Anne Hathaway wants to take a walk. It’s a beautiful summer day, and she’s never been to the High Line, the bucolic park built on derelict train tracks on Manhattan’s West Side. It’s a hugely popular tourist destination, and since she’s an Oscar-winning actress, I’m not quite sure going there is the best idea. What if the stroll becomes a gantlet of selfies or a parade of paparazzi? Thankfully, she comes prepared. Chicly incognito in a weathered straw hat, oversize sunglasses, a Somedays Lovin Breton striped top, J. Crew cutoffs, and sensible Ann Taylor flats, she greets me at the top of the stairs with a wide smile and a friendly handshake. Her alabaster skin is makeup-free. “Wow, this is beautiful,” she says, scanning the wild grasses and the vista of the Hudson River as she draws out the word a good five seconds. Strolling southerly to the Soho House New York for tea, she eyes the glittering colossus of the Standard Hotel that straddles the High Line, wincing gently. “At the last Met Ball I wore a fabulous Delfina Delettrez diamond ring. Toward the end of the night I was in the bathroom of the Boom Boom Room at the hotel. The ring flew off my finger and landed behind the radiator. Now whenever I look at that building, I think of lost diamonds.”
That story has a happy ending (she found the ring unscathed), and she relates the anecdote in her pleasantly effervescent tone. For the first time in five years, she is taking a summer off—“decompressing,” as she puts it, after a grueling seven-week run off-Broadway at the Public Theater in George Brant’s Grounded, a one-woman show directed by Julie Taymor about the psychological costs of drone warfare on a female Air Force pilot. The actress, whose performance The New York Times calls “fiercely good,” says, “It was a privilege to be part of a conversation we should be having. We’ve been at war for half my life, and I had no idea what it is like to be a female soldier.” But, she admits, “doing five shows on a weekend can wear you out.”
Hathaway and her husband of three years, jewelry designer Adam Shulman, sold their apartment in the tony Brooklyn neighborhood of DUMBO in 2014 and have decamped to L.A. full-time. (He made the bejeweled snake-head charm necklace she’s wearing. “The other side says ‘Bite me,’ ” she boasts proudly. “He knows me very well.”) But in June, the couple decided to make it an “East Coast summer” to be close to Hathaway’s family in northern New Jersey. They’ve rented a sprawling beach house about an hour outside the city, on Long Island, and they’re lying low. “I really love yoga,” she says, flashing a smile that makes the bright midday sun go dull. “I’m sure that’s a huge surprise to you.” Hathaway: master of perfectly executed self-deprecation.
Soon enough, Hathaway’s role in Nancy Meyers’s latest blockbuster dramedy will draw her back into the spotlight: The Intern, set in brownstone Brooklyn, is a big-budget fashion romp, and you will definitely see it several times in your life. It’s just one of those movies. Like Meyers’s other classics—It’s Complicated, Something’s Gotta Give, Father of