Hathaway’s Big Score?

To hear it from a trusted research-screening informant, Anne Hathaway‘s performance as Jake Gyllenhaal‘s Parkinson’s-afflicted love interest in Ed Zwick‘s Love and Other Drugs is “wonderful, really wonderful…she knocks it out of the park.” Plus their love affair, he says, is portrayed in strongly compelling terms. Resulting, he reports, in significant deep-down feeling plus some heavy love scenes with ample nudity.

Love and Other Drugs costars Jake Gyllenhaal, Anne Hathaway.

My concern here is with Zwick, a problem director who’s always emotionally overplayed this or that aspect of his films. But my informant, who saw the film last week at Pasadena’s Pacific Paseo, is, in my judgment, a sharp and reliable observer with taste. And — hello? — everyone knows the meaning of a recently Oscar-nominated actress (as Hathaway is/was for Rachel Getting Married) returning with another powerhouse performance that involves coping with a delibilitating disease.

Hathaway’s Love and Other Drugs performance, in short, sounds like the first strong contender for a 2010 Best Actress Oscar.

I don’t know when 20th Century Fox is releasing Love and Other Drugs, but I know it was shooting as recently as last November in the Pittsburgh area. The fact that it’s already being research-screened seems to indicate some kind of fast-track thinking. I would guess a fall release, perhaps beginning with Toronto/Telluride, but who knows? I wrote a couple of Fox guys about this but I guess they don’t work on weekends.

Set in the mid ’90s, the drama-with-comic-flavorings (as opposed to a full-out dramedy) is partly based on James Reidy‘s “Hard Sell: Evolution of a Viagra Salesman.” The IMDB says the script was co-written by Zwick and Marshall Herskovitz and Charles Randolph.

Gyllenhaal plays Jamie, a Jerry Maguire-ish pharmaceutical salesman on the make. Hathaway’s character, Maggie Murdock, is coping with first-stage Parkinson’s disease, and…why am I trying to be the authority here when I haven’t seen it? Here’s how my source put it — his descriptions are ragged and unfocused at times but I don’t have the knowledge to sharpen or hone.

“It’s pretty ambitious story about the mid ’90s Viagra boom and selling pharmaceuticals for Phizer. Hathaway, Hank Azaria. Oliver Platt plays Gyllenhaal’s mentor, and it’s probably the best role he’s ever had, and perhaps his best performance. He teaches Gyllenhaal the ropes, and he has a really great speech toward the end. The story line, which is basically about Gyllenhaal becoming a pharma salesman, is fairly complex. George Segal and Jill Clayburgh play his parents. Josh Gad is the fat younger brother — the Jonah Hill character.

“Gyllenhaal and Hathaway’s love affair is the main thing. Hathaway’s Maggie is coping with stage one of Parkinson’s — a very intense and interesting charatcer, well versed in her sickness. And Jake is trying to sell Viagra, and they meet and are attracted and end up having an affair.

“The script take pains to paint the Gyllenhaal character as a rake, a ladies’ man. Zwick doesn’t do that good a job in some respects. There’s a lot of bullshit Eloi humor and basically shitty schtick. Mostly about the younger brother being a fat-ass. There’s some lame orgy in the middle of it with Jake accidentally overdosing on Viagra…girls at a party cause him to swallow too much of it, and he won’t go down, resulting in priapism.

“The most exciting part of the film is their relationship. A lot of nudity, a lot of really well done lovemaking stuff, and some of it that isn’t so good. It’s hard to explain. But Hathaway really knocks it out of the park…she’s amazing, wonderful. Gyllenhaal is not as impressive, in my view. He’s good in this but he can be a cypher. He’s got a pretty narrow range. His character is a really smart guy with no drive…he could have been a doctor but he didn’t do it. He’s a good salesman but also a ladies’ man. But Hathaway dominates.

“So the relationship part is good, the pharmaceutical stuff is good. And like I said, Platt has a great speech at the end.

