It is well-known that Fantine in “Les Misérables” was the toughest and most acclaimed role of Hathaway’s career. We all know about the severe physical and mental strain she had to go through to look the part, but contrary to what many news outlets reported on her famous singing scene, it certainly wasn’t done in a single take.
According to Hathaway, it took over eight hours to shoot her character’s “I Dreamed a Dream” scene because the actress didn’t stop until it was perfect. “I wanted to get as deep into the character as possible,” said the actress in a later interview. FYI, it was the fourth take that made it into the movie’s final version.
Everything Has a Downside
As often happens with actors who got their start in family and teen movies, Hathaway also struggled to break free from the “naïve teenage girl” role. Of course, the actress is infinitely grateful for the fact she got to play Mia Thermopolis in “The Princess Diaries,” being that it was the role that launched her career.
However, Hathaway has also said that the role also helped typecast her in a way that became limiting for her future projects. She explained that she got into the business to push limits and go beyond her comfort zone. She carried on and explained that ‘The Princess Diaries’ had often created a brick wall at times in her career.
Her Mother was a Big Help
By now, it is public knowledge that Kate Hathaway, Anne’s mother, is an actress herself and had quite a successful career on the stage. In fact, when she was young, she was part of a theater group that was doing a tour of “Les Misérables” across the United States, and she played Fantine!
When Anne was considering the role for herself many years later, it was her mother, Kate, who encouraged her and gave her that last boost of self-confidence that made her take on the role. Anne consulted her mother throughout the filming for character tips and advice, asking how she could better portray such a sensitive and tragic role. When the movie came out, her mother told her she was the best Fantine she’d ever seen, and clearly, the Academy agreed.
A Devoted Feminist
As if we needed more reasons to love Anne Hathaway, the actress is not only one of the best actresses of her generation, but she’s also an upstanding human being – especially when it comes to supporting her fellow women. Apart from her extremely successful acting career, Hathaway is a die-hard feminist, advocating and donating to several charities that support women in all walks of life.
For example, she supports the Lollipop Theatre Network, a non-profit organization in Los Angeles that delivers blockbusters to hospitalized children and their families. She’s also a member and supporter of ‘Step Up Women’s Network,’ a charity that focuses on mentoring young women to create the next generation of educated, strong, and independent women.
A True Master at Her Craft
Critics, co-stars, and audiences all lauded Hathaway’s performance in “Les Misérables.” Not only did she sacrifice her body in preparation for her role – losing over 25 pounds and nearly chopping all of her hair off – but she also underwent extreme psychological preparation. Like any brilliant actor, one must get into the character to play the role as well as humanly possible, and that’s exactly what Hathaway did.
For two months, she practiced crying in front of a mirror every day and took voice lessons that lasted hours a day, only for the scene where she sang the heart-wrenching song “I Dreamed a Dream.” The effort was definitely worth it since it earned Hathaway her first Oscar for “Best Supporting Actress.”