Actress Anne Hathaway Says She Was 'Nervous' to Play Jewish … – Algemeiner

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(L to R) Anne Hathaway stars as Esther Graff and Jeremy Strong stars as Irving Graff in director James Gray’s Armageddon Time. Photo: Anne Joyce/Focus Features
Oscar-winning actress Anne Hathaway said she felt a great responsibility to accurately portray a Jewish mother in the new film Armageddon Time.
Hathaway stars alongside Anthony Hopkins and Jeremy Strong in the semi-autobiographical drama from writer-director James Gray and plays a character based on Gray’s own mother. The film follows a Jewish American family in Queens, New York, in the early 1980s and its youngest member Paul Graff, played by Banks Repeta, as he learns about white privilege and racism through his friendship with a black schoolmate. His parents are played by Hathaway and Strong.
Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter about her role in the film, Hathaway said, “It was not lost on me that I had a lot of responsibility playing a Jewish woman, and that I’m not a Jewish woman. I did what I think we all do, [which was to research]… I learned everything I could about Jewish women, like historical Jewish women.”
When asked if she felt “trepidation” taking on the role, the Princess Diaries star, whose husband is Jewish, replied: “Yeah, I was nervous about how it would be received. I took it very seriously. And I hoped I would be graced from an audience the ability to play this part even though I was not born a Jewish woman.”
Anthony Hopkins, Anne Hathaway and Jeremy Strong are starring in a new film about a Jewish family in Queens, New…
She added, “In terms of trepidations, James was really empowering. Throughout the process, I felt really supported by him.”
Hathaway also explained that she tried as much as she could to really embody Gray’s mother — who died a few years after the events in the film — and even her smallest habits by asking the director questions such as “What would your mom have playing on the TV when she cooked?”
“I felt like I had to receive the part, allow the script to guide me and then allow James’ memory to sort of color everything,” she said. “And then, once I had a real understanding of that, just step into her.”
Hathaway also spoke in October about taking on a Jewish character in Armageddon Time and how the film related to her personal life. She told Entertainment Tonight, “I wanted to bring aspects of the film home, because my husband is Jewish and so I had a lot of questions for him. It was not lost on me, the extraordinary responsibility of playing a Jewish woman, when these aren’t roles that come around very often, and what it meant for me who is not raised that way and was not born into that religion.”
“I wanted to make sure I did a good job and I covered every base and didn’t leave any stone unturned,” she noted. “My husband was an absolutely invaluable resource to me in this one.”
Watch the trailer for Armageddon Time in the video below.

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