Hathaway plays ex-junkie in new family drama

Wed Sep 3, 2008 10:02am EDT
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By Silvia Aloisi

VENICE (Reuters) - Actress Anne Hathaway takes on an unusually dark role as a former drug addict returning home for her sister's wedding in "Rachel Getting Married," a new film about a dysfunctional family haunted by the death of a child.

Tensions explode as family and friends gather under the same roof for a weekend of celebrations, with Oscar-winning director Jonathan Demme building up the contrast between the household's painful history and preparations for the happy event.

Hathaway, best known for her roles in "The Princess Diaries" and "The Devil Wears Prada," stepped away from fairytale and comedy to play Kym, a young woman tortured by guilt who has spent the past 10 years in and out of rehabilitation centers.

Her sharp tongue and confrontational attitude serve as the catalyst for the family drama to unfold, particularly as she is forced to face her sister Rachel and her own past.

"It was so much fun to be the combustible element in a scene. I have never played a character like this before," Hathaway said after a press screening on Wednesday at the Venice film festival, where the film is in the main competition.

"It's kind of fun to be the centre of the turmoil ... I enjoyed playing so many of my roles but Kym was definitely by far the most complex.

"I really admired her, and her struggle, and the fact that she is a girl fighting for a place in her family," she told a news conference.

"Rachel," written by film director Sidney Lumet's daughter Jenny, uses long, loosely staged scenes accompanied by live music and documentary-style camera work to create a home movie atmosphere.   Continued...

<p>U.S. actress Anne Hathaway poses during a photocall at the Venice Film Festival September 3, 2008. Hathaway stars in the movie "Rachel Getting Married" by director Jonathan Demme which is shown in the competition at the Venice Film Festival. REUTERS/Max Rossi</p>