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Hathaway puts the accent on success

Anne Hathaway has had a knack of picking hits. Having come to our attention 10 years ago when Pretty Woman director Garry Marshall cast her in the teen hit The Princess Diaries, the teenage Hathaway then did her time as a pretty young thing (in the likes of Nicholas Nickleby and the Ireland-shot Ella Enchanted) before hitting the jackpot again with Brokeback Mountain (2005), The Devil Wears Prada (2006), Becoming Jane (2007) and Rachel Getting Married (2008).

"But there's a lot of hard graft involved, too. And it doesn't always work out."

Luckily for Hathaway, her good luck hasn't entirely abandoned her. Last year also saw her starring in the raw romantic drama Love And Other Drugs, with her Brokeback Mountain co-star Jake Gyllenhaal, and earlier this year Hathaway provided the voice of one tough bird in Fox's sweet animated outing Rio. And she's back with One Day.

Based on David Nicholls' best-selling 2009 novel, Hathaway plays Yorkshire lass Emma, who we first meet on July 15, 1988, as she has a near one-night stand with smooth southerner Dexter (Jim Sturgess). For the next two decades, the two friends meet on the anniversary of that day and we follow their individual lives (his rise and fall as a TV presenter; her slow path to successful children's author in Paris), all the while wondering, will they, won't they? Think Before Sunrise meets Groundhog Day.

The reviews for Hathaway's Emma haven't been exactly shining, most critics struggling to equate the Brooklyn beauty with the Yorkshire ugly duckling of Nicholls' book.

And her accent gets the biggest kicking of all. For The Village Voice, it's a "dodgy, hodgepodge British accent".

"Accents are always tough to get exactly right," says Hathaway. "Even from one town to the next, people can catch differences. In the same family, there's an overriding similarity, but there are subtle differences, too. I had a wonderful voice coach, and an incredible co-star, to help me along, and so, you know, I just had to give it my best shot after that."

It's understandable that director Lone Scherfig was determined not to cast an American actress in a very English role. Hathaway got her hands on the script though, and flew to London, in the hope of convincing Scherfig.

The meeting was something of a disaster. "The worst meeting of my life," Hathaway exclaimed later, "I was just inarticulate." But Anne wasn't about to give in without a fight. Or, to be more precise, a list of songs for Scherfig to listen to, which Hathaway sent to the director along with a note, stating, "I clearly didn't communicate to you what I needed to today. But I think these songs can do it for me".

"Well, you gotta do what you gotta do when you believe you're right for a part," smiles Hathaway. "I just fell in love with Emma from the first moment I read that script. I felt her right down in my bones. I still do . . ."

Not that Hathaway has much time to wallow in her Emma-ness. Right now, she's all leathered-up and getting ready to pounce as Selina Kyle -- aka Catwoman -- in Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight Rises. The third and final film in Nolan's Batman trilogy (following on from the hugely successful Batman Begins and The Dark Knight), shooting for The Dark Knight Rises is currently underway.


Among the official shots released is Hathaway astride a rather mean-looking motorbike. In all her leathered glory. Squeezing into the catsuit has meant working out five days a week for Hathaway, including an hour-and-a-half of dance alongside all the exercise and stunt training. "It's a role you can really have some fun with," is all she'll say on the matter. Otherwise, Christopher Nolan might have us both shot.

Instead, talk turns to the Oscars, and Hathaway's co-hosting of the ceremony this year alongside James Franco. "I just jumped right in there," says Hathaway. "I'd started out in musicals, and this was like one big variety musical."

The critics were not impressed.

"I think my main mistake was playing to the room," nods Hathaway. "I had a good time, so, you know, hopefully some of that came across. In all my work."

Read George Byrne's verdict on One Day , page 63