Anne Hathaway And Jason Sudeikis Will Totally Judge You Based On Your ‘Colossal’ Opinion

Anne Hathaway has had to deal with an unusual amount of internet scorn – certainly more than average for someone in her position. In my brief encounters with her during interview situations, she’s always been funny, gracious (in that it’s obvious she’s putting a lot of thought into her answers as opposed to just giving canned answers) and shockingly self-aware. In 2014, she bluntly told me, “My impression is that people needed a break from me,” and I was completely unprepared to respond to that and didn’t really say much back and I’ve regretted that. When we dove into the themes of her new film, Colossal, we talked about all this again and, yes, she has very strong opinions about this subject.

In Nacho Vigalondo’s Colossal – opening on April 7, it’s a movie that has garnered extreme reactions from people who have seen it – Hathaway plays Gloria, a woman who has to return to her hometown after losing her job as (yes) an internet writer in New York City. When she returns home, she’s reunited with her childhood friend, Oscar (Jason Sudeikis), and things seem to go well at first, but then they start to spiral out of control as the movie goes to some dark, sinister places, one of them being that Gloria realizes she has the power to become a Godzilla-type monster that wrecks havoc in Japan. That’s led some to refer to Colossal as the “Anne Hathaway kaiju movie,” a sentence Hathaway absolutely adores.

I met Hathaway and Sudeikis in Midtown Manhattan at a brand spankin’ new hotel I didn’t even know existed until this moment. Ahead, Hathaway and Sudeikis discuss the themes of Colossal, which range from, yes, kaiju, to men’s rights activists, to the online hate directed at women.

(When I entered the room, I think it’s impossible for Sudeikis and myself to not discuss the SNL “Potato Chip” sketch, even though we have already covered that at length. But I did enjoy watching Sudeikis try to explain it to Hathaway.)

Jason Sudeikis: [To Hathaway] We’re from the same hometown. We have a mutual love for a thing that I was in, but very much a fan of. Did you ever see the sketch “Potato Chip” that Will Forte and I did?

Anne Hathaway: No

I want to hear you try to describe this.

Sudeikis: Yeah. It’s like a small version of this movie. I’ll send you the link. The sketch was like a Tennessee Williams play. When I read it, I was like, this is amazing. And we play it with no wink whatsoever. It’s just all melodrama.

Hathaway: And it’s about a potato chip?

Well, Jason plays a Colonel Sanders-type character who is at a job interview for NASA…

Hathaway: Was that like the 12:53 a.m. sketch?

Sudeikis: Oh yeah.

Before anyone had seen this movie at the Toronto Film Festival it was being described as the “Anne Hathaway Godzilla movie.”

Hathaway: I was so proud of that. Because you can’t help it: you’re having your coffee in the morning and, if you’re in Toronto, if it’s about a film that you’re in and someone’s just like, “Uh, people are talking about the Anne Hathaway kaiju movie.” And I was like, “Yes!” Not that people are talking about it, but just that that sentence exists.

I had never heard that sentence before.

Hathaway: I’m just happy that that is a real sentence in my career.

We’re not used to seeing you in something like a genre movie. And even though this movie has so many dark elements, you look like you’re having the time of your life.

Hathaway: Well, I was! And I was pregnant – so I was literally like tap dancing on a cloud every day, full of life. But no, people’s reaction to this – people coming up to me saying, “We’re not used to seeing you like this,” has made me realize that we don’t know each other very well. Because if you know me, you know that this is probably the closest to me.

You should do more movies like this.

Hathaway: There aren’t many to do.

Okay, fair enough. There are no movies quite like this.

Hathaway: You know? I love movies and I love being in movies. Not every movie I make speaks to my own personal ethos. this is one of the closest to that: to my personal outlook on life, personality, sense of humor. This is probably the most like me. That along with probably Rachel Getting Married.

There was a Twitter meme going around listing the best movie of every year you’ve been alive. I saw Rachel Getting Married in that 2008 slot many, many times.

Hathaway: Oh, God, thank you for telling me that. It means a lot. And this movie has a connection to that movie, because I was in a little bit of an artistic rut before I read this script. And Jonathan Demme is sort of like my artistic godfather on this planet. And I just was hanging out with him and he’s like, “Come and see this screening of A Field in England by Ben Wheatley. Just come to see it.” And it just energized me and I was like, I’ve got to make a movie like that. I’ve got to own who I am and be weird and explore this and just be creative for the sake of being creative. And then this one came across my path.

There’s not a lot of middle ground with the reaction to Colossal. People either love it or they are not on board with it at all.

Hathaway: I don’t want to hog the interview. Do you mind if I take this one though?

Sudeikis: No, please, go.

Hathaway: It was interesting because I think people’s reaction to this movie tell you a lot about who they are. And so we were just doing some television interviews and two people in a row came in and said, “Anne Hathaway, you play a mess in this.” And a journalist just came in and said, “You play someone who’s struggling.” I can tell you, I have more in common with that – I’m more interested in that person’s outlook on life than I am the people who wanted to label Gloria as a mess. To that end, a man came in and said, “Could you say that this is a female revenge movie?” And I don’t feel that way about that – and I thought that his word choice, the fact that it resonated with him on that level, said more about him than the film.

In journalist circles during Toronto, there was a theory that your reaction to this film deciphers if you’re woke or not.

