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Interstellar - Anne Hathaway and Jessica Chastain interview

Interstellar

Compiled by Ann Lee and Rob Carnevale

ANNE Hathaway and Jessica Chastain talk about the appeal of their characters, and some of the demands of playing them, in Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar. They were speaking at a UK press conference.

Q. Anne, why is Matthew a great person to travel through space with?
Anne Hathaway: It’s a real pleasure to work with someone who knows how to take their work seriously but also has a real light touch. Matthew never lost focus, he never lost his connection to why we were there but that doesn’t mean we didn’t laugh. He’s full of amazing stories. He’s someone who’s lived a wonderful and varied life so I loved hearing those tales. He’s a kind person. So, [a] fantastic actor [and a] fantastic man. What more could you want? Shame he’s so unattractive though.

Q. Jessica, what was it like working with Christopher Nolan on Interstellar?
Jessica Chastain: I don’t normally do big movies. I’m new to this world. And I’ve always been afraid that jumping onto a big budget film, you would lose the relationships in favour of special effects. But the great thing about working with Chris is that it’s all practical sets so you actually have things to react to as an actor, which is awesome! There’s no green screen. They were chucking dust in my face every day. There was real corn that they grew and even what Matthew [McConaughey] said… it was so quick. We’d do three or four takes and he’d just let me get it out of my system, try what I wanted to rather than impose on me something that wasn’t natural and there was a very delicate hand. He would come over and say just one sentence – like towards the end he said to me: “This is her Zen.” And with that tiny little exquisite note would open up my performance in a way that I never imagined. So, as incredible as the technical and visual aspects are, you never lose the emotional component.

Q. Anne, your character is both a hero and a role model. Is there anything in particular you envied or admired about him?
Anne Hathaway: When I first read the screenplay, I didn’t totally understand my character and I didn’t for some time. Without revealing anything, something happens to her in the movie that I was just thinking about – it’s one of the things that changes you. And then all of a sudden she made sense to me as someone who goes through a journey. I believe she goes through a journey from arrogance and fear to humility and openness. I think anybody who has the courage to go on that kind of journey deserves my respect.

Q. And Jessica?
Jessica Chastain: I admired the scientific discovery, of course, that she makes. But more so, I admire a person who is able to overcome their own ideas.

Q. Jessica, can you comment on the rumours that Anne Hathaway is a nightmare to work with?
Jessica Chastain: Anne Hathaway is so nice and anyone who says things like that are bullies and they’re mean. She’s so nice, she’s so talented, she’s intelligent, generous, a beautiful person and I hope to work with her again and again and again.

Q. Anne, how did you cope with shooting in Iceland in those suits and dealing with what must have been quite slippery surfaces?
Anne Hathaway: I loved the space suit. From the first moment I put it on, I lit up and felt like a kid. I was so happy. But it was challenging. But that also became another part of the reason I liked it. You had to earn the right to wear it and in my first fitting after I started wearing it, I thought: “This is heavy and starting to pinch my shoulders.” And I realised that I wasn’t going to be able to slack off in the gym. I was initially like: “Woo hoo, I’m not wearing a cat-suit in this one, I can eat!” But I did have to work out just as hard just to be able to stand up in the spacesuit and make it through the days in it. But that’s what you love about it – the inherent challenges. But it meant that the suit became its own character. They’re not easy; they’re not easy in real life… there would be moments where you had to get your helmet off, or your glove off, and it would stick and you’d have to react to it in the moment. So, I felt like it raised my instincts.

Read our review of Interstellar

Read our interview with director Christopher Nolan