“Hathaway is so great she’s almost in a different movie. They movie spends some time on the Parkinson’s effects. She and Jake go to a big drug fair, and there’s an alternative convention across the street focusing on organic Parkinson’s remedies, and she goes over to this event. We see some real Parkinson’s people talking up their personal stuff the way the unemployed talked for Up In The Air. At one point she’s shown taking senior citizens across the border to get cheaper drugs in Canada.

“Hathaway is a hard case, in a sense. She doesn’t want a real love affair with anyone because she knows it’s not going to last because she’s fucked. The symptoms of stage one Parkinson’s are intermittent jitters and losing physical ability, hands shaking…she’s in that stage, and taking drugs to control that. But you’re feeling all through it that this is a must-happen relationship.

“The core of the romance is Jake’s overcoming his shallow relationship history, and Anne overcoming her emotionally aloof thing. And she’s really wonderful, absolutely wonderful.”

There’s also an IMDB guy who claimed on 2.18 that he attended the same Pacific Paseo screening. The location and date seem to align so here’s what he said:

“I don’t know what I was expecting, maybe just another idiotic rom-com, but this movie is original, funny, unbelievably sexy, and really moving. And it’s about something.

“I have to admit I’ve never been much of a Jake Gyllenhaal fan, but as a slick Viagra salesman he’s not only charming and witty, he’s also got this new warm, strong and quiet leading-man thing going.

“Anne Hathaway burns up the screen, and not just because she’s naked half the time. Even when she’s dressed you simply can’t take your eyes off her. I thought she was good in Rachel Getting Married, but in this one — as a free-spirit arty girl with early-onset Parkinson’s — she’s very funny and really hard-core. My guess is another nomination will be coming her way.

“What else…? Josh Gad, who I recognized as one of the correspondents on The Daily Show, is the potty-mouthed younger brother. Sometimes it feels like he’s a refugee from a Judd Apatow movie, but he’s also sweet and innocent. Oliver Platt, who’s always good, is in it, too. And Judy Greer has got some funny stuff but she seems underused (like maybe they cut part of her story?)

“I’m the big know-it-all who always predicts what’s going to happen next in a movie, but this time I was always surprised. One minute I was laughing hysterically and the next I found myself wiping tears away. Some people will compare it to Jerry Ma-fucking-guire, which I think is a truly great movie. But this one has real depth to it. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a comedy show a relationship with this kind of intimacy and authenticity. I don’t know how else to say it — I really believed these two people were in love.”

61 thoughts on “Hathaway’s Big Score?

  1. When was the last time that the “Best Actress of her Generation” also was the most beautiful also was one of the top fashion plates also was the biggest female box office star? It strikes me that Hathaway is within shooting distance of this, or thereabouts. And as a film fan, it’s kind of neat to be living on the brink of it.

    One of the reasons I can’t give fully to Carey Mulligan is that simply I thought Hathaway’s Rachel performance – the nearest young-actress-Oscar-nom comparison – blew Mulligan’s away.

    This is great to hear, because after suffering through Valentine’s Day, I started to think that maybe Rachel would end up being a fluke and she would waste her talent.

    After watching

  2. K. Bowen:

    Ok, I’ll take up the challenge and go with Audrey Hepburn. I know some will argue with her acting talents, but she definitely fits the rest of the criteria.

  3. When was the last time that the “Best Actress of her Generation” also was the most beautiful also was one of the top fashion plates also was the biggest female box office star? It strikes me that Hathaway is within shooting distance of this, or thereabouts


    Hummmm, ok. I ADORE Anne, she completely took over Lindsay Lohan place in Hollywood and showed that you can start as a teen sensation and get into respected actress, bu t, most beautiful of her generation? really? Also, her fashion sense only got better last year when she hired a stylist, because in 2005 when she was in the Brockback promotion she looked awful.

    She is a great actress, I wish she could stay way from trash like Brides war, but I have no doubt that she will be the biggest star of her generation.

  4. The story line, which is basically about Gylenhaal becoming a pharma salesman, is fairly complex.


    so in this case, she goes leading or supporting? We know how the academy loves young actresses on supporting roles. If she goes supporting I have no doubt she can not only get a nom, but a sure win. God that would be great.

