Over the past few months, Anne Hathaway has returned to the spotlight with a series of high-profile roles (and some seriously impressive bombshell style along the way). First, there was her appearance in WeCrashed, the Apple TV+ series charting the rise and fall of WeWork; more recently, she took to the Cannes red carpet to promote her upcoming period drama Armaggedon Time, in which she stars opposite Oscar Isaac and Jeremy Strong, and she’s been spotted on the set of the psychological thriller Mothers’ Instinct with Jessica Chastain. In honor of the actor’s ongoing career renaissance, here, find five things you probably didn’t know about Anne Hathaway.
In addition to her acting ambitions, Hathaway had dreams of becoming a nun when she was a child.
“When I was younger, I thought about becoming a nun for a while,” she once said. “You know how it is when you’re growing up and you’re going to be a lot of different things, but I actually wanted to be an actress before I wanted to be a nun. The nun was more of a sidebar thing.” Hathaway, who was raised Roman Catholic, broke from the church after her older brother came out. “The whole family converted to Episcopalianism after my elder brother came out,” Hathaway said. “Why should I support an organization that has a limited view of my beloved brother?” But Episcopalianism didn’t really take either. “So I’m . . . nothing,” she said. “Fuck it, I’m forming. I’m a work in progress.”
Her big break came about after falling off a chair during an audition.
Hathaway first rose to global stardom after she won the role of Mia Thermopolis in The Princess Diaries—but unlike other classic success stories, Hathaway earned the role with just a single audition. The story goes like this: She was traveling to New Zealand to star in an independent film called The Other Side of Heaven and had a 26-hour stopover in Los Angeles, where she auditioned for a little movie called The Princess of Tribeca (the original name of The Princess Diaries). There, she met with director Garry Marshall and the two hit it off immediately. “At some point during the audition,” Hathaway recalled, “I got really nervous and fell out of my chair, and I think that’s what he was most impressed with.”
She still feels gratitude for her breakout role.
Every year since the 2001 release of The Princess Diaries, Hathaway has said, she reflects and gives thanks on the film’s anniversary: “I remember [the day] and I give thanks to the universe, a big open-hearted thank you, because that was the day that dreams came true for me. There are a lot of aspects to my life that are very real, but also a lot that are very fairy tale. That was the day that my fairy tale started.”
Her career has plenty of “what might have been“ moments.
While Hathaway has starred in many popular films of the past decade, she actually turned down a starring role in Judd Apatow’s comedy Knocked Up. Why? Because she was reportedly uncomfortable with the film’s explicit birthing scene. “My issue with it was that having not experienced motherhood myself, I didn’t know how I was [going to] feel on the other side about giving birth,” she said in 2012—four years before her son Jonathan was born, followed in 2019 by his brother, Jack. She added, “I could pop a kid out and think, Oh, well, I really should have done that movie.” The role, of course, ended up going to Katherine Heigl.
She’s not afraid to take cues from her mother when it comes to her big roles.
Like mother, like daughter: Hathaway’s mother, Kate, a stage actress herself, played the part of Fantine during the first U.S. traveling tour of Les Miserables—the same one that earned Hathaway an Oscar in 2013. “She told me a lot about her experience playing Fantine, which gave me even more confidence that it was in my blood,” she’s said. “I think it allowed me to connect on a deeper level to the character, knowing how much it meant to her.” Hathaway’s mother later said that her daughter’s intense character study ended up teaching her a thing or two about the role. “I know I’m her mother, but I think she’s the perfect Fantine,” she told the Los Angeles Times. “I don’t feel like I dove into Fantine as far as she did. Annie actually opened my eyes to the character because of all the research she did.”