Fairytale princess with political clout

by BAZ BAMIGBOYE, Daily Mail

Last updated at 11:12 17 December 2004

Anne Hathaway has a warmth and personality that lights up the screen. Her latest movie Ella Enchanted is a fairytale romantic romp set in an era of elves, witches, giants, bad spells and nice and nasty princes.

"We're not out to win Oscars. We just want to entertain you and your children," she tells me about the picture, in which she stars opposite Hugh Dancy.

We're having breakfast at the Dorchester and they seem to have run out of the Japanese option, so we have what Charles Dance likes to call the 'heart attack', (the full English) except we don't really eat that much and play around with some pastries.

Now 22, Anne is studying political science and English literature at New York University. I've known her a while and I've always liked the fact that she's very politically clued-up.

"But I don't lay my politics on people," she says. "However, I do like the very, very light but present political message of the film, which is to be found a lot in fairytales," she explains.

This relates to the oppression of the ogres and elves in Ella Enchanted land. "You can just watch it and not see any of that or you can choose to see it. It's not laid on in a heavy way, but it's why I chose to do the film," she tells me.

Actually, judging from conversations we had more than a year ago, I thought I'd be talking to her about Phantom Of The Opera. But, for whatever reason, she didn't do it, which is a shame.

Instead she shot a Princess Diaries sequel and a couple of 'grown-up films', one of which was Brokenback Mountain directed by Ang Lee.

Plus she moved into an apartment in New York's West Village and fell in love with an Italian financier. "Sometimes you meet someone and there are sparks, but here the sparks were radioactive," she says gleefully.

To add to her bliss, the guy bought her a chocolate Labrador with green eyes - she named her Esmerelda. Enchanting.