  5. Did you read the piece? She’s (a) the lead actress and (b) she dominates the film. There’s isn’t the slightest hint or indication that she’s anything other than a lead. For what it’s worth I’m hearing/understanding that she brings a greater energy field to the film than Gyllenhaal.

  6. @Wells, yes I did read and the guy own review said it was Jake’s story, thats why I asked it. BTW you can be a supporting role and still dominates the film and completely overshadow other characters, Monique just did that in Precious.

    Anyway, either supporting or lead I am happy, Hathaway is a lovelly young woman and since her small role in Brockback I knew it she could do the job. I still love her telephone scene with Ledger at the end of the film.

  7. Jeff, sorry but I find most of the reviews, by so called experts, of Jake Gyllenhaal’s performances are way off the mark. I think you and your reviewer friends underrate Jake unfairly. Most of the movies I have seen him in he is better than most of the reviews give him credit for. I will wait and see for myself because I think Jake is an excellent actor.

    I am happy to hear about Anne Hathaway as I think she is a lovely actress.

  8. I read a first draft of this script before Zwick got involved. It was very good.

    The rise (no pun intented) of Jamie scene is fast, funny film shorthand. The Maggie character doesn’t show up until about page thrity, and once she did, she grounds the piece in her emotional journey.

    I agree with George Prager, Zwick should be doing more movies like this…I’m looking forward to it.

  9. I have not yet seen the assembled movie but I have been told:

    A.) The audience reaction at the Pasadena screening (first screening) was highly enthusiastic.

    B.) The movie is better than on the page.

    C.) Hathaway is great and her performance will mark a true, star-charter catalyst.

    Zwick’s next picture was supposed to be a period drama called “In the Heart of the Sea”, based off of a book of the same name based off of the supposedly true story of a whaling ship destroyed at sea that ultimately lead to the legendary novel Moby Dick. With studio financing being what it is at this time, and in consideration of the fact that such a period pic would be very expensive, I would not be at all surprised if Zwick sat on the whaling epic and instead opted to continue focus on more budget-conscious material in the same vein as Love and Other Drugs. Plus I think he enjoyed the smaller scale of it.

  10. Strange that Lex has not weighed in that much on Hathaway, who is far more attractive than the fabled “K-Stew.”

    But there is something bizarre about a post this long based on no first hand information from any named source for film that doesn’t come out until November 24th.

  11. I never thought I’d be giving Zwick another chance until DEFIANCE; it wasn’t a great movie, to be sure, but it was surprisingly watchable. So I’ll keep my eye out for this. And I hope Hathaway continues to do movies like this and avoid things like BRIDE WARS.

  12. “Instead of doing bullshit middlebrow epics, Zwick should only do movies like this.”

    As much as I’ve always loved Glory, I can’t disagree with this. His TV stuff has always been fantastic for what his film stuff has largely lacked – an emphasis on building real, interesting, dimensional characters, and spending a lot of time with them.

  13. Another movie shot in Pittsburgh???

    I used to have a stock rant about movies using Vancouver and Toronto to double on the cheap or NY and Chicago; But I’m about ready to officially welcome the CN Tower skyline or Vancouver’s grey skies and Douglas firs back to the silver screen, because those Canadian-shot flicks look like fucking Michael Mann compared the last 18 months of Pennsylvania, Michigan, Louisiana and Georgia we’re getting in EVERY SINGLE MOVIE.

    Yeah, it’s cool to see some new places and topography now and again, but the overcast wan skies of the Rust Belt is a pretty big comedown from the Big Apple or sun-bleached L.A.

    Plus having lived in Ohio for a time, how come NO ONE in all these PA-shot films EVER has a super-thick regional accent?

  14. Deathtongue, I’ve talked up Hathaway a LOT and even once got suspended from Poland’s blog for ranting about her hotness.

