Posts Tagged ‘Anne Hathaway’

Les Miserables: The Trailer

Wednesday, May 30th, 2012

Les Miserables – From the Set

Monday, April 23rd, 2012

International Trailer: One Day

Monday, May 30th, 2011


Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010

The first thing that struck me when it was announced/reported/hyped that Lindsay Lohan had separated from the Linda Lovelace movie was, “Who could they get to replace her?”

It had nothing to do with Ms Lohan’s talents. It had to do with nudity.

Anne Hathaway dethroned herself from PrincessLand pretty early on, giving eyeball access to The Goods in back-to-back films after the second Princess Diaries movie. I don’t imagine that she did it on purpose. But she was up for tougher roles and went for it. Both roles would have been a departure without the nudity, but nudity was called for and with it, the 17th happiest moment in the history of Mr. Skin.

Now, there is a lot of talk about Hathaway and Gyllenhaal being naked in Love & Other Drugs… and they are… for about an act. And then, it’s a movie that really isn’t about naked. But even the naked parts are not so much about sex as about the comfort of being together. It is a cliche’, but the sexiest thing about Hathaway in this film is her mind. She is a complex, very smart, challenging woman who, initially, is comforted by shutting off her brain by being serviced by the Pussy Savant played by Mr. G. She is powerful in the way young people with all those tools often are. Of course, she is also completely out of control on another front… and so goes drama.

In some ways, the sex life of L&OD (Law & Order:Drugs?) reminds me of The American, which featured the breathtaking view of an often-exposed Violante Placido, but was not about sex at all. It’s a cliche’, but… it’s a 70s thing. If Anne Hathaway’s lanky stretch of flesh highway covered by feminine speed bumps is all that this film is reduced to, not only are we diminishing her performance and the film, but it will probably mean that less people will see the film in theaters, leaving the images mostly to the boys and men who will “browse” them on the internet. This probably says more about men than about the movie or Ms. Hathaway. In the end, Love & Other Drugs is really a movie that will appeal more to a female sensibility, I think… and if Gyllenhaal’s dick-first thinking and the promise of lingering on Hathaway’s body makes it “safe” for men to be dragged to the theater, so be it.

But I digress…

Hathaway does nudity. Can’t imagine her playing someone like Lovelace… not a great fit. Hathaway is a fine actress, but she is also a movie star by nature. She doesn’t disappear into characters. Neither does Lohan, but her performance would have walked that line where the audience feels like they are seeing a layer deeper into a character they know from the tabloids and may well have worked that way.

Who else? Charlize Theron could never be that small. Jolie would kill all those men and we’d be wondering what was going to happen for two more acts. Helen Mirren is a little too old for the role. The Spanish-language/Oscar nominated nudists are too accented. Maggie Gyllenhaal could do it, but doesn’t seem a good tonal fit. Seyfried is looking to more commercial roles and I would bet that she’ll be putting the breasts away unless a very gifted director feels they are needed. (A good career move.) McAdams could do it… and would probably win an Oscar, even with a mediocre director… but goes so deeply into the work that she might never recover from the experience. Michelle Williams is playing Marilyn Monroe now and could, indeed, make a brilliant Lovelace, but won’t happen. Zoe Saldana was naked all through Avatar, but never on set. Rachel Weisz, Maria Bello, and Vera Farmiga are all just a little too old now. Jessica Biel is more Jenna Jameson than Lovelace.

Does that cover it? All the most-revered acting names who do on-screen nudity?

And that’s how you end up with Malin Akerman.

It’s not that Akerman can’t act. Personally, I think she is a much better comedienne than a dramatic presence, but she keeps taking on tough roles. That makes her a go-to actor for movies in which nudity is required and celebrity is helpful. Akerman has accumulated a better resume than, say, Lizzy Caplan. And she is not someone who gets hired only to be naked, like a Paz de la Huerta, whose presence on the cast list of Boardwalk Empire (and many films) assured that at least one major cast member would be having a lot of sex and frontal nudity.

Boardwalk also brought in Gretchen Mol, who has, I think, got very close to the gold ring as an actress only to become limited by her remarkable body and her willingness to show it. I know it sounds terrible, but I believe this to be true… as an actress, if you are in ONE movie in which the response is, “Her boobs were more memorable than the movie,” it will be hard to find roles that don’t feature your boobs ever again. You can go do theater or perhaps a series, but it is a scarlet letter in this town. Mol is working, which is more than many actors can say. And she’s one of the best things about Boardwalk Empire, even if you disregard every moment of nudity. Her character is one of the more interesting ones and if she never showed anything while seducing this one or that, she’s be every bit as interesting. She was also great in the Bettie Page movie, much more so for her performance than her body, lovely as it is.

We are a funny culture. Boys (and men) always masturbated over images of famous women, but something about the internet and the easy access to every image of every body part ever shown and every video ever “stolen from a celebrity house” makes it harder for the people being ogled to pretend its not happening. Whether it’s Alyssa Milano, who has done nudity in some low-rent situations but wants to control it on the web, or Natalie Portman, whose snippet of our chat I ran last week, talking about making the conscious choice to do sexual material, but not to expose her private bits, it seems a shame that they have to be so much more self-conscious than, say, Rita Hayworth or Ann-Margret. And it’s a shame that we all have so much of this seep into our daily lives, wanted or not.

