She's Anne Hot-Away...
And she's all set to be the biggest star of 2011
Published 29/12/2010 | 05:00
It seems apt that Anne Hathaway's earliest acting roles were playing princesses, because 2011 is shaping up to be the year that the young star is crowned as Queen of Hollywood.
Forbes magazine has named the smiley 28-year-old as this year's best value female star thanks to her roles in hits such as Valentine's Day and Alice in Wonderland.
It's estimated that Hathaway generates an estimated $64 (€48) for every dollar she's paid in salary. In terms of offering most bang for the buck, Hathaway came out on top over heavy-hitters like Jennifer Aniston, Meryl Streep and Sarah Jessica Parker.
Now it has been announced that Hathaway is to co-host next year's Academy Awards ceremony with fellow hot young star James Franco. The Oscars gig is one of the most coveted in American entertainment: Hathaway and Franco will be stepping into the shoes once filled by legends such as Johnny Carson and Bob Hope, as well as modern masters like Billy Crystal, Whoopi Goldberg and Ellen DeGeneres.
The award-show producers are not stupid: they would have seen Hathaway ably sing and dance during a routine with host Hugh Jackman at the 2008 Oscars, while most recently the actress proved her solid comedy chops by skewering Kate Middleton and Katie Holmes with spot-on impersonations on the American sketch-comedy show Saturday Night Live.
To top it all off, Hathaway is herself an outside bet to be an Oscar nominee for her role in the raunchy new comedy-drama Love and Other Drugs, in which she plays a Parkinson's patient who has a passionate affair with a travelling Viagra salesman (played by Jake Gyllenhaal).
What's more, she is heading up the eagerly awaited adaptation of David Nicholl's phenomenally popular romantic novel One Day, about the 20-year on-off love affair between two polar opposite British friends who first meet at university.
Hathaway also has a profitable nixer in a series of contracts for Lancôme perfumes and cosmetics.
So where did it all go right for Anne Hathaway? Apart from making some savvy career moves of late, she appears to be an extremely popular figure in Hollywood. Colleagues rave about her: Meryl Streep, Hathaway's co-star in the 2006 comedy The Devil Wears Prada, regularly praises the actress in interviews even to this day.
As a measure of her cross-platform appeal, Hathaway frequently features in those never-ending lists compiling the world's sexiest, most beautiful, most glamourous, most desirable, most popular, and most in-demand stars.
Though she can command $5m per movie, the actress appears to keep a low profile, splitting her home life between New York and LA.
Hathaway has also given the world a peek at her own personal vulnerabilities and beliefs: she has spoken in the past of her struggles with depression as a teenager as well as proudly expressing her vocal support for her gay older brother Michael.
What's more she has renounced her Catholic faith in protest against Church teachings on homosexuality, which further shores up her credentials in liberal Hollywood.
Other aspects of her personal life have been more complicated.
In 2004, Hathaway began dating Italian real estate developer Raffaello Follieri and served as a board member of his charity foundation.
But in 2008, the FBI started to investigate Follieri on corruption and fraud charges, following which Hathaway ended the relationship.
Follieri was later arrested and jailed for defrauding investors, and though she was initially shocked and heartbroken, Hathaway drew a line under the personal drama by joking about it on Saturday Night Live a few weeks later.
Since then she has been romantically linked to the little-known actor Adam Shulman.
According to Daniel Anderson, movie editor of Click Magazine, Hathaway's career has thrived because she had the crucial freedom to diversify and show her range.
"She was lucky in that she didn't belong to the set of Disney Channel pseudo-tweens who are forced to rattle off a dozen saccharine movies as part of some mercenary contract," Anderson says.
"Her transition to heavier dramas was a necessity, a sign of an actress willing to risk alienating her younger fans.
"This can be seen particularly in her decision to take on darker material like the crime thriller Havoc, and a small role as Jake Gyllenhaal's duped but steely Texan wife in Brokeback Mountain."
The real turning point for Hathaway, however, was when she signed on to play a narcissistic ex-drug addict in Rachel Getting Married. She was a revelation in the role and Hathaway earned an Oscar nomination for Best Actress for her efforts.
Perhaps more importantly, Hathaway had achieved, almost overnight, a newfound respect from critics and fans alike. That new clout was even enough to sustain her through turkeys -- albeit successful ones -- like Get Smart and the truly heinous Bride Wars.
At this vantage point, there seems no limit to the roles that Hathaway could step into.
Her proven singing ability has seen her become linked to the proposed big screen version of the stage musical Wicked, while she has also been tipped to play Judy Garland in a future biopic.
"A young, smart, attractive and capable actress with decent comic timing is a godsend to studios who have been increasingly relying on ageing stalwarts like Jennifer Aniston and Cameron Diaz to pull in the punters," says Daniel Anderson.
"Best of all, despite her escalating fame, Hathaway remains a relatively low budget performer, compared to someone like Cameron Diaz who scored $10m for Knight and Day. There's no doubt that she'll be able to mix award-winning turns with crowd-pleasing hits for years to come."