Breaking into Batman

Anne HathawayNot every Disney darling can go so far in life. When Anne Hathaway starred in the frothy fish out of water comedy The Princess Diaries in 2001, the then-19-year-old star was certainly funny but gave no clue just what heights she’d rise to.

Maybe it’s the rare dignity surrounding Hathaway, mature and private while her contemporaries stumble out of limos flashing their underwear. She decisively deflects the first question about her personal life – what the character of Catwoman in The Dark Knight Rises has in common with her – with the words ‘yes, a real respect for mystery’.

Her mystique has charmed audiences and even the Oscars, nominating her for Best Actress for 2008’s Rachel Getting Married. Like so many before her, Hathaway is donning a black, skin tight leather suit in Chris Nolan’s biggest (and best?) Batman film. Even more daunting however, was that she was the only member of the cast who’d never worked with the writer/director before.

“They were waiting for me to come in and save everything,” the 29-year-old jokes. “I was a little nervous coming in as the new kid on the block. Everybody took me to the side and explained that I wasn’t being treated any differently, and I didn’t feel like I was. But being the only person cast who hadn’t worked with Chris motivated me to work even harder because I was determined not to stand out in any way.”

For such a young age, Hathaway’s a rare talent, one without a single shade of typecasting about her. She’s talented, having done ‘damaged’ in Rachel Getting Married and Love and other Drugs (in which she played a Parkinson’s sufferer). Rather than just appear in funny films she’s actually funny, like she was in Get Smart and The Devil Wears Prada. She’s also beautiful and athletic, making the character of the svelte jewel thief thoroughly believable.

“I decided it was probably better for my stress levels to focus on how I felt in the suit rather than look at myself in it. There weren’t any mirrors around but occasionally I went to the bathroom and caught a glimpse, so I actually got to know it one piece at a time, never the full version. But the first time I was in it Tom [Hardy] came out as Bane and Christian was in the Batman suit and I got a chill.”