Anne Hathaway Talks About Her Judy Garland Project

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Anne Hathaway discussed her oft-delayed Judy Garland film earlier today, citing the project’s “sensitive” nature as the primary reason for its slow development.  According to BBC News (via an interview the actress did with BBC Radio Four’s Front Row), Hathaway said of the film:

“It’s a very sensitive project and there have been so many stories told about her life that we’re really trying to get it right.  So we’ve taking our time with it. I know it seems like it’s sort of an endless process but it’s very, very slow incremental steps.  I had a meeting about it a couple of weeks ago and we’re all very motivated.”

For more on the project and to find out what the Oscar-nominated actress had to say about singing in the film, hit the jump.  Hathaway can currently be seen alongside Jake Gyllenhaal in Love and Other Drugs (a role for which she has been nominated for a Golden Globe).  She will also co-host the 83rd Annual Academy Awards with James Franco.

anne_hathaway_imageDuring the interview, Hathaway said she hoped that production on the film would begin in the next two years.  She also discussed the challenge of singing as the iconic Garland, saying:

“I certainly don’t sing like Judy Garland but the talk is to have me do the singing.  But I think people might cry murder if they don’t get to hear Judy’s beloved voice so the talk is for me to sing but I don’t know if that’s exactly what will happen.”

Hathaway’s involvement in the Garland project dates all the way back to 2009.  At that time, producer Harvey Weinstein claimed that the film would be based on the 2001 book by Gerald Clarke, Get Happy: The Life of Judy Garland.  A New York Times bestseller, Clarke’s book utilizes hundreds of interviews and over ten years of preparation in telling of one of America’s most beloved entertainers.

Here is an extensive synopsis of Clarke’s book [from his website]:

Judy Garland. The girl with the pigtails, the symbol of innocence in The Wizard of Oz. Judy Garland. The brightest star of the Hollywood musical and an entertainer of almost magical power. Judy Garland. The woman of a half-dozen comebacks, a hundred heartbreaks, and countless thousands of headlines. Yet much of what has previously been written about her is either false or incomplete, and the Garland the world thought it knew was merely a sketch for the astonishing woman Gerald Clarke portrays in Get Happy. Here, more than thirty years after her death, is the real Judy.

Toward the end of her life, Garland tried to tell her own story, talking into a tape recorder for hours at a time. With access to those recordings-and to her unfinished manuscript, which offers a revelation on almost every page-Clarke is able to tell Judy’s story as she herself might have told it. “It’s going to be one hell of a great, everlastingly great book, with humor, tears, fun, emotion and love,” Judy promised of the autobiography she did not live to complete. But she might just as well have been describing Get Happy. For here at last-told with humor, tears, fun, emotion and love-is the true, unforgettable story of Judy Garland.

To tell her story, Clarke took ten years, traveled thousands of miles across two continents, conducted hundreds of interviews, and dug through mountains of documents, many of which were unavailable to other biographers. In a Tennessee courthouse, he came across a thick packet of papers, unopened for ninety years, that laid out the previously hidden background of Judy’s beloved father, Frank Gumm. In California, he found the unpublished memoir of Dorothy Ponedel, Judy’s makeup woman and closest confidante, a memoir centered almost entirely on Judy herself. Get Happy is, however, more than the story of one woman, remarkable as she was. It is a saga of a time and a place that now seem as far away, and as clouded in myth and mystery, as Camelot-the golden age of Hollywood. Combining a novelist’s skill and a movie director’s eye, Clarke re-creates that era with cinematic urgency, bringing to vivid life the unforgettable characters who played leading roles in the unending drama of Judy Garland: Louis B. Mayer, the patriarch of the world’s greatest fantasy factory, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Arthur Freed, the slovenly producer who revolutionized the movie musical and gave Judy her best and most enduring parts. Sexy Lana Turner, Judy’s friend and idol, who had a habit of trying to snatch away any man Judy expressed interest in.

And what men they were! Oscar Levant, the wit’s wit, whose one-liners could all but kill. Artie Shaw, whose sweet and satiny clarinet had a whole nation dancing. Handsome Tyrone Power, who caused millions of hearts to pound every time he looked out from the screen with his understanding eyes. Orson Welles, Hollywood’s boy genius and the husband of a movie goddess, Rita Hayworth. Brainy Joe Mankiewicz, who knew everything there was to know about women, but who confessed that he was baffled by Judy. Vincente Minnelli, who showed what wonders Judy could perform in front of a camera and who fathered her first child, Liza-but who also, with an act of shocking betrayal, caused her first suicide attempt. Charming, brawling Sid Luft, who gave her confidence, then took it away. And the smooth and seductive David Begelman, who stole her heart so he could steal her money.

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  • Joyce

    Here’s hoping Zac Efron plays Tyrone Power.

  • Don

    Anne Hathaway hosted Saturday Night Live on November 21, 2010. One of the sketches was a spoof on “The Wizard of Oz.” I was shocked! Anne looks exactly like Judy Garland at the age of 17 when Judy made the movie. Anne talks like Judy, has Judy’s body movements and, yes, her singing sounds like Judy. If anybody has any doubts that Anne should play Judy Garland in this film, I challenge them to watch this sketch. Anne will win an Oscar!

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