Date of Assessment: March 5, 2010
Positive Buzzwords: Wholesome, heterogenous
Negative Buzzwords: Calculated, rehearsed
The Case: More than any other actress these days, Anne Hathaway is akin to the proverbial “blank slate; she can handle nearly any role that she deems appropriate to be projected upon her own milky white skin. She wears her slightly offbeat looks quite well, and she has handled her fame — which is micromanaged just like every other aspect of her career — in a similarly proficient manner. Speaking of which, never let it be said that girlfriend isn’t a career transition genius. Quite simply, the career chronology in question tells the tale.
Less than a decade ago, Hathaway was a viable Disney princess with such mindless fare as The Princess Diaries (and its sequel) along with Ella Enchanted. As if on cue, she smoothly moved on from these dreadfully wholesome teen-dream roles to much edgier work, which meant some requisite nudity within Havoc. An even better move for Anne was her role as a cowgirl in Brokeback Mountain that combined arguable Oscar bait with the all-important Academy-approved boobage. Next up was a part opposite Meryl Streep in Devil Wears Prada, for which Hathaway earned her own critical accolades while reaping box-office benefits as stock for her future. Get Smart saw her kicking ass with leggy aplomb alongside lukewarm reviews for a mediocre flick. What really mattered at this point was that Hathaway had truly established herself as a commercially successful actress. Next on the agenda? To earn “serious actress” credentials with a very dramatic turn in an indie flick. So, Hathaway settled upon playing the volatile recovering drug addict in Rachel Getting Married, and this performance earned her the coveted “Academy Award-nominated actress” descriptor. Hathaway has also been conscientious about maintaining the all-important theatre cred with a stint as Viola in Twelfth Night during New York Shakespeare Festival’s Summer 2009 production. Of course, there have also been those crappy romcoms, Bride Wars and Valentine’s Day, which we shall try to ignore, but we can rest assured that it’s all part of Anne’s life plan.
Altogether, Hathaway presents the image of a well-rounded and capable Hollywood actress, who has somehow managed to make the transition from teen to adult audiences while cautiously avoiding the starlet trap. Yet, she’s clearly not capable of pulling off every type of role… just one viewing of Becoming Jane will tell you that drinking tea and affecting an accent does not equate to an adequately convincing portrayal of Jane Austen. But the occasional falter is nothing but a slight blemish upon such a well-managed complexion, and audiences have already forgotten all about Becoming Jane. If anything at all truly bothers me about Hathaway, it’s that everything she does feels far too calculated. In specific films, she can really shine. However, her career path, as a whole, demonstrates that this girl does nothing in a spontaneous manner, which is just fine in terms of an actress, who essentially gets paid to lie for a living.
Of course, I realize that it’s not particularly kosher to consider Anne’s personal life while determining her career outlook, but her long-term willful blindness regarding her fraudster ex-boyfriend Raffaello Follieri, well, it makes me a bit uneasy. When one combines the coincidence that Hathaway sat for a number of years on the board of the Raffaello Folleri Foundation without knowing a damn thing about its finances and cheerfully accepted the claim that his charitable deeds were so awesome that he’d been appointed “the chief financial officer of the Vatican,” it just looks pretty sketchy. It’s fairly obvious that Hathaway dated this fellow only when he looked like a good guy who vaccinated various orphans in third-world countries, but when he ceased to benefit her image and could possibly ruin her reputation, she had no more use for him. And so her checklist was revised.
The Prognosis: It wouldn’t be too surprising to learn that Anne Hathaway has her entire future mapped upon a series of laminated flowcharts. Now, whether her margin of error is significant enough that she might actually screw things up and fall off the Hollywood radar, well, only time will tell. Still, I suppose that she’ll be just fine and, in a decade or so, she’ll probably get married, move to Minnesota, and start a family. At that point, Anne Hathaway will make one or two film appearances per year and still pull down the Julia Roberts-esque paychecks. Sigh.
Agent Bedhead lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma and can be found at agentbedhead.com.