Born November 12, 1982, in Brooklyn, NY; daughter of Gerald Hathaway (an attorney) and Kate McCauley (a stage actress). Education: Attended Vassar College and New York University.
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Actress in films, including: The Princess Diaries , 2001; The Other Side of Heaven , 2001; Neko no ongaeshi , 2002; Nicholas Nickleby , 2002; Ella Enchanted , 2004; The Princess Diaries 2: The Royal Engagement , 2004; Hoodwinked , 2005; Havoc , 2005; Brokeback Mountain , 2005; The Devil Wears Prada , 2006; Becoming Jane , 2007. Television appearances include: Get Real , FOX, 1999. Stage appearances include: Carnival , City Center, New York, 2002.
After a breakout role in the 2001 family film The Princess Diaries , American actress Anne Hathaway built an impressive list of film credits in several genres. In addition to appearing in the 2004 follow-up to her film debut, The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement , Hathaway had roles in the fairytale oriented Ella Enchanted and an adaptation of Charles Dickens' classic Nicholas Nickleby . She moved into adult parts with a supporting turn in the critically acclaimed Brokeback Mountain and a starring role in the 2006 hit The Devil Wears Prada .
Hathaway was born in 1982 in Brooklyn, New York, the daughter of Gerald Hathaway and Kate McCauley. Her father was an attorney who once worked as a stage hand, while her mother was a stage actress who once toured in Les Miserables . Raised in northern New Jersey, Hathaway was interested in acting from the age of three and inspired in part by watching her mother perform. She wanted to pursue a professional acting career as an eight-year-old child, but her parents would not allow her to follow that dream until she was older.
When Hathaway was a teenager, she began appearing in a few commercials. She also was able to study the acting craft. She became the first teen ever admitted to the New York City-based Barrow Group's prestigious acting program. Hathaway also studied acting at the Paper Mill Playhouse in New Jersey and appeared in several stage productions there while attending middle school. Also interested in singing, Hathaway was a member of the All Eastern U.S. High School Honor Chorus, which performed in New York City's Carnegie Hall in the late 1990s.
While still in high school, Hathaway made her professional acting debut on television. In 1999, she landed a role as Meghan Green on the FOX series, Get Real . Hathaway's Meghan was a teenager who was intelligent and her class valedictorian but also had a wild streak and suffered from some difficult life situations. She was the oldest of three children in a family with dysfunction-related issues. Critics praised Hathaway's appearances in the show, comparing her performance to Claire Danes' work in a similar drama series called My So-Called Life . Though Get Real only lasted for one season, Hathaway caught the attention of Hollywood. In June of 2000, Hathaway completed her high school education, graduating from New Jersey's Millburn High School with highest honors. She was not particularly popular, but active in sports, academics, and other activities in addition to acting. As soon as she graduated, Hathaway began working as an actress, filming two movies in 2000.
In 2001, Hathaway became a star with the release of her first feature film The Princess Diaries , based on the novel by Meg Cabot. In this Disney film, the actress played Mia Thermopolis, a shy, awkward 15-year-old prep school student in San Francisco who learns that she is really a princess. Raised by her single mother, an artist and a hippie, Mia's life is changed when she learned that through her deceased father, she is the heir to the throne of Genovia. Her paternal grandmother, Queen Clarisse Rinaldi (played by Julie Andrews), enters her life, gives her princess lessons, and transforms Mia into a glamorous young lady. Hathaway could identify with her character, pre-transformation, telling the New Zealand Herald , "Mia was very similar to the person I was in high school. I was very much a wallflower, nobody really paid attention to me."
Hathaway's work and appearance in The Princess Diaries lead to comparisons to actress Julia Roberts for many filmgoers and critics, a comparison that took the young Hathaway aback. She told Sean Daly of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel , "I'm sure [director] Garry Marshall didn't intentionally shoot me to look like Julia. But I suppose if you're going to be compared to someone, who better to be compared to! I only hope one day I can be as good as her." (As with Hathaway, who was hand picked by the director, Marshall had also cast Roberts in her breakout role in Pretty Woman .) The G-rated The Princess Diaries performed well at the box office, earning $108 million.
After completing the filming of The Princess Diaries , Hathaway entered Vassar College to study English and women's studies. She made the dean's list her first semester at the university. Hathaway wanted to focus on school, but also hoped to continue to work as an actress if the role was right. She turned down a three-picture deal with Miramax because she did not like the first script they showed her.
The Princess Diaries was not the only film Hathaway appeared in in 2001. She had a small role in The Other Side of Heaven , an independent movie which was filmed in New Zealand before she worked on The Princess Diaries . The film focused on Mormon missionaries, and Hathaway played Jean Sabin, the wife of a leader in the Mormon church. Despite being in school, Hathaway continued to work. Early in 2002, she made her New York stage debut in Carnival at the City Center in New York. She played Lily, the innocent, to rave reviews. Hathaway soon had a few films lined up to be filmed, so she essentially left Vassar behind.
The first film to be released was an adaptation of Charles Dickens' epic novel, Nicholas Nickleby . Hathaway played Madeline Bray, an honorable woman who is in love with Nicholas (played by Charlie Hunnam), a teacher at an orphanage. Hathaway's Madeline is being forced into marrying someone else because of her desperate economic circumstances. Madeline was a very depressing character to play, and Hathaway told Bruce West-brook of the Houston Chronicle , one difficult aspect of the role was "staying in the sad place that Madeline had to be. I tend to internalize characters, so I became really depressed. Every day I shot, I would up crying. My nickname became 'Moisty.'"