But when the achievements of women like Paris Hilton, Kim Kardashian, Anna Nicole Smith, and others are limited to their sexual attractiveness and their private sex acts made public and we treat them as Important Celebrities, we have no one to blame but ourselves, I suppose.

My rule of thumb for young actresses remains… keep it on. Because few actors can see what “their thing” is when they are still growing a career. And as Jolie, Theron, and Hathaway (amongst others) show, it doesn’t just have to be about your body simply because you are willing to show your body. But it can go there fast if “your thing” is not well-defined and there to return to when “they” try to box you into being the next “The Body.” I truly think that if Gretchen Mol had ever played a role as funny as Bettie Page without the nudity before Bettie Page, she would be one of the top comedic actresses in the business and probably would have never ended up showing herself in the all-together. But working naked and being quite funny in a film, really for the first time, people only seem to remember the naked.

Finally… for those who are going to wonder…. men… completely different issue. For better or for worse, male genitalia is simply not part of mainstream filmmaking in this country. Neither are close-ups of female genitalia, for that matter. Are female breasts comparable, in this way, to the male sex organ? I guess you could make the argument that they should be considered as such, but it’s not the reality. People are still talking about Sharon Stone crossing her legs. Colin Farrell’s penis got more attention from the media in Alexander than did Rosario Dawson’s nude scene that was mostly about her breasts and butt. Actual genitals are rarely seen in films, from either sex. All the near-naked beefcake in 300 got its share of ogling. But compared to a “wardrobe malfunction” in which we really didn’t see very much of one of Janet Jackson’s nipples at the Super Bowl? Mild.

It makes one wonder why we are so focused on these body parts that most of us see every day. It’s not really the parts, is it? It’s the idea of whatever kind of value is placed on the possessor of the parts. Imagined intimacy. And yet, that is at the core of being a public figure. So read my book… blah blah blah…

Frenzy on the Wall: Anne Hathaway is a Great Actress … Right?

Monday, November 22nd, 2010

“Anne Hathaway is a great actress.”
“Is she, though?”

Both speakers in that conversation are me. This was the dialogue I was having with myself as I watched Hathaway on Saturday Night Live this past weekend. She was so effortlessly charismatic, her timing excellent, and her presence inviting. Whether she was playing a hillbilly waiting in line at MegaMart or a very frightened Kate Middleton, she seemed at ease getting into the skin of many varied characters. She, like Justin Timberlake, was one of the rare guest hosts who I could see being a regular cast member (provided, of course, she wanted to take a huge step back career-wise and make far less money).

I found myself thinking that it should have been obvious how good she would be (and she was excellent last time she hosted too) based on how talented she is. Then I started to think of all the great performances she had given.

That’s where I ran into a bit if a problem. I rushed onto IMDb and found that, despite the universal praise for her acting skills, she has given only one unquestionably great performance – Rachel Getting Married – and a whole lot of forgettable or passable or pretty good ones. Have we all been brainwashed by some kind of massive conspiracy plotted by a team of publicists and journalists into believing that Hathaway was the next Meryl Streep?

Let’s look at the evidence.

Hathaway burst onto the scene with The Princess Diaries, a film that is admittedly not aimed at me. However, I thought that she was pretty good, considering the material. Although I don’t really know how much of that performance is due to good acting and how much is simply due to the fact that, as we’ve already covered, she’s immensely likable and charismatic. She has something that is completely separate from any kind of talent – she has a face that we trust and like and she projects warmth as a human being, especially in interviews. So I’m inclined to believe that her portrayal of Mia Thermopolis is really the result of her being a performer we like rather than one who is truly crafting something special.

I never saw The Other Side of Heaven, but I’m fairly certain that if she set the world on fire with that one, I would have watched it by now. Her next film is Nicholas Nickleby, the adaptation of the Dickens novel. I thought the film was passable and utterly unmemorable. In fact, I remember very little about it – including Hathaway’s performance. I would fault the filmmakers more than Hathaway for that, however, because as we’ve already established – Hathaway is memorable. To somehow take a performer like her and have her not make much of an impression is a shame. But I do like that Hathaway was attempting to make a “prestige” film, so points to her for that.

Next we have the one-two punch of Ella Enchanted and The Princess Diaries 2. If anything, these two films proved that Hathaway had officially outgrown films aimed at people under thirteen. Once again, she gets by on her luminosity and smile rather than finding an interesting character in a complex film and then making complicated choices once on set. Because these films are aimed at younger folks, they have characters that aren’t particularly well-drawn and Hathaway doesn’t add that much performance-wise that another performer that was equally charismatic wouldn’t have. In other words, she was coasting.

