A determinedly bizarre, psychologically inquisitive and in the end rather wonderful black comedy.
In her bizarre new comedy ‘Colossal’ Anne Hathaway plays Gloria, an alcoholic writer who develops a psychic bond with a Godzilla-like monster on the other side of the world. The stage is set for a smart social satire tackling everything from toxic masculinity to consequence-free online culture. So what drove this successful movie star to take a gamble on such an oddball project?
What was it about ‘Colossal’ that spoke to you?
‘I liked the alchemy of grounded and absurd, dark and silly. It reminded me of some of my favourite aspects of life! And my character Gloria, I felt like I knew her, I felt like I’d been her at certain moments.’
She’s more nuanced than your average Hollywood heroine…
‘I liked that her thoughtlessness, her self-destruction and self-absorption didn’t necessarily make her a bad person. Lately I’ve been interested in getting out of the binary of good and bad, letting things be a little harder to pin down, a little more uncomfortable. Since starting to explore that, many parts of my life have become much more interesting!’
Did people advise you against making a film so wilfully strange?
‘No one looked at this and said “oh, what a brilliant career move”! But everyone understood that I was doing it for me. When you put forward ideas that don’t fit the mould, that lean away from the formula, there’s a tendency to assume audiences won’t understand them. But people are willing to go with it if you have a good entry point.’
Anne Hathaway in ‘Colossal’
‘I’m 34 now, but in my career I couldn’t be happier’
As someone who’s been the victim of online attacks, did you respond to this idea of being able to wound people thousands of miles away?
‘It made the movie timely, this idea of facelessness, of a lack of consequence. We’re all dissociating a lot right now, and this is about someone waking up from their dissociation. The internet is a reflection of us, we’re creating it. It’s possible we’re just creating a really creepy basement right now. Maybe we haven’t been playing with it long enough.’
Do you feel things are changing for women in your business, both in terms of creative opportunities and of stories?
‘That question depends a lot on age and race, so it’s hard to give a blanket answer. But for me personally, yes. I was told to fear approaching my mid-thirties because everything would dry up. I’m 34 now, but in my career I couldn’t be happier. And I think that’s because of changing acceptance.’
A movie this unusual probably wouldn’t have been made, at least not on this scale, without your involvement. Is that a good feeling?
‘The fact I was able to get people to invest money in a strange, small movie, I’m so thrilled. Part of the reason I wanted to make it was because I never see movies like this. I would be the first one to buy a ticket if I wasn’t in it.’
Was it as much fun to make as it is to watch?
‘Oh, yeah! It was the best time in my life. Jason (Sudeikis) and I were already friends. (Director) Nacho Vigalondo is just this human party. And I was pregnant. I was doing what I loved, I was going to be a mom, it was just amazing.’
‘Colossal’ is in UK cinemas May 19.