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Anne Hathaway Brokeback Mountain Phone Call

Anne Hathaway Almost Quit Acting, But This $178 Million Movie With Heath Ledger Changed Her Career Path

Anne Hathaway’s role in Brokeback Mountain pushed her career in ways she could have never anticipated.

Anne Hathaway and Jake Gyllenhaal in Brokeback Mountain

Anne Hathaway has revealed that she was considering giving up acting before landing the role in the Oscar-nominated Brokeback Mountain alongside the late Heath Ledger.

The Devil Wears Prada actress admitted that when she was offered the role of Lureen Newsome Twist, she had almost given up on herself as an actress. “I just didn’t think I was any good and felt lost. I didn’t know how to communicate with people,” she explained.

Hathaway has also explained that she felt the pressure to perform alongside A-listers like Heath Ledger, Michelle Williams and Jake Gyllenhaal, and feared she would stand out negatively when performing against them.


“The movie was so beautiful, so perfect, I thought I would ruin it, so I left,” she explained about her role in Ang Lee’s romantic cowboy movie. “I came back just in time to see a scene where my breasts were on-screen, so that was special.”

Did Anne Hathaway Quit Acting?

Anne Hathaway arriving at the 83rd Annual Academy Awards

Despite her concerns, Anne Hathaway has never officially quit acting. She has decided to be pickier with her roles in recent years, prioritizing her family over her career.

Hathaway married jewelry designer, Adam Shulman in 2012 and shares two children with him. Since becoming a mother, Hathaway has taken a step back from Hollywood to focus on her growing family.

“The kids thing has made me a bit choosier because something has to be so excellent to spend time away from them because they’re so precious to me, and they’re the most sacred part of my life by a long shot,” she explained. She shares two sons with her husband, Jack and Jonathan.

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“So, when I do accept something it puts greater pressure on me to make it worth the time I’ve spent away from them. I’ve always felt a responsibility – with mixed results – for the audience who are going to see the project that I’m going to work on, I take it very seriously. Your time is your life and your life is worthwhile it together. And the idea that I’m asking you for your time and your money to watch me do this thing that I love to do, it has to be worth it, it really does.”

This is not the first time, Hathaway has taken a setback from the acting world, though. Due to all the attention, scrutiny and acclaim that came with her Oscar-winning performance in Les Miserables, Hathaway decided to spend less time on screen.

In 2014, when promoting Song One at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah she revealed, “My impression is that people needed a break from me,” she said. Hathaway received backlash for her enthusiastic behavior during award season.

In she admitted to The Guardian that she “kind of lost [her] mind” while filming Les Miserables, and “it hadn’t come back,” by the time she won her Best Supporting Actress Oscar.

“I felt wrong that I was standing there in a gown that cost more than some people are going to see in their lifetime, and winning an award for portraying pain that still felt very much a part of our collective experience as human beings,” she told the publication. “I tried to pretend that I was happy and I got called out on it, big time.”

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The Lie Anne Hathaway Told To Land Brokeback Mountain

Anne Hathaway in Brokeback Mountain

Anne Hathaway has admitted she told a small fib to land the role in the iconic film.

Talking about how she landed the role of Lureen Newsome Twist, the wife of closeted cowboy Jack Twist (Jake Gyllenhaal), Hathaway explained the audition process. The Oceans 8 star admitted she may have tailored her resume a little bit to impress the director, Ang Lee.

Hathaway remembered advice someone had told her as a child. “When I left the audition, the last thing Ang said was, ‘Oh, by the way, can you ride a horse?’ 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. You can learn anything in two weeks if you’re motivated enough.”

“So I’d never been on a horse, and I replied, ‘Oh yeah, I’m a really good rider.’ So I knew I had to learn to ride, and I got really, really, really good.”

Hathaway did learn to ride a horse before filming started, but perhaps not to the level required for the movie. “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.

She also explained that she auditioned for Brokeback Mountain directly after filming The Princess Diaries 2. She revealed that she still had her hair styled in a large updo that was better suited to the royal role. Hathaway decided to keep the big hair, as her Brokeback Mountain character was a rodeo queen.

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How Has Anne Hathaway’s Career Grown Since Brokeback Mountain?

Anne Hathaway Berlin Film Festival

Despite her uncertainty in the role, Brokeback Mountain would go on to be the highest-grossing release for Focus Features, earning $178 million worldwide. The film would earn 8 Oscar nominations and win 3.

After Brokeback Mountain lost the Academy Award for Best Picture to Crash, many accused the Academy of homophobia, and it is still considered one of the most controversial losses in Oscar history.

Anne Hathaway would go on to be one of the most respected and versatile actresses in Hollywood. After appearing in Brokeback Mountain, she went on to win an Oscar for her role as Fantine in Les Miserables, appeared once more with Jake Gyllenhaal in Love & Other Drugs, played Andy in the popular The Devil Wears Prada and won a Primetime Emmy Award for her voice role in The Simpsons.

Speaking on “The Jess Cagle Podcast” with Julia Cunningham, The Princess Diaries actress explained her approach to acting: “I don’t think I will ever stop learning and that means I want to work on as many different roles as I can for me the most crucial part of that approach is that I have to with the best directors who will have me. I have to do that, it’s the only way I’m going to learn.”

The actress admits she is still nervous about her skills, despite her decades of successfully working in film and TV. “I think that the day I arrive on a set and I feel like I know what I’m doing and I have nothing left to learn is the day that I should do something else. There’s opportunity everywhere. There’s always an opportunity to learn and grow.”