Anne Hathaway is standing in my kitchen perusing my selection of herbal teas. This wasn’t the plan. We spent several days debating if we should meet for this interview at a fancy uptown sushi restaurant, a cheap diner, or the lobby of an elegant hotel. But, when today rolled around, she said she’d rather come over, play with my kids, and chat in the comfort of my kitchen. Hathaway has a habit of landing on the path of least resistance, which I’ve long admired. Keep it calma, one might say. And honestly, why pay $85 for a California roll when you can play peekaboo with two of the cutest kids in New York City?

Anne wears all clothing and shoes DOLCE & GABBANA ALTA MODA (Spring Haute Couture ’24) | Photography Chris Colls

We met in the early 2000s. I was an NYU student and she was fresh off her star-making turn as Mia Thermopolis in 2001’s The Princess Diaries, a role scored when the Brooklyn-born, New Jersey-raised fledgling actress was 17 years old. Our fateful first meeting on a chilly afternoon in the winter of 2002, walking into brunch with mutual friends outside the Mercer Hotel, will be engraved in my brain forever. “Call me Annie,” she chirped, pushing her long, thick brunette locks off her bright, porcelain skin and showing off a brilliant megawatt smile.

Anne wears all clothing, accessories MAISON MARGIELA ARTISANAL (Spring Haute Couture ’24) / Shoes CHRISTIAN LOUBOUTIN FOR MAISON MARGIELA / Necklace BULGARI High Jewelry | Photography Chris Colls

Now, at 41, Annie has been in more than 50 films ranging from low-budget indies to major motion pictures. She’s been nominated for every performance award in existence, won an Oscar (for 2012’s Les Miserables), and even hosted the Oscars in 2011 (“badly,” she adds). At 29, she married Adam Shulman (the bride wore a dress by her dear friend Valentino, of course), and they have two sons. And, she looks divine. The current face of Versace, Bulgari, and Shiseido, she has become a beloved fashion figure who’s as familiar in the front rows of New York and Milan fashion weeks as a certain well-known Devil-ish fashion editrix.

When we settle in at the kitchen table and flip on the recorder, Annie observes how much has changed in the last two decades. Gone are our days as eager teens brunching at downtown hotspots. They’re replaced by two parents cuddled in uptown apartments wondering if it’s too late to drink tea with caffeine. (After much debate, we decided on a pot of caffeine-free Korean moonwalk tea.) But, one topic that we’ll never get bored of: Fashion.

Like the rest of the style world, Annie was mesmerized by John Galliano’s epic, sweeping, haunting couture collection for Maison Margiela, which debuted in January in Paris, and is what she wears on one of the covers of this very issue of V. “I thought it was extraordinary. I got really into the leather work, the way it created a porcelain effect, the craft of it. The production value of the show, the way they combined dancers and models, the movement, it was so beautiful—the broken umbrella!” she says. When conceptualizing the shoot with Stephen Gan, V’s founder, and the creative director, “I mentioned how much I love menswear and how I am drawn to the visual language of masculine/feminine. And the shoot sort of grew out from there.”

We could talk about fashion for hours–“the makeup is snatched,” the shoot was “fashion but make it fashion”–so it’s a little surprising when Annie reveals she doesn’t truly identify as a fashion person. “I really don’t,” she insists. “I view myself more as a guest.” Conjuring Emily Blunt in The Devil Wears Prada, I sip tea dramatically while giving her a quizzical look. “I think it’d be an insult to someone whose education revolved around it, whose life revolves around it, who has done a full fashion cycle in multiple cities as opposed to just, like, getting invited to a show and an after-party. I think there’s a degree of stamina and schlepping involved in being a proper fashion person. I’m very grateful to be a guest. I mean, I’ve studied it, but it’s informal. I’m aware of the history. I love fashion photography. And I’ve been welcomed for a long time and been shown great kindness and generosity by people whose lives it is. But I’m an actress first.”

