Anne Hathaway was not supposed to star in ”Song One,” an indie musical about a disconnected 20-something in a crisis who finds herself in folk music.
One year after its Sundance Film Festival premiere, the actress laughed about the awkwardness of having to ask her director to be in the film, which is now playing in select theaters and on video-on-demand.
First time director Kate Barker-Froyland, who got to know Hathaway when she served as an assistant to the director on ”The Devil Wears Prada,” had approached the actress and her then-boyfriend Adam Shulman about coming on as producers.
Then Hathaway read the script and realized she had fallen for the lead character Franny, a Ph.D. candidate living abroad who is forced to return home when she discovers her brother is in a coma. ”I’m a sucker for movies about second chances,” she said on a recent afternoon in Beverly Hills. ”I’m also a big believer of finding the opportunity within a crisis. This character got to do both of those things.”
Originally written for a 24-year-old, the last thing Hathaway wanted to do was put her friend and director in the uncomfortable position of having to turn her down. But she did, and Barker-Froyland thought about it and agreed to make the character a little older for Hathaway.
”I’ve got to say, I think the character works better being 28 as she is in the movie. I think there’s something sadder about her in the beginning. She’s someone who has reached that point in her life being so remote and closed off,” said Hathaway.
In addition to working with a first time director, Hathaway was checking off a first of her own: Producing. She doesn’t view it as a way to control her career, per se, but more so to create opportunities and take risks.
”It would be so great if there were just this magic land full of amazing parts for women. There are so many more incredible actresses than there are incredible parts,” she said.
”I don’t blame the people who are funding movies, because they’re a business and they have to turn a profit, so they’re a little risk averse when it comes to making creative choices. I’m not so risk averse.”
Hathaway proved that by following up her Oscar-winning performance in ”Les Miserables” with Christopher Nolan’s experimental space odyssey ”Interstellar,” which was met with a somewhat middling response from audiences and critics after its November release.
”I think it’s ahead of its time,” she said. ”We have a lot of examples throughout film history of movies that did not get their due when they were released, but still stand the test of time. It’s my personal opinion that `Interstellar’ is going to be one of those. I’m as proud of that as I am of anything.”
Up next, Hathaway has the Nancy Meyers comedy ”The Intern,” with Robert DeNiro, and ”Alice in Wonderland: Through the Looking Glass,” where she’ll reprise her role as the White Queen.
For now, though, she’s just reveling in her modest passion project. ”It’s got a really unusual pace to it, but I’m hoping that people go with it,” she said.
It’s the story that hits closest to home, though.
”For me, this movie is about a girl getting out of her own way and getting out of her own head. I was in the very early stages of that journey in my own life,” she said. ”It’s not like the world has gotten nicer since 2013. I think it’s about looking beyond your knee-jerk judgment about places and people and professions and actually experiencing something with an open heart.