Few girls actually get to be a princess, unless theyíre born into a royal family. But Anne Hathaway has come pretty close to that fairytale life, even if itís just in the movies. The star of The Princess Diaries and Ella Enchanted recently revisited her regal role as Princes Mia in Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement, and she talked about it -- as well as about college, real diaries, and true-life Prince Charmings -- with IML.
IML: How much do you have in common with Mia from The Princess Diaries?
Anne: Well, weíre both goofy! I like to think weíre both really nice people, and Iíve been told Iím charming. So I think we share that, but Iím very different from her in a lot of ways. I think sheís more impulsive than I am. She engages in behavior that I never would.
IML: Mia is kind of clumsy. Are you?
Anne: The other day I was trying to get to the set of a film that Iím working on. I was walking down the stairs to my trailer and fell down the stairs, was caught by the back of my dress and was literally hanging by the back of my dress on a railing! It was really embarrassing!
IML: Youíre in every scene in this movie. Is that exciting or pressure, or both?
Anne: Itís nerve-wracking. Itís hard. Itís a lot of pressure on you, especially the pressure you put on yourself to give a good performance and the pressure that other people put on you to rise to the challenge every single day. Also, youíre one of the leaders of the set, you set a tone, and thatís a lot of pressure as well. Itís a challenge but Iím really lucky. I have good people watching out for me. And if it gets overwhelming, you sort of deal with it. Itís fair to ask for time for yourself, as long as youíre not a diva about it.
IML: Was the mattress surfing fun?
Anne: Yeah. Thatís from my childhood, actually. I used to mattress surf when I was a kid! And Garry Marshall, the director, turned it into this huge movie moment. It was pretty fun.
IML: How about the archery scenes? You had to shoot flaming arrows.
Anne: They were fun. Fortunately, I had professionals with me at all times who kept me from getting on fire.
IML: You get to wear some spectacular clothes in the movie. Did you feel like a princess in them?
Anne: The clothes are really, really great and they greatly aid in creating the illusion of what youíre trying to create. The red dress was really cool and fun, but the thing that I liked most about it was the shoes. The shoes were to die for. And I wore this adorable Dolce & Gabbana cap that was a favorite of mine.
IML: Would you wear any of it in real life?
Anne: Oh yeah, a lot of the casual pieces that Mia wore, not so much the more conservative princess-y things. There are a lot of coats that she wore that I would like to pair up with jeans. There were some classic pieces that were cut to fit. When things are custom made for you, theyíre great.
IML: Girls seem to really love this movie. How do you feel about being a role model for them?
Anne: I never considered myself a role model but if who I am naturally helps people, thatís amazing. Thatís great. But I certainly donít conform myself to fit any standards of what I think a role model should be. I donít base any of my decisions based on, ďWhat are other people going to think about that?Ē
IML: Did the success of the first Princess Diaries surprise you?
Anne: I knew it would be a beloved film because it was too sweet and too well-made not to be. The thing that was so surprising about it is that people kept going back to see it, that there are Princess Diaries clubs. People have Princess Diaries sleepovers. Girls from age 6 to age 60 get together and put on tiaras and watch The Princess Diaries together! Itís always sold out at video stores. The hunger for it continues to be there and itís a worldwide thing. But itís kind of cool because I figure I can probably go anywhere, knock on a familyís door and be like, ďHey, can I stay here?Ē
IML: Do you keep a diary?
Anne: I do.
IML: How long have you kept one?
Anne: Since I was 14 or 15. Iíve filled up a few since then.
IML: Has anyone tried to read it?
Anne: No, they havenít. Iíve read people passages from it but I would never give it to someone and say. ďHey, hereís my soul.Ē
IML: If you were a princess, what sort of traits would you look for in a ďPrince CharmingĒ?
Anne: The same exact ones that I would look for as a regular girl, which is somebody very smart, very compassionate, kind, funny, with an ability to laugh at life. Someone who kind of gets it.
IML: Have you ever met any real-life royalty?
Anne: Yeah. I spent a lot of time in Europe so Iíve met a lot of princes. Theyíre just down to earth, normal people.
IML: Youíve played a princess three times now. Do you worry about being locked into that?
Anne: Iím 21 years old and hopefully my career is going to be much longer and bigger than a tiara!
IML: How old were you when you started acting?
Anne: I started taking acting classes when I was very young as a hobby and started professionally when I was 10.
IML: Did you ever want to do anything else?
Anne: No. I can imagine my life branching off into different professions certainly, but Iíve enjoyed the route that Iíve gone so much that Iíd never imagine something different or try to change it. Iíve never sat there and said, ďWhat if this had never happened and I was a Ďnormalí girl?Ē I love my life.
IML: Who do you look to for inspiration?
Anne: I donít look to anybody for inspiration, just good actors. People that I admire are Meryl Streep, Katharine Hepburn, Audrey Hepburn, Naomi Watts, Angelina Jolie. Theyíre all people who have incredible strength to them and they also have enormous talent.
IML: How are you juggling movies and college?
Anne: Well, I usually do a semester, do a film, do a semester, do a film, do a semester, do two films. I think Iím going to be transferring to a different school, somewhere in New York. It will be easier to work then because Vassar is so removed. You canít get cell phone access up there! So I think Iím just going to go to school in the city. Iím a year and a half into it. I have two and a half years left so itís only going to take me five years. Thereís no reason for me not to be a college grad.
IML: Whatís your major?
Anne: Iím going to be a double major, English and political science.
IML: Do you think youíll be able to make the transition from teen to adult roles?
Anne: Yes. If Iím patient and smart, the opportunities will come my way. Hopefully I will rise to the challenge. If it doesnít work out with film, Iíll do theater.
IML: What was the best bit of advice youíve received?
Anne: Be brave and choose joy. My drama teacher gave me the advice ďbe braveĒ and my mother gave me the advice ďchoose joy.Ē
IML: Whatís your favorite fairytale?
Anne: The Princess and the Pea. It was short, it was adorable and I also loved the idea of Once Upon a Mattress, the musical that resulted from it. I also liked The Fisherman and His Wife. That was heavy on symbolism, which I loved as a kid.
IML: For someone your age, you seem to have a lot figured out. But is there anything youíd like to change about yourself?
Anne: I donít know about changeÖbut thereís a lot that I want to learn about myself. Iíd like to just continue to learn who I am, to learn to be less timid in emotional situations and be able to assert myself, but other than that Iím pretty happy!
IML: Sounds like it! Thanks, Anne!
Anne: Thank YOU!
Read more about young celebrities in Celebs Say....
E-mail this page to a friend