Anne Hathaway: She's never been to rehab. Can we trust her?

I remember feeling pretty bad for Anne Hathaway (this one, not this one -- you know, the one that wasn't married to Shakespeare) two years ago, when pretty much everyone associated with Brokeback Mountain got nominated for an Oscar ... save for her, Randy Quaid (in what more or less amounted to a cameo), and, like, that one really unconvincing horse (you know the one). Ledger, Gyllenhaal, Michelle Williams -- the gang was almost-all there, 'cept the Academy decided to throw down all cold-ass and Sesame Street-style, and be like, "One of these things doesn't belong here ..."

Of course, it might be argued that Hathaway's feisty-cowgirl, plat-blonde descent was the least emotionally demanding (or the briefest, at least) of the four principal roles (and besides, that was the year the AMPAS folks went nutso and voted Crash for Best Picture). Still, though: Even if you're not best friends with the birthday kid, nobody wants to be the one classmate not invited to the party, y'know?

If you haven't yet seen Brokeback for whatever reason you may have caught A-Hath (which nickname I just coined this second -- you're welcome) in last year's The Devil Wears Prada. I didn't. Heard it's less-than-horrid, though, and from the cursory Youtubin' I've done on its behalf, it sorta seems like that may be the case. (The second-most interesting thing about The Devil Wears Prada: It's also the name of a band. G'head, guess what kind. Seriously, come on, guess. Yep: Christian metalcore. That makes me smile, because the world is a fun place. [Alas, it appears they're named after the book, not the film.])

I digress. (Mightily and often.)

The main reason I've got Anne on the brain: her upcoming, grown-uppy period-piece, Becoming Jane, the presumed story of Jane Austen's youthful, pre-Entourage days and her love affair with a strapping, mannered-yet-bold Irish fella, which inspired her stories of, you know, love affairs with strapping, mannered-yet-bold British fellas.

I'm somehow a bit intrigued by this flick. (Let's forget, though, the title -- don't get me started on screenwriters who slap on a gerund or the word "American" and wash their hands of the matter.) Onboard: erstwhile Mr. Tumnus James McAvoy, who's gradually outing himself as one of the most profoundly affecting young actors around; Julian Jarrold, who directed the enjoyable Kinky Boots; James Cromwell, the largest Oscar-nominated man in the whole world ever; and, because it's a British-set corsets-and-petticoats movie, Dame Maggie Smith. (Julie Walters, too.)

Mostly, though, I'm interested to see what Hathaway can do. I don't really have an opinion yet: Brokeback's really the only full film of hers I've seen, but I keep hearing she's got all this talent -- that she can sing, that she was a veritable child prodigy. I'll bite. Jane looks to be her next big stab at emerging from the pack of big-eyed ingenues/floozies -- potentially her first real "adult" lead role, if you don't count the Stephen Gaghan-co-scripted, "will-you-please-take-the-Princess-Diaries-headshot-off-my-Imdb-page" effort Havoc. Also on the horizon: She's universal Nick-At-Nite crush Agent 99 to Steve Carell's Maxwell Smart (whatacast!).

Godspeed, A-Hath.

(Vegetarians = cool.)


Brian Villalobos lives in Austin, Texas (practically), writes on film and TV, and totally cried at Stuart Little.

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