myself, it won’t hurt.’ But if you want to do that, don’t be an actor. You’re a tightrope walker. You’re a daredevil. You’re asking people to invest their time and their money and their attention and their care into you. So you have to give them something worth all of those things. And if it’s not costing you anything, what are you really offering?”

Hathaway has long sung Nolan’s praises following their two films together. During a conversation with Nolan’s “Oppenheimer” star Emily Blunt last year for Variety’s “Actors on Actors” series, Hathaway said that “the part that blows my mind about Chris is that he is authoritative in the best sense of the word.”

“I remember one day we were doing a shot on ‘The Dark Knight Rises,’” she explained. “He came to me beforehand and said, ‘I just want you to know, this shot has lived in my head for many years. I’m going to be very specific about it. I’m going to make you do it a lot, but it’s not actually you. It’s just because I have it in my head a certain way.’ For him to say that in a way where, as an actor, you don’t start to question yourself!”

Vanity Fair noted in its cover story that Hathaway “doesn’t love to look back on the time when people mocked her.” Speaking to The Sun back in 2021, the actor took a glass-half-full approach when asked about this period in her life, noting how backlash against her forced her to build self-confidence that might not have been built otherwise.

“I really don’t want to dredge up the past but I did have my monster out there, I did have the internet turn on me and hate me and it was like a whole big thing,” Hathaway said at the time. “And it was a really good thing for me personally. You can be incredibly empowered because of those things. So I guess what I’d say is when the bad s--- happens, don’t fear it — just go with it, flow with it.”

In an interview with Harper’s Bazaar in 2014, Hathaway said the backlash she faced after the Oscars made it feel like she “got punched in the gut.” The actress added she was left “shocked” and “embarrassed” by the hatred at the time, going so far as adding, “Even now I can feel the shame.”

Hathaway next stars in the romance “The Idea of You,” streaming May 2 on Amazon Prime Video. Head over to Vanity Fair’s website to read Hathaway’s cover story in its entirety.

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