Anne Hathaway Moved to Amazon to Make a Romantic-Comedy

As a movie star, Anne Hathaway’s stock in trade was modern-day fairy tales like The Princess Diaries and romantic comedies like Bride Wars and Valentine’s Day. You could even make a case that The Devil Wears Prada is a Cinderella story. Her Amazon Prime original series Modern Love fits in with those themes, but what’s surprising is that Hathaway says it’s hard to tell those stories as movies at all these days.

Anne Hathaway
Anne Hathaway of ‘Modern Love’ | David Livingston/Getty Images

Hathaway was on a Modern Love panel for the Television Critics Association today. Modern Love is an anthology series where each episode tells a brand new love story with a new cast, some more comedic and others more bittersweet. Here’s why she had to turn to streaming to return to rom-coms, and more about the character she plays. Modern Love premieres October 18 on Amazon Prime. 

‘Modern Love’ is Anne Hathaway’s homecoming to rom-com

The romantic comedy used to be a staple of Hollywood. Couples need date movies to go to, and rom-coms made stars of not only Hathaway, but Julia Roberts, Meg Ryan, Sandra Bullock, Hugh Grant and many more. Where have they gone?

“It was exciting because I love romantic stories, and I don’t see them in the cineplexes that much right now,” Hathaway said. “I think that a lot of it just speaks to how fractured our time has become. I think we all identify with feeling busier than we ever have.  And it’s just that question of what’s going to get you to the movie theater? What is worth the time to have a cinematic experience.”

Modern Love cast
(L-R) Gary Carr, Anne Hathaway and Cristin Milioti of ‘Modern Love’ |David Livingston/Getty Images

Modern Love is here to fill the void left by a dearth of rom-coms in theaters.

“I think with some of these more intimate stories, people have realized that they can still get a lot out of them by staying at home,” Hathaway said. “So I think that’s probably why they’ve gone that way.  I’m grateful because I’m very happy that they didn’t become extinct. Don’t get me wrong.  I love watching a superhero fall in love as much as the next person, but this is a different way to tell a love story.”

‘Modern Love’ knows you know the boy meets girl formula

Romantic comedies can be great comfort food because we know they’re going to have a happy ending. Modern Love can shake up the format a little by condensing its stories into half an hour. Since it’s an anthology, they don’t all have to end the same.

Anne Hathaway
Anne Hathaway of ‘Modern Love’ | David Livingston/Getty Images

“It felt incredibly modern to tell a story because I think we know the ins and outs of romantic films so well we’re almost ahead of them,” Hathaway said. “I’m not sure that the three-act structure is as satisfying to us as it was even 20 years ago.  So, for me, it was really exciting because it was a way for me to tell a genre of story that I love telling that I don’t really get to tell anymore in a way that felt really fresh.”

‘Modern Love’ is a short film that’ll play in millions of homes

Filming her episode of Modern Love just felt like a week on a film set for Hathaway. Were she to make a short film, it might play at film festivals and that’s it. Making a 30-minute film for Amazon, Hathaway knew as many people would see it as would see her movies.

Modern Love cast
(L-R) Gary Carr, Anne Hathaway and Cristin Milioti of ‘Modern Love’ | David Livingston/Getty Images

“I felt like I was showing up to an eight-day film shoot,” Hathaway said. “I was really happy because of Amazon being a streaming platform and a popular one, I knew people were going to see it. I’m not exactly sure what this is. I know technically it’s a TV show, but it feels like this other thing at the same time, which felt very new and fresh to me, and it was exciting.”

Anne Hathaway describes her ‘Modern Love’ episode ‘Take Me As I Am’

Hathaway’s episode of Modern Love has the title Take Me As I Am. She plays Lexi, a woman coping with bipolar disorder, based on Terri Cheney, the author of Manic.  

“I think if we’re honest with ourselves, a lot of us have to learn that we’re worth loving,” Hathaway said. “I think that’s a journey a lot of people go on whether or not you have bipolar disorder. I imagine having bipolar disorder makes it that much more difficult to imagine that someone wants to take you on.”

Anne Hathaway of ‘Modern Love’ |David Livingston/Getty Images

Lexi’s specific situation will speak to a lot of viewers in a similar one. There is also a universal quality to Lexi’s story.

“She talks about just needing one person, just one person to accept all of her,” Hathaway said. “That’s really what we all, I think, want. She doesn’t get it from the person that, I think, any of us expect her to get it from in the beginning of the episode. But that one person giving her the space, being patient, being compassionate, and being a true, loving person in her life changes everything for her.  It gives her hope and gives her a future.”

Anne Hathaway returned to the location of ‘The Devil Wears Prada’

Okay, a lot of movies film in New York, and Hathaway also filmed there for Ocean’s Eight and The Intern. But New York was entwined with the fashion world of Devil Wears Prada, and now it’s the scene of Hathaway’s Modern Love romance.

“New York being such a romantic place,” Hathaway said. “We always say the same thing, it’s its own character, but it really, really is. One of the things that I loved about these stories is even though they are intimate, they still have that vastness to them because of that aspect of the cinematic experience, how great things can look.”