How Anne Hathaway’s ‘Brokeback Mountain’ Lie Was Exposed

Anne Hathaway has been in a lot of blockbuster movies during her career. From her early days as a princess to her Academy Award-winning role in the musical Les Misérables, Hathaway has proved that she has the range and depth of a talented actress. 

One of the roles she will always be remembered for is the part she played in Brokeback Mountain. But that movie, which advanced her career in important ways, could have gone to someone else. Hathaway did everything she could to land the part — even telling the director a lie. But it wasn’t long before the truth came out. 

Anne Hathaway’s career

Anne Hathaway
Anne Hathaway | Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images

Hathaway has starred in an impressive number of hit movies that range from fun comedies to heartbreaking dramas. According to Biography, the actress was born in Brooklyn in 1982. Her passion for acting led her to become the only teen ever accepted into The Barrow Group, an acting school in New York City.

Hathaway had done some acting on TV before she landed the movie role that would catapult her into fame. She starred in The Princess Diaries, and she became a household name seemingly overnight. She went on to star in The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement and Ella Enchanted before starting to move into more serious roles. 

One of the movies that signaled her ability to play a wrenching dramatic role was 2005’s groundbreaking Brokeback Mountain

‘Brokeback Mountain’ changed the cinematic landscape

RELATED: Fans Cast Anne Hathaway as She-Hulk, Because Why Not?

The opening scene of Brokeback Mountain was set in Wyoming in 1963, and it told the story of two cowboys, Jack Twist (Jake Gyllenhaal) and Ennis Del Mar (Heath Ledger) falling in love. It was a powerful story because it challenged entrenched stereotypes about gay men’s masculinity, and also because it portrayed their relationship as a tender and heartbreaking love story.

It became a huge hit, and it was a meaningful step forward for acceptance of the LGBTQ community. 

In the movie, Hathaway played the part of Lureen, a Texas rodeo queen. She marries Jack, and her emotionally complex delivery helped people see the talented actress in a new light. 

Considering that Hathaway was best known at the time for playing a princess, it was a very different role for her. Viewers felt that she pulled it off convincingly, but it turns out they weren’t the first people she fooled into believing that she was more country than she actually was. 

The lie that didn’t last

When Hathaway showed up to audition for Brokeback Mountain, she was very anxious to get the part. According to People, she had come directly from filming The Princess Diaries 2, and she still had her hair styled in a large updo for her royal role. She decided that big hair worked just as well for a rodeo queen, so she forged ahead anyway. 

Maybe it’s because she was already nervous, but when director Ang Lee asked her if she knew how to ride a horse, she assured him that she did. 

The problem? She didn’t.

Hathaway chose to believe what some important advice she’d been given. “My parents have given me a lot of gifts in my life, and one of them is: If you’re ever asked if you can do anything, say yes,” she explained. “You can learn anything in two weeks if you’re motivated enough.”

She did learn to ride a horse before filming began, but perhaps not as well as she needed to. 

“I went to a rehearsal in front of 300 extras, all of whom work in rodeos, and the horse wouldn’t do a damn thing I wanted it to. And at the end it threw me — in front of everyone,” she admitted. 

Hathaway may have had to bend the truth to land the part of Lureen, but in the end, she made it work. And the rest is movie history.