Anne Hathaway On Working With Director Jonathan Demme

It’s been a sad day for cinema lovers with the passing of director Jonathan Demme, best known for the films The Silence of the Lambs, Philadelphia, Stop Making Sense, and more recently Ricki and the Flash (my appreciation for that film is posted on Deepest Dream). To hear Anne Hathaway talk about how Demme influenced her as a person and artist, check out the audio below.

I asked Hathaway about her collaboration with Demme during the press day for Song One (Demme produced that film and directed Hathaway in Rachel Getting Married). The audio (if you want to skip my ramblings on Demme, just fast forward to 3:09) as well as the Hathaway transcript is below:

“I think one of the things I love so much about JD is he has the best taste of any artist I know but he’s not a snob. He really is so open to all experiences and there will be a movie that people will herald and he’ll call me and say ‘Ehh it didn’t speak to me’ and he’ll call me about a movie that everyone else is just having a field day kicking and he’ll say ‘oh I just loved it!’ He does not care about what other people think about that. He is 100% original and that is such a rare and valuable thing.

In terms of one of the things that I got from him, I was telling him about this idea for something that I had but I felt like it was derivative and I turned to him and I said ‘Can a piece of art truly be great and worthwhile if it’s not 100% original and what did he say to me because the wording is so important – he just looked at me and he said ‘No – (he said) prophecy ain’t in the DNA we all have to tell the stories again and again otherwise they won’t come down. And it was just the idea that the stories that we have we have them because they’ve been given to us and it’s our job not necessarily to reinvent the wheel but to make sure the next generation just gets the wheel in the best and truest way that we have. I felt, and I was 25 when he told me that –  it took this great burden off of me from this idea that not only (does your work have to be) worthwhile and hopefully have merit, but that it (also) had to be original. The idea that you could start off and work your way up to something bigger.” – Anne Hathaway

For more info on Demme’s body of work, check out this comprehensive Rolling Stone article.

If you have your own personal thoughts on Demme’s films, feel free to comment below. There’s a ton of his work I still haven’t checked out (Stop Making Sense and Last Embrace are at the top of my list), so would definitely love to hear some thoughts/insight on this late and great filmmaker.