Oh yeah, her day job. This May, she’s starring in The Idea of You as Solène Marchand, a movie that has been described as the story of a single mother falling in love with Harry Styles at Coachella, except it’s not Harry and they didn’t shoot at Coachella. “Notchella!” she smiles. (The majority of the film was made in Georgia, which was a double for California and every other stop on a European stadium tour.) When her character brings her daughter to the Coachella Music Festival, she accidentally meets Hayes Campbell of the boy band phenom August Moon and embarks on an unexpected love affair. “It is this story about a single mother fully embracing her sexuality at a time in her life and a woman’s life where, traditionally, we begin to be erased.”

Hayes is played by 29-year-old Nicholas Galitzine, who starred in 2023’s Red, White, and Royal Blue and Bottoms, and will also appear opposite Julianne Moore in this year’s Mary & George. He may not have been in One Direction but he definitely has the charisma of a boy wonder. “We had met a number of young men already, but I remember laughing when Nick walked in because he was so ridiculously perfect for the part. I just thought, he is it,” she says. But, she still asked all the right questions. “Is he gonna be able to read the lines? Read the lines, great. Okay, can you sing? Oh, my God, he can sing. Wait and he can play the guitar? Okay, and he’s just fun to be around. He’s just charming. Like, he’s just charmed this entire room.”

It’s important to note Hathaway is a producer on this film. That comes in handy when advocating for herself in film projects and developing new ways to go about things, like chemistry tests. “Back in the 2000s—and this did happen to me—it was considered normal to ask an actor to make out with other actors to test for chemistry. Which is actually the worst way to do it,” she says. “I was told, ‘We have ten guys coming today and you’re cast. Aren’t you excited to make out with all of them?’ And I thought, ‘Is there something wrong with me?’ because I wasn’t excited. I thought it sounded gross. And I was so young and terribly aware how easy it was to lose everything by being labeled ‘difficult,’ so I just pretended I was excited and got on with it. It wasn’t a power play, no one was trying to be awful or hurt me. It was just a very different time and now we know better.”

As a producer who’s been a working actor for more than half of her life, Hathaway knew that finding a spark didn’t require her to make out with a bunch of twenty-somethings. So, how did they go about getting the right guy? “We asked each of the actors coming in to choose a song that they felt their character would love, that they would put on to get my character to dance, and then we’d do a short little improv. I was sitting in a chair like we had come in from dinner or a walk or something, we pressed play, and we just started dancing together.”

Anne wears all clothing, accessories MAISON MARGIELA ARTISANAL (Spring Haute Couture ’24) / Shoes CHRISTIAN LOUBOUTIN FOR MAISON MARGIELA / Necklace BULGARI High Jewelry | Photography Chris Colls

What band did Nick pick? “The Alabama Shakes. And it was just easy. I heard [the lead singer of Alabama Shake’s] Brittany’s voice and I just started smiling. And he saw me smile, so he relaxed, and we just started dancing. Nobody was showing off. Nobody was trying to get the gig. We were just in a space dancing. I looked over and Michael Showalter, our director, was beaming. Spark!”

The actor-turned-producer path has been well-trotted. We see that with some of Hathaway’s contemporaries; Reese Witherspoon, whose production company produced Oscar-winning hits like Wild and Gone Girl, and hit TV shows like Big Little Lies and The Morning Show, immediately comes to mind. But these are the 21st-century versions of women like silent film star Mary Pickford, who co-founded United Artists in 1919, at the age of 27, and Lucille Ball, the I Love Lucy star who became the first female head of a major studio when she bought out ex-husband Desi Arnaz from their Desilu Productions in 1962. To be an actor who is also in the position of producer, it must be validating to find a way other than making out with ten guys to find a costar.

“To be honest, it never occurred to me that I didn’t have the power of a point of view, at least creatively as it related to my character. I’m really lucky. My first substantial film role, the second film I ever did, was The Princess Diaries. I was so generously invited into that process by Garry Marshall; he valued my take on being a teenage girl and elevated me to such a valued status on set that it never occurred to me on other sets that I didn’t have that same autonomy, or that same ability to collaborate. I always wanted to be pleasant. But I also always thought that having strong opinions meant I was doing my job.”

