Anne Hathaway opens up on playing a journalist in Dee Rees' political thriller The Last Thing He Wanted
In The Last Thing He Wanted, Anne Hathaway plays a hardscrabble journalist Elena McMahon who gets embroiled in the dangerous world of arms dealing.
Mudbound director Dee Rees is returning to the Sundance Film Festival with her next feature, The Last Thing He Wanted, a political thriller based on a 1996 Joan Didion novel. The story follows hardscrabble journalist Elena McMahon (Anne Hathaway) who finds herself on dangerous ground as the Iran Contra Affair's arms for drugs plot reaches its tipping point. The movie also stars Willem Dafoe as Hathaway’s father, Rosie Perez as her photojournalist friend, Ben Affleck as a government official, and Edi Gathegi.
While the movie is set in Reagan era, it also draws parallels with subjects pertaining to the Donald Trump administration such as immigration laws and government secrecy. When ponited out the similarities, Hathaway in an interview told Variety, "The migrant crisis really made front-page news while we were filming. Then the next level of family separation started. This whole U.S. involvement was obscured while it was going on in the 1980s, people still aren’t talking about the fact that people we’re turning away to our country, part of the reason why they’re escaping their own countries is because of us. It felt really present. It felt like, “Oh, here we are making those same mistakes again.”
Hathaway, who plays a staunch journalist in the film, says she didn’t really focus on the journalism part, but was 'more concentrated on playing Elena'. However, filmmaker Rees did put her in touch with a few journalists, who helped her get the insider look. She adds that a very few actors 'get a map written for them by Joan Didion'. And so between Joan’s point of view and Dee’s point of view, there wasn’t a whole lot for her to do 'except just ground down'.
This year, the lineup of 118 feature-length films at Sundance, includes 44 first-time filmmakers and is among the most diverse in the festival’s 37-year history. In the four competition categories, 46% of the directors are women, 38% are people of color and 12% are LGBTQ.
When asked if Hollywood is also witnessing this fast change, Hathaway brushes away the subject and says "I think the key is not to get lost in those in-between moments, not to panic. It’s happening. No, it’s not happening fast enough. Things are good. Things could get better. Let’s keep going. Let’s not panic and let’s keep talking about it."
The Last Thing He Wanted will debut on Netflix on 21 February.
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