On Saturday night, Anne Hathaway took to the main stage at the Eccles Theater in Park City and took the mic during a brief Q&A following the world premiere of her new film, Eileen.
After saying how honored she was to be in the cast of William Oldroyd’s film alongside Thomasin McKenzie, Shea Whigham, Marin Ireland and Owen Teague, the Oscar-winning actress politely apologized if what she was about to say meant a “annoying headline”.
Hopefully she won’t find it too upsetting that her comments actually became a story, but what she said warranted a follow-up. Hathaway explained that her journey to partnering with Oldroyd began with Eileen when she saw his historical play Lady Macbeth starring Florence Pugh in 2016. “I thought it would be extraordinary work. I saw a study on female complications that struck me very, very deeply, and I felt like Will is a filmmaker who can be trusted to tell complicated stories, especially about women.”
His skills meant a lot, as Hathaway said she “just remembered one of the very first questions I was ever asked when I started acting, which meant when I had to do press, was, ‘Are you good girl or a bad girl?’ I was 16 and my 16 year old self wanted to answer with this film. Although I didn’t know that when I read the script, I think part of me was hoping for this exact moment.”
Based on the book of the same name by Ottessa Moshfegh and adapted by Luke Goebel, Eileen follows a strange young woman whose dreary life spirals into endless misery. Set in cold 1960s Boston, Eileen (McKenzie) shuttles between her father’s emotionally troubled home and prison, where she works with co-workers who ostracized her. When a drunk woman (Hathaway) joins the staff, Eileen is taken. Just as the possibility of a friendship (or perhaps more) that could save her shines a unique glimmer in Eileen’s darkness, her newfound confidante involves her in a shocking crime.
And what a moment. Viewers at the Eccles reported hearing an audible gasp as the film took dark and unexpected turns. Initial reactions on Twitter have been overwhelmingly positive for the film, which is due to be distributed here in Park City.
Below are answers from inside today’s world premiere.
Shades of CAROL but more twisted: the Ottessa Moshfegj adaptation of EILEEN. Thomas McKenzie is superb and Anne Hathaway (as prison psychologist) seems to be channeling her inner Jessica Lang. Nicely filmed. Audible gasps in the audience. #Sundance23 #Sun Dance pic.twitter.com/1FfMoN9Wmq
— Shinan Govani (@shinangovani) January 22, 2023
EILEEN feels a lot like Carol By The Sea… Thomasin McKensie’s mousy prison secretary bewitched by the bright glow of Anne Hathaway’s blonde psychologist. And then it goes HARD LEFT and becomes something else entirely. Big gasp from the pack #Sun Dance House.
— Josh (@joshc) January 22, 2023
EILEEN is dynamite. Went in blind and was blown away. Anne Hathaway, Thomasin McKenzie and most notably Marin Ireland are all electrified here. #Sun Dance
— Chris Evangelista (@cevangelista413) January 22, 2023
Oh my god, Eileen could be a thing in the movies.
Slow burn and then really impressive turns. Thomasin Mackenzie kills it. Anne Hathaway’s best performance in YEARS.
Grade: B+ #Sun Dance pic.twitter.com/gKYfJQysIx
– Gregory Ellwood – Sundance – The Playlist 🎬 (@TheGregoryE) January 22, 2023