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Anne Hathaway speaks about exploring deep space with "unattractive" Matthew McConaughey in Interstellar

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Anne Hathaway shot to fame in the Disney family comedy The Princess Diaries. That may have been light stuff, but since then she has become more serious, taking on roles in Ang Lee’s Brokeback Mountain, Love and Other Drugs (in which she played a young woman with Parkinson’s Disease) and in Les Misérables, for which she won an Oscar.

Now she is starring in Interstellar as a space scientist journeying beyond our galaxy to find a new world where the human race can survive after their world dies. This was her second time working with director Christopher Nolan (she played Cat Woman in The Dark Knight Rises) but her first time with actor Matthew McConaughey, who plays her co-star. Thankfully, she found him a good person to travel into space with: "It’s a real pleasure to work with someone who knows how to take their job seriously but also has a real light touch," she says. "Matthew never lost focus, he never lost his connection to why we were there, but that didn’t mean we didn’t laugh."

Of course, like travelling in space, making a huge film full of long shooting days must involve a bit of boredom but Matthew helped the time fly more quickly: "He’s full of amazing stories. He’s someone who has really lived a wonderful, very varied life. I loved hearing about his tales of how he got to be here. And he’s a kind person, a fantastic actor, fantastic man. What more could you want?" She adds slyly: "Shame he’s so unattractive though."

Just because her character isn’t slinking around and jumping off building as she did as Cat Woman in The Dark Knight Rises didn’t mean she could avoid fitness and discipline: "I realised I wasn’t going to be able to slack off in the gym," she says.

When she first got the role she apparently was like "Woo hoo, I’m not wearing a catsuit in this one, I can eat!" - but reality kicked in sooner than expected and she "did have to work out just as hard, just to be able to stand up in the spacesuit and make it through the days in it."

Though it is hard to imagine what it takes to go through such a long and difficult ordeal shooting a film largely set in confined spaces or extreme (in some cases snowy) conditions, it must help if you like your character. Did Anne admire hers? "Totally! When I first read the screenplay I didn’t totally understand my character. I didn’t for quite some time. Something happens to her in the movie and I was thinking ‘Wow, that’s one of the things that changes you.’ And then all of the sudden she made sense to me as someone who goes through the journey from arrogance and fear to humility and openness, and I think someone who goes through that journey is very deserving of respect."

Interstellar is in cinemas from 7 November. Anne Hathaway and other members of the cast spoke to journalists at the press event for the film in London in October. Watch the trailer for the movie below:  

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