Hello, readers! Editor Andrew here! I felt it best to introduce this interview in first person, because I’ve known this particular subject for – well, longer than I care to mention. And I’m sure Annie “Anne” Hathaway wouldn’t want you to know that we met dangerously close to a dumpster. The horror! (But, seriously, she was moving into her dorm at college when I stumbled by and thrust myself upon her, the way I start all my serious relationships.)
Anyway, Hathaway’s currently in Los Angeles, where she’ll receive the Human Rights Campaign’s Ally Award. Rumor has it HRC has a hit out on me, so I unfortunately wasn’t able attend this evening’s festivities. Luckily, Hathaway made some time yesterday to have a chat with me, to whom she’s always been quite the ally.
We touched on some predictable topics, but I also threw her for a loop with some curve balls. For example, “Should Sally Kern be censured?” and “Does Hollywood condone the closet?”
Hathaway handled herself like a pro, of course and I offer Annie many thanks for being a friend. We’ve traveled down that road and back again. Her heart is true. She’s a pal and a confidant. And if Annie Hathaway threw a party, invited everyone she knew, you would see that the biggest gift would be from me. And the card attached would say, “Thank you for being a friend.”
Now that I’ve proven my gayness by quoting the Golden Girls theme, dive into that there jump and read what Hathaway had to say for her pretty self…
[Image by Jeremy Kost]
Andrew Belonsky: So, Ms. H, you are in Los Angeles now to receive the HRC Ally Award?
Anne Hathaway: Yes.
AB: What makes you a gay ally?
AH: Um, oh gosh. I think because I make no secret of my beliefs – I don’t think love is a political thing. I don’t think marriage is something in which the government should have any say. I think that’s primarily the reason, but also because I love and have total acceptance of the gay community. And, like I said, I’ve never kept that a secret.
AB: Do you think that celebrities really influence public opinion?
AH: I don’t think celebrities influence public opinion, but I do think celebrities influence what people are talking about. You know, if you are well known and you have an interest in something, you can at least bring it to other people’s attention. To look at a completely unrelated thing, The OC – in that period, Death Cab for Cutie went from being an underground thing to this widely popular band amongst a younger generation. That show wasn’t telling them to like it, it was just saying, “Here’s music that we like”. Maybe it’s not an influence on public opinion, but I do think celebrity endorsement does count for something.
AB: Do you feel like you always have to monitor what you’re saying?
AH: Um, not if I really believe in something, but I do edit things! I was just having a conversation with [Get Smart co-star] Steve Carell about this the other day – about how when we speak in interviews, we try to imagine what it’s going to look like in print. Sometimes that keeps you from being as spontaneous and as free as you might like. In my case, it curbs my sense of humor, because a lot of times things that I say are a little sarcastic and that doesn’t really come out well in print! But I do always say what I mean, but occasionally I’ll avoid talking about something if I want to keep it private.
AB: Do you remember when you first knew about gay people and what “gay” was?
AH: Oh, yes. Well, the first people to come visit my mom in the hospital after I was born were her friends, Sydney and Jack and – well, at that point they had been in a committed relationship for a few years, now they’ve been in a relationship I think for over thirty years – so they were family friends. When my parents explained what sex was to me, I didn’t really – it didn’t occur to me to ask, “Well, what about other people?” But then I think as I got older, maybe around five and six, I began to say, “Sidney and Jack kiss. How does that factor in?” And my parents said, “Well, sometimes men love men and women love women and sometimes they love both,” so there was definitely an awareness of it, but my parents had such a relaxed, low-key and definitely accepting attitude, I never realized that it was anything controversial.
AB: When did you learn that it was controversial?
AH: I think probably around middle school, when people start throwing around things like “Gay,” or “You’re so gay” or “You’re a faggot.” And I remember not understanding what they were trying to say by that and being weirded out by people who would say things like that. I would always speak up and people would usually tell me to “lighten up,” but I still don’t think that’s the right attitude to take.