    And anyone who hasn’t seen her performance in HAVOC, I’m on record as saying that is a (no bullshit) BRANDO-level piece of acting in a terrible movie; Rachel Getting Married is equally pitch-perfect.

    But come on… she isn’t even fit to be mentioned in the same league with Kristen, either acting- or beauty-wise.

    Hathaway’s high on my list, but you could send Hathaway, The Fox, Seyfried and Biel to my one-bedroom to have a pillow fight while Taylor Swift serenades me with her new hit single “Lexie I Love You,” but if K-Stew’s in the room making waffles? All the others might as well go catch a matinee of “When in Rome,” ’cause I wouldn’t divert my attention for one second.

  15. What sets Ms. Hathaway apart from most gifted actors , is the fact she is always so damn charismatic , and the camera loves her.

    Unfortunately , Anne has to do some crappy & profitable movies like “Bride Wars” & “Valentine’s Day (she was the highlight) ” to stay commercially viable, so she can get the opportunities to do prestige films.

    In the past couple of years, Hathaway has proven her versatility & range. She is a force of nature! She was wonderful hosting SNL back in 2008- her take on Mary Poppins’ STD was absolutely brilliant. I’m still in awe of her emotionally naked turn in “Rachel Getting Married ” . Anne’s song & dance number with Hugh Jackman was the biggest highlight at the last Academy Awards ( let’s see Streep, Winslet, Witherspoon, Cruz, or Jolie pull that off). This past summer , every NYC theatre critc ( the toughest critics) praised her wonderful performance as Viola for ” Shakespeare In The Park’s Twelfth Night”. Recently, she killed on the 450th episode of “The Simpsons” . It was the best Simpsons episode in years ( so funny & romantic) . Hathaway brought so much charm , complexity, a credible Long Island accent, and she provided a lovely singing voice to her girlfriend role of Krusty the Clown. Hopefully, her character will be a recurring role on this show.

    She is raising the bar for young actors of her generation. Anne Hathaway is a keeper !

  16. To answer my question off the top … maybe Elizabeth Taylor in her prime?

    As for her singing, at some point, she oughta cut an album of standards or Christmas favorites. It would be like Bing Crosby or Judy Garland.

  17. “Plus having lived in Ohio for a time, how come NO ONE in all these PA-shot films EVER has a super-thick regional accent?”

    Martin Mull’s Fernwood 2 Night captured that western-Pennsylvania southern-Ohio northern-Kentucky accent perfectly with a garage mechanic character who talked semi-incomprehensibly about “ohl” (oil) and “tar arn” (tire iron).

    He was like a Midwest version of Boomhauer on King of the Hill. That accent needs subtitling like those Scottish and Northern British films Wells finds so baffling.

  18. Lex, I assumed I must have missed it as it seemed a big oversight (DTG has a real life that keeps him from spending every available moment online, D.Z style).

    But I stand by my preference for Hathaway, who has a natural charisma coupled with very rare kind of beauty, which I’ll dub “double elastic” for lack of a better term on a hungover Sunday morning. The first “elastic” is her ability to go from girl next door to upscale sophisticated while pulling off the personas of both.

    The second is admittedly an educated guess, as I think she has the kind looks that are going to age very well, but realistically. Stewart strikes me as the type who might not.

    (DTG goes to his South Bay doorway, cocks his head and listens for a distant howl of anguish: “NOOOOOOOOOOOOoooooooo!!!!!!”)

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  23. Just when was the final time the “Best Actress of her Generation” also was the most amazing also was among the top fashion plates also was the largest female box office star? It strikes me that Hathaway is at shooting distance of the, or thereabouts. So that as a movie fan, it’s type of neat to become living about the brink from it. Tunezja wczasy i wycieczki Last Minute

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  24. Ann Hathaways performance in this film was astonishing. She plays her roles so fluently, I’m surprised she was limited to so few films. As her fame grows, so will her audience and I can’t wait to see her next big film!

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  25. I like the girl. She is a brilliant actress and I have always liked her work. Seeing them together is another thing that I like because both of them are absolutely good actors. hacer un blog

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