Anne Hathaway / Dark Waters

Anne Hathaway has come a long way since her screen breakthrough in the 2001 film, The Princess Diaries.  Now 37, she has largely fulfilled the extraordinary promise she demonstrated as a teenage star by going on to earn an Oscar (for Les Miserables) and appearing in many memorable films ranging from The Devil Wears Prada to Rachel Getting Married to Interstellar.

Her new film, Dark Waters, sees her co-star opposite Mark Ruffalo in a thriller based on the real-life story of the 20 year legal battle against the Du Pont chemical company for dumping toxic waste – used in the production of teflon fryng pans until 2013 – in West Virginia.  Hathaway plays the wife of Ruffalo’s dogged lawyer Robert Bilott who in 2017 ultimately prevailed on behalf of 3,500 residents by earning a $671 million settlement from Du Pont and its Chemours subsidiary.

For years, many scientists have argued that Teflon-coated products contain a toxic chemical that is potentially carcinogenic or otherwise dangerous to human health.  One of the reasons that led Hathaway to want to be part of Dark Waters was how she herself had read the 2016 New York Times article that documented Bilott’s crusade against DuPont and the contamination resulting from the manufacture of Teflon-coated products.

“I opened the drawer where I keep my pans and pots, and there was a non-stick pan,” Hathaway says. “And despite reading [the] article when I was pregnant with my first child that said ‘don’t use non-stick,’ there was one that had somehow slipped through the cracks and I’d been feeding my family with it for years.

“I try not to blame myself too hard in those circumstances, [but people] should never be put in that position where…we’re inadvertently poisoning ourselves and the people we love.”

Apart from her professional achievements, Hathaway believes that her most significant triumph has been a more deeply personal one.  She has spent much of her adult life struggling to overcome doubts, insecurities and a people-pleaser mentality. Today, having endured years of online trolls and media attacks which have criticised her as being too anxious to be liked, Hathaway now owns her fearless, unfiltered spirit and no longer needs external validation of her identity…

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