Anne Hathaway is an outspoken advocate of gender equality in Hollywood and beyond. The Oscar winner is a global goodwill ambassador for Un Women, the Un agency working towards gender equality and female empowerment, has rejected sexist questions from the press, and has publicly addressed the lack of films by and about women. In a brave new interview, Hathaway admitted to being part of the problem. She revealed that she herself has been struggling to unlearn sexism.
On ABC News’ “Popcorn with Peter Travers,” Hathaway was asked which movie set she learned the most on. She could have given a million bullshit answers that flattered herself and/or her collaborators. Instead, she chose to admit to her own prejudices by speaking about her experience filming Lone Scherfig’s 2011 romance “One Day.”
“I really regret not trusting her more easily,” Hathaway says. “And I am to this day scared that the reason I didn’t trust her the way I trust some of the other directors I work with is because she’s a woman.” This is a bold admission, and Hathaway doesn’t stop there. She elaborates, “I’m so scared that I treated her with internalized misogyny. I’m scared that I didn’t give her everything that she needed or . . . I was resisting her on some level. It’s something that I’ve thought a lot about in terms of when I get scripts to be directed by women,” she observes.
Mid-conversation Hathaway admits, “I’m getting red talking about this. It feels like a confession, but I think it’s something we should talk about.” We couldn’t agree more! Her discomfort is completely understandable — no one likes to acknowledge things we are ashamed of, and especially not in a public forum — but we’re so impressed that she’s willing to put herself out there like this. It’s always easier to point fingers at other people than to look inward, and if more people in Hollywood, both men and women, analyzed their own unconscious biases, we’re convinced the industry would undergo a major makeover.
The interview also sees Hathaway talking about her experiences with women directors other than Scherfig. “When I get a script, when I see a first film directed by a woman, I have in the past focused on what was wrong with it,” she reveals. “And when I see a film . . . directed by a man, I focus on what’s right with it . . . I can only acknowledge that I’ve done that and I don’t want to do that anymore.” “I had actively tried to work with female directors,” Hathaway explains. “And I still had this mindset buried in there somewhere.”
Hathaway’s women-directed credits include Nancy Meyers’ “The Intern,” Kate Barker-Froyland’s “Song One,” and Barbara Kopple’s “Havoc.”
When discussing the differences between men and women’s careers, Hathaway observes, “That journey is way harder than it should be. It’s not equal . . . And I wonder if it’s about the thought process like the one I just talked about.”
“The Ocean’s 8” star said she’s never personally apologized to Scherfig, but a representative for the Danish writer-director told ABC News that she wanted “to express her love and admiration for Anne and her work.”
We interviewed Scherfig about “One Day” back in 2011, and she had nothing but lovely things to say about her experience working with Hathaway. She described Hathaway as a “wonderful actress” and emphasized that she’s in “a league of her own.”
When we asked what it was like for Scherfig to direct Carey Mulligan in “An Education” and Hathaway in “One Day” and whether she had thoughts about how the Hollywood machine treats women, Scherig said, “I don’t know if I treat them more respectfully because I am a woman director. There is an affection that I can give them,” she said. “Both Anne and Carey are easy to like and to care for and maybe I can have access to that because I am not a man. There is also a kind of admiration that they would get from a male director that I don’t do. But I have a daughter, and I don’t mother them. I am not that intimate with them. Well, actually, I am intimate with Anne and that surprised me a lot. I’ve told Anne things I’ve never told anybody else but that’s her personality and that has nothing to do with directing.”
Hathaway’s latest film, “Colossal,” is in theaters now. The unconventional monster movie centers on a self-destructive woman (Hathaway) who moves back to her small hometown and winds up unwittingly wreaking havoc on South Korea from afar.
Anne Hathaway Talks Internalized Misogyny and Working with Lone Scherfig was originally published in Women and Hollywood on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.