Sudeikis: Yeah. I mean, I think that’s fair. And Anne said this several times this morning, and I agree with it, that it’s a movie that you can go and watch and just enjoy as a monster movie, as a kaiju movie. And not to put ourselves in such lovely circles, but like Get Out — and having just finally got to see it recently, it was a very similar thing where you can take this movie at a very simple level. Or you can probably go, knowing Jordan Peele for a long time, at the depths that he intended it. And he’s also a lover of the genre and film in general, the medium. So it’s all in there, and Nacho has that same thing. But I think that’s why it’s as interesting to talk about as it is to listen to people talk about this movie.

Hathaway: And listen, I don’t think we want to be fascists. You know, if you don’t like our movie, it’s cool. However, I do think the reasons people give for why they don’t like it is very telling. And if you don’t like it because you don’t get why “the nice guy had to be portrayed as a villain,” then yeah, you’re probably not woke. You know? And that’s fine, and that’s fine. It just means I’m not leaving my son alone with you. [Laughs.]

And I want to make it clear I’m not saying, “Well, I like it, ergo…” I have no judgment on if I’m woke or not. That’s for other people to decide. But this was a topic discussed I thought was interesting.

Hathaway: This is a very woke thing for you to say.

Jason’s character does represent the “nice guy” on the internet who doesn’t get why he’s being rejected then resorts to harassment.

Sudeikis: Yeah. I mean, you know, Nacho and I spoke about men’s rights activists, MRA, and we spoke about Gamergate. This is stuff that I knew about, and the alt-right.

Which is very much part of our lives now.

Sudeikis: And it wasn’t two years ago. It was out there for those that knew where to look or were feeling pain, so they sought it out. Oddly, when we were up at Toronto we were just before the election, looking at each other going, “Boy, this thing, talk about the timing.”

Hathaway: What’s been interesting to me: The reception at Toronto was electric and the reception out of South By Southwest was so loving. And yet, people still have a question like will this movie resonate with audiences? And I read several times how will gamers, how will fanboys feel about this movie? And I just thought to myself, but over 50 percent of people who use video games are women. So what about fangirls? What about girl gamers? What about them? Why are they not a part of your projection for who’s going to like something? You know, I hate getting asked, ”Why was it important for you to make this movie?” I never know how to answer that. I never even know how to broach that question. But, in this case, it is important for movies like this to be made because of the subsequent conversations that can lead you to a new place.

Sudeikis: It’s creating its own mythology though. Like I can understand the fanboys thing…

Hathaway: And also, there are fangirls. And what out there is for them? And it’s cool to be a woke fanboy.

Sudeikis: One hundred percent.

Hathaway: Cool, anybody – be woke! I’m a little nervous about the fact that I just said, “Be woke,” so emphatically in front of a microphone.

Well, it will be in print.

Sudeikis: It reads cornier than the intention.

Hathaway: It does. Please know that…

Sudeikis: Italicize. Italicize!

With a big exclamation point.

Hathaway: Please put, “Hathaway felt self-conscious.”

And I’ll make sure to have that be the headline.

Hathaway: [Laughs.] “Immediately after that sentence…” Such as it is when you live part of your life in front of a microphone.

I spoke to you at Sundance in 2014. I remarked you hadn’t been in a movie in awhile and it was good to see you. You said back, “My impression is that people needed a break from me.” I wasn’t expecting that answer and didn’t have a good reply. But I’ve thought about it a lot, and the long Oscar season has a lot to do with that, right? Like if Casey Affleck started doing a bunch of press right now? Does that make sense?

Hathaway: On a lot of levels.

Like if Damien Chazelle was like, “The La La Land Blu-ray is coming out, I better get out there and promote it…”

Hathaway: Believe me, I’m loath to discuss this, but I think it would be irresponsible of me to say at this point: Yes, it’s a common thing for people to be openly hostile to each other via the internet to people they’ve never met.


Hathaway: And I think I received a very particular slice of that pie. I don’t think that I’m special, and I was kind of out there in front on that one.

That’s fair. And I’ve interviewed you a couple of times and in those brief interactions you have always been nice and certainly don’t come off as someone who thinks you’re special.

Hathaway: But I do appreciate the kindness behind you telling me that story and telling me the thing about Casey or Damien, and I do think that that is an aspect of it, and I really appreciate you saying that.

Because I was thrown off at the time and I didn’t have a good comeback, because I wasn’t expecting you to say that. So it’s been in my mind since 2014…

Hathaway: [Laughs.] Well, it was probably more in my mind than it was in yours.

I cannot wait for Oceans Eight. I know that’s not a question.

Sudeikis: Yeah. I mean, what a group of talented people.

Hathaway: It was so much fun. People have asked me, they’re like, “How’s it going to be?” I’m like, “It doesn’t matter, and it’s going to be great. And it doesn’t matter, but it’s going to be great.”

I hate asking about future movies, because it’s like, ”Ooh, do they pull off the heist?” Like, I don’t want to know that. I don’t want to know what happens.

Hathaway: I can’t tell you, but there are some pretty [whispering] it’s fabulous.

Is the style different than what we saw out of the Eleven movies?

Hathaway: You’ll just, you’ll thank me later if I don’t say anything now. All I’ll say is it’s a real thrill to look up and see a train full of queens standing there, you know?

And in three years, next time I interview you, I’ll be like, “You know what? Back in 2017, you told me I would thank you, and you were right. And I’m here to thank you.”

Hathaway: [Laughs.] I don’t have any power over it, but I keep asking them to release it earlier just because I want to see it. I’m like, do we really have to wait until next summer?

I bet you could throw some weight around and get it out like in a month.

Hathaway: No, no. Please. Among those ladies, I am not the weight-thrower. [Laughs.] I’m just happy to be there, writing in my journal every night, take a lot of selfies.

You can contact Mike Ryan directly on Twitter.