Two years later, Hathaway appeared in the title role of the film Ella Enchanted , based on the book by Gail Carson Levine. This romantic comedy/fairy tale co-starred Cary Elwes and Minnie Driver. Though Ella Enchanted had much in common with Cinderella , the movie is also a play on the kinds of characters and situations found in fairy tales. Hathaway's Ella of Frell is a maiden who has been cursed by a spell since birth. The spell, that of perfect obedience, compels her to do whatever others order her to do, no matter what. After Ella's father, a widower, remarries an unlikable woman with two daughters who use the curse to their amusement, Ella is compelled to take a journey to break this curse. Along the way she becomes involved with Prince Char, played by Hugh Dancy.
Some observers believed that Hathaway might be typecasting herself by doing another princess-type role. However, the actress told Cindy Pearlman of the Chicago Sun-Times , "I thought I'd be crazy not to do it. I have the rest of my life to go off and play prostitutes and drug addicts. But you can only wear a tiara for so long."
In 2004, Hathaway reprised her role as Mia in the sequel The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement . Set five years after the original, Hathaway's Mia has graduated from college and goes to Genovia to take over the throne from her grandmother, who is ready to step down. There, she learns that to become that country's ruler, she has to marry within 30 days or lose the throne. The sequel did not do as well as the original at the box office or with critics. However, Hathaway's mother had a role in the film as the wedding supervisor, the first time she had acted in a movie.
While Ella Enchanted and The Princess Diaries 2: The Royal Engagement were hitting the big screens, Hathaway was making a move toward different kinds of roles. In 2004, she filmed Havoc , a drama directed by Barbara Kopple, a well-known documentary filmmaker. Hathaway played 17-year-old Allison Lang, a wealthy girl from Los Angeles who, with other rich girls, forms a girl gang and takes on other gangs in East Los Angeles. They also become involved with drugs and prostitution.
Though the low-budget film went straight to DVD and the final product was not was she expected, Hathaway did not regret working on Havoc . She told Tim Cooper of the Independent , "It's an over-simplication to say that I did the role just to play against type. That's not why I did it. I found a character that I thought was interesting, that I'd seen in my own life, and that I wanted to see if I could do. I wanted to be challenged."
Hathaway continued to play more adult roles. In 2005, she had a small role in Brokeback Mountain , based on the short story by E. Annie Proulx and directed by Ang Lee. She played Lureen Newsome, the wife of one of the two male cowboys who become sexually involved one summer in the 1960s and continue their relationship over the years. Her character is the daughter of a rich man who sets her husband, a rodeo cowboy, up in the family business. Hathaway's Lureen becomes a cold, controlling housewife. Hathaway was one of many actors in the film who received critical kudos.
In 2006, Hathaway returned to starring roles when she played Andrea "Andy" Sachs in The Devil Wears Prada , based on the novel by Lauren Weisberger. In the film, Hathaway's Andy is a recent college grad who has moved to New York City to become a journalist. She takes a job at a leading fashion magazine, the fictional Runway , as the assistant to Miranda Priestly (played by Meryl Streep), a formidable, if not evil, boss, and learns about compromising her values for work. Andy begin to find out who she is in this world, and though she starts out frumpy, she learns how to play the fashion game with looks and work, before bowing out to be true to her core self. The film and Hathaway received generally good reviews.
Hathaway's future remained focused on acting, though she continued to work on her degree at New York University when she had time. She had roles lined up, including a 2007 turn as author Jane Austen in the film Becoming Jane . Hathaway plays Austen as a young woman in love with Tom Lefroy, a law student, in the period piece. Of her future, Hathaway told Jamie Portman of the Ottawa Citizen , "I have no clue what's going on to happen. So there's no point in thinking about specific events. I have goals—meaning I certainly would like to continue acting and I would like to travel and hopefully have a family someday. But at the moment, I can't get any more specific than that."
Advertiser (Australia), September 13, 2001, p. L2.
Boston Globe , April 4, 2004, p. N11.
Chicago Sun-Times , April 4, 2004, p. 7.
Entertainment Weekly , August 10, 2001, p. 49; June 23, 2006, p. 21.
Houston Chronicle , January 9, 2003, p. 21.
Independent (London, England), October 15, 2004, pp. 10-11.
Los Angeles Times , June 30, 2006, p. E1.
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (WI), July 30, 2001, p. 1E.
New York Magazine , June 26, 2006.
New York Times , August 5, 2001, sec. 14NJ, p. 3; February 18, 2002, p. E1.
New Zealand Herald , September 22, 2001.
Ottawa Citizen , April 8, 2004, p. E2.
People , July 10, 2006, pp. 75-76.
Plain Dealer (Cleveland, OH), August 11, 2004, p. E1.
Times-Picayune (New Orleans, LA), August 13, 2001, p. 1.
Toronto Sun , August 8, 2004, p. S12; June 29, 2006, p. 74.
USA Today , August 3, 2001, p. 2E.
"Anne Hathaway," Internet Movie Database, http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0004266/ (September 16, 2006).