Hathaway has publicly defended the Succession star’s acting process, but how did she actually like working with him?
Method acting has been a trendy but controversial process in Hollywood for decades. But in the good old days, it appeared that only a handful of actors lived and breathed as their characters until their job was complete. Nowadays, many of the most popular actors dive head first into the method technique, even some of cinema's most iconic villains.
However, many thespians have spoken out against method acting, mostly because of the style can cause an array of conflicts on set. At the end of 2021, Succession star Jeremy Strong was forced to defend comments he made in a New Yorker interview about method acting. However, numerous actors, including his Armageddon Time co-star, Anne Hathaway, came to his defense, claiming the profile was "one-sided".
During a December 2022 interview with The Hollywood Reporter, while promoting Armageddon Time, Anne Hathway was asked to speak to Strong's method of acting again. Here's what she had to say…
Anne Hathaway is not a method actor, nor did she have any similarly controversial approach to playing a version of writer/director James Gray's mother in 2022's Armageddon Time. She couldn't actually speak with Gray's mother as she had passed years prior. Therefore, Hathaway relied heavily on the script and Gray's own account.
But, according to her interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Hathway was also sensitive to the fact that talking about his mother was a tender issue for Gray.
"I wasn’t just speaking about a character and how I would like to play her. It couldn’t actually have that kind of force. It was a character that I was receiving, and I found direct questions were not helpful," Hathaway said of her conversations with Gray about his mother. "I found [myself] asking indirect questions, something that would kind of just stoke the fires of his memory — asking a simple question like, 'What would your mom have playing on the TV when she cooked?' He would answer, but then it would lead to all of these other memories because memory is not really linear."
Hathaway, who plays Jeremy Strong's character's wife in the film, did spend a lot of time perfecting a strong New York Jewish accent. But also spent a lot of time understanding that embodying a woman who was not her race took another degree of delicacy.
"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]," Hathaway explained to The Hollywood Reporter.
Anne Hathaway was one of the first people to defend Jeremy Strong's approach to their craft following the release of the December 2021 New Yorker profile. But she went into more detail during a December 2022 interview with The Hollywood Reporter.
"I think process is just another way of saying how you get there and then how you stay there," Anne Hathway said of method acting. "I like an answer I heard Jeremy give recently, which is [that] process really is just about concentration and the best way that you concentrate. I would not do well if I had a process that could only be one way because that’s assuming everything goes right and that there’s enough room for your process."
Hathaway went on to describe a particularly tricky scene to film in the TV show Modern Love, where she played a woman with bipolar disorder.
"There was this really big, seven-page scene in which my character, who suffers from bipolar disorder, is confiding to someone for the first time. It was a scene full of really, really, really tricky twists and turns," Hathway described to The Hollywood Reporter before claiming that there was subway train noise coming through the shot every two minutes.
"[This] meant that in order to do the scene, we had to stop and freeze what we were doing and hold the emotion and wait for the train to pass and then pick up in the scene as though nothing had ever happened — until the next train came by two minutes later. And we had to do that until the scene was done. If I had had a dogmatic approach to my process, there’s no way it could have happened."
Hathaway claimed to have a more "flexible approach" to acting which ultimately boils down to whatever works best for the moment. While she "didn't appreciate" having to deal with the noising train during the making of Modern Love, she knew the best way forward was to "surrender" to the moment.
"And I’m very proud of that scene. I think it’s very good work, oddly," she admitted to The Hollywood Reporter.
She went on to say that while Jeremy Strong's approach to acting is different than hers, it, in no way, bothers her.
"When we talk about process, when we talk about intensity, when we talk about method, when we talk about all this stuff, it’s all good to me. Nothing ever strikes me as weird," she said to The Hollywood Reporter.
"If somebody likes to crack jokes right up until the moment of action and then all of a sudden they’re sobbing hysterically? Great! Fabulous! If it doesn’t work for me, I’ll keep my distance," Hathaway continued. "I’ve had the experience a couple of times [where] someone wants to stay in character the entire time. Great — no chitchat, we will just connect between action and cut and that will be our relationship, and maybe we’ll find each other afterwards. It’s all good. I just love actors, and we’re such weirdos in the best way possible, and I’m just so thrilled to be in the strive."
Dylan Parker is a list and content writer and editor working for Valnet Inc. since 2017. He’s written for TheTalko, Baby Gaga, Moms, and Screen Rant. Currently, he is both a writer and an editor at TheThings where he specializes in entertainment, film, and celebrity news. Dylan has also written for Narcity and various other entertainment, food, and travel publications.