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“No disrespect to ‘rom-coms,’” Anne Hathaway shrugged outside the premiere of her film “One Day” in New York on Monday night. “God knows I’ve made a few of them and God knows I’ll make a few more. But a romantic comedy is what? Two characters meet and initially don’t like each other and then they do and they’re in love in a week or immediately, and then they get into a fight and then they race across Manhattan to apologize and it’s solved and it’s over and it’s happy. This movie is not like that.” Hathaway braced herself against the corset of her black Alexander McQueen cocktail dress, placing both hands on her waist, almost rising an inch in height before she continued: “This movie allows characters to really get to know each other.” It should: the film is set on the same day over 20 years. Hathaway plays a woman born and raised in England (specifically Leeds). Her British accent is dubious.
“What was important for me with the accent was that it would evolve,” Hathaway nodded conspiratorially. “Because I met a lot of people from Yorkshire and they all had different accents — they had moved to different parts of London and picked new ones up…but then you get them drunk or angry and the Yorkshire really comes out.”
This story first appeared in the August 10, 2011 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Hathaway plays opposite Jim Sturgess, who was born in London and raised in Surrey. What did he think of his leading lady’s go at the King’s English? “She was really speaking in that accent for the entirety of filming,” Sturgess said. “I didn’t even notice it after awhile. Although you know, she’d have a glass of wine and then she’d switch back to American, and that’s when I’d get confused.” Hathaway smiled blankly, her eyes narrowed and generous mouth tightened in a grimace bent to look like amusement. “Well, Jim, good thing we didn’t drink while we were filming,” she said.
“Annie was perfect,” James Schamus, chief executive officer of Focus Features, said when asked about casting. “It didn’t matter that she wasn’t British.” Director Lone Scherfig agreed, “There was concern that she wasn’t British, sure. But she’s an actress. They’re always playing characters that they’re not. Even British actors will take vocal coaching.”
Rachel Roy, Patricia Clarkson, Kevin Jonas, Reeve Carney, Alice St. Clair and Imogen Poots all turned out for the film’s premiere, along with Paul Haggis, Michael Michele, Coco Rocha and husband James Conran.
“Oh, yeah, ‘Princess Diaries’ is one of my favorites,” Conran offered of Hathaway’s résumé, rolling his eyes.
“I was a big fan when it came out,” Rocha said. “I’ve made him watch it a few times. I’m a girly girl. And I loved ‘Pride and Prejudice.’ You know, I’ve seen every ‘Pride and Prejudice,’ so of course I love Anne Hathaway. Oh, she wasn’t in that. ‘Jane Eyre?’”