Have you ever walked away from a film and thought about the experience from the lead actor or actress’s point of view?
Anne Hathaway is one of many in the film industry who can vouch for all the ways acting can teach an individual how to grow and improve, not only in their work, but as people, too.
We first spied Hathaway, now 32, on the big screen as Mia Thermopolis in 2001. Since then she has snagged powerful female lead roles in all kinds of film genres, which is, it turns out, exactly what she intended to do.
Here are a few valuable life lessons we can all learn from our Oscar-winning former princess.
Avoid doing the same thing over and over again
Hathaway’s role as clumsy, quirky Princess Mia in The Princess Diaries could have easily tied her down to a long series of similar acting roles, and she has admitted it was difficult to avoid it at first. She managed to press on, however, knowing she didn’t want to fall into the typecast trap. And for a very good reason, too.
With a goal to act in as many different types of films as possible early on in her career, Hathaway’s determination has allowed her to work with various directors and build a diverse, impressive filmography.
The lesson: Branch out, no matter your ambitions. Dare to do something different and launch yourself as far outside your comfort zone as possible.
Get hands-on experience, even when you don’t think you need it
Acting often requires much more than just reading through a script and working with a director. To prepare for her role as an assistant to a demanding fashion magazine tycoon in The Devil Wears Prada, Hathaway fetched coffee and did office work at Christie’s.
Getting into the mindset and feel of a particular role sometimes means you have to step away from the script and experience the environment in question firsthand. Hathaway isn’t the first or only professional to do this, but it does say a lot about her dedication to her work and can even teach us about learning in our own fields of expertise.
The lesson: Get out there and give it a try for yourself. Whether you’re learning a new skill or are trying out a new hobby or career, the best way to learn what it’s really like is to see it firsthand.
Don’t let your haters get to you
Hathaway, loved by many, is like any other successful performer in Hollywood: she isn’t loved by everyone. Some have brought up her age as a potential issue and have criticized her for statements she has made in interviews about her role in Les Miserables. She doesn’t try to be perfect, but critics don’t always hold back their opinions, either.
After a short break from the big screen after her 2013 Oscar win, she returned to rocking her roles and hasn’t looked back. Hathaway knows there will always be those who disapprove, and that wasn’t nearly enough to stop her from doing what she loves to do.
The lesson: It’s impossible to impress everyone, no matter your talent or career. Everyone makes mistakes and not everyone is quick to forgive. Do what you do the best you can. If you need time away, take it. Come back refreshed and show your haters they can’t knock you out of the game.
As with any other career, actors learn just as much from working on a film as you might have watching it. In watching a successful actor move from role to role, if you look closely, you can see the subtle yet sensational ways they transform and mature.
Hathaway’s career is a prime example, and there’s no doubt she still has plenty to teach us as she continues to learn new lessons herself.
Featured photo credit: Horus Tr4n via flickr.com