After that, we have Havoc, in which Hathaway wanted to show exactly how grown up she was. Unfortunately for her, the film was utterly awful and sadly, she was terrible in it. She was not convincing as this damaged character, unable to really make me believe that she was as troubled as she’s supposed to be. And the script doesn’t do her any favors, with lines like “We’re teenagers and we’re bored.” I doubt any actor could say those lines and make them sound right. I admire the fact that Hathaway attempted something that would be a complete 180 for what she had been known for, but she was flat, stilted, and mannered. I saw the wheels spinning the whole time.

With Brokeback Mountain, she had finally picked a winner. It’s a terrific film and while she’s good in it, she is absolutely blown off the screen by Jake Gyllenhaal (who seemed much more focused), Heath Ledger, and Michelle Williams. I thought Hathaway got the part right mostly, although I think she went over the top a few times, whereas the rest of the cast underplayed – making her stand out a bit more, for the wrong reasons. But she was passable and I think the rest of the cast just seemed a lot more comfortable with that kind of material that she was venturing into for the first time.

Then we have The Devil Wears Prada, a choice that I can’t fault because it gave her the opportunity to work with Meryl Streep. A lot of people point to this film as Hathaway’s coming-out party because it was such a massive hit. Unfortunately, she is completely overshadowed by Emily Blunt and – of course – Meryl Streep. So she’s working primarily with two performers who steal every scene from her and, as a result, make her seem like the least interesting character in her own movie.

A good deal of the problem rests with the character herself, who is not pleasant to be around, but Hathaway plays her in such a whiny way that I found myself siding with Streep’s character way more than was intended. I didn’t understand why this snotty girl stuck around if she thought the work she was doing was so beneath her. I found her arrogant, stuck-up, and pouty. It was the first time I had seen Hathaway lose her charms and play a character who was utterly unlikable.

Next was Becoming Jane, which I think I remember as being fine, but truthfully it’s a blur in my head. I remember walking out of the theater and thinking that she had redeemed herself partially, but I wasn’t exactly thrilled with the performance. At this point in Hathaway’s career, I was certainly not a fan.

Her role in Get Smart didn’t make me jump on the bandwagon either. But I thought it was actually an interesting step in the right direction for her. She had found a character that was sexy and in control and she seemed very much at ease in that role, while able to bring back her charisma and likability and winning smile. Her chemistry with Steve Carell was good and I believe in her character. She wasn’t aiming very high in that one, but at least she hit the mark.

Okay, then comes Rachel Getting Married, where for the first time I felt like I “got it” with Anne Hathaway. She was playing a character that was dark, tortured, beaten up and beaten down and supposed to be putting on a happy face for her sister’s wedding. This is the stuff that drama – and great acting – is made of: putting characters in a combustible situation in which outward actions belie inner emotions. It’s also the type of role that needs to be played expertly or else the entire film falls apart under the weight of that failure. Hathaway hit it out of the damn park, taking the audience on a whirlwind of tumult with a biting wit to help us ride out the bumps.

Other actors shine – notably Bill Irwin and Debra Winger – but none brighter than Hathaway. I walked out of the movie believing that Hathaway would win the Oscar that year and I’m pretty surprised that she didn’t. Either way, I could finally see that not only was Hathaway charismatic but she had greatness in her.

And then she does the following: Passengers, Bride Wars, and Valentine’s Day. I don’t think I can express to you how awful all three of those movies are. Granted, the last one she’s not in for more than twenty minutes and she’s actually pretty charming in it and the first one just seemed like it got mangled somewhere in production, but Bride Wars is just inexcusable. I suppose I can’t begrudge actors for trying to get paid, but why that movie?

With the other films, I could understand that it might be about the opportunity to work with a certain actor or director, but was Hathaway’s desire to work with Kate Hudson so great that she would lower herself to those depths of idiocy? I mean, that movie just flat-out doesn’t work. It’s a film that purports that all women want is a fancy wedding at a certain place and they are so persnickety and self-centered that they can’t even allow their friendships to alter their plans. It boggles my mind how Hathaway could stoop to this. I can’t even judge her performance in it because I spent the entire time screaming at the screen, “Why are you doing this?!” (Note: not literally.)

Earlier this year she played the White Queen in Tim Burton’s useless remake of Alice in Wonderland and she was fine in it. The movie was boring and silly, but she got to work with Depp and Burton, so all is forgiven.

Love and Other Drugs comes out this week and I really need for it to be good. More than that, though, I need Hathaway to pick projects worthy of her talents. It’s all well and good to have a fun time at work, doing projects that don’t make you miserable, but the best actors and actresses – I’m thinking Daniel Day Lewis and Kate Winslet, among others – do indeed make themselves mad playing certain characters. Acting is an art form and if I’m to believe that Hathaway is a talent worthy of calling great, I need to see evidence that she believes it’s an art form as well.

While it’s possible that she is the great actress of her generation, the evidence sadly isn’t there to support that. I think she’s got all the talent in the world, but until she starts consistently picking better projects and difficult roles, I can’t put her in that upper echelon. Here’s hoping Love and Other Drugs gets her closer.