In January, Annie literally put on a producer’s hat. In the last scene of ‘Gutenberg,’ a two-person Broadway musical starring Josh Gad and Andrew Rannells, the play ends (spoiler alert, kinda?) with someone from the audience being pulled up to the stage to play the part of surprise producer to judge the performance. Hillary Clinton, Patti LuPone, Martin Short, and Steve Martin have all played the big reveal, and this night it was Anna Wintour and Annie. (Annie played Anna’s assistant, of course.) Annie looked good on a Broadway stage and I wonder how she felt up there. “Am I gross if I say ‘home’?” Honesty is the best policy. “Yeah, I really want that, there’s no hiding it,” she says. “[Being on Broadway] was my first dream, you know? And so many amazing, extraordinary things have happened to me but not that one yet. It’s a goal that is very, very much alive inside of me.”

While we’re fantasizing future projects, let’s discuss the prospects of sequels to some of her biggest hits. What’s the likelihood of a third installment of The Princess Diaries series? “We’re in a good place,” she says. Is that all you can say? “That’s all I can say. There’s nothing to announce yet. But we’re in a good place.” What about the Devil Wears Prada 2? “Probably not. We all love each other and if somebody could come up with a way to do it, I think we’d all be crazy not to. But there’s a huge difference in the world now with technology, and one of the things about that particular story is it was about producing a physical object. Now with so much being digital, it would just be very different. Maybe me, Stanley, Emily, Meryl, Dave Frankel, Patricia Field…we should just all do something else together. That’d be fun.”

Another reason it may be hard to cast Annie in the role of a fashion assistant is that she is so clearly in another phase of her career. One reason she was drawn to the role of Solène in The Idea of You is because it’s so close to where she is in her life. “She’s not this boldly colorful, fabulous, attention-grabbing person,” she says, adding that she can tell when she finds a character that matches a part of life that she’s living. “She’s actually just sweet and smart and lovely with a surprisingly sharp sense of humor and I genuinely would love to be friends with her. She’s cozy.” But is that an interesting character to play?

“She’s going through a moment in her life when she is on the verge of becoming bitter. She experienced a trust trauma. And a trust trauma is a hard thing to come back from; all that sweetness is beginning to sour. That’s not a role I could have played on day one of my career. Also, I don’t know how else to say it but I just thought it was a fun premise. One of the points that the movie makes is something that really resonates with me: We have limited ideas of appropriate ways for women to be happy. And we react harshly and punitively when we feel that women have stepped outside those boundaries. I think that needs to stop, so I made a movie about it.” It sounds like she may know something about proving people wrong.

“I loved getting to play a character who has to come up against what the world thinks about her, how they’ve judged her, and decides to choose her own happiness. There’s this line where her ex-husband who left her, who is clearly threatened by her new choices, tries to shame her by saying: ‘Do you even know what people are saying about you?’ And you know what her response is?” Give it to me. “‘No.’ Period. I just loved that.”

The Idea of You’ is available May 2, 2024 on Prime Video.

This story appears in the pages of V148: now available for purchase!

Photography Chris Colls

Fashion Gro Curtis 

Makeup Raoul Alejandre (CLM)

Hair Ward Stegerhoek (Home Agency)

Manicure Meri Kohmoto

Set design Happy Massee (Lalaland Artists)

Executive producer Dana Brockman (viewFinders)

Producer Frank DeCaro (viewFinders)

Digital technician Jeanine Robinson

Photo assistants Danil Zaikin, Sergio Avellaneda

Stylist assistant Liv Vitale, Anastasia Inborn

Makeup assistant Shannon Rodriguez

Hair assistant Marcos Diaz

Set design assistants Mike Williams, Benjamin Bridges

Production assistant Marley Pearson

Location Pier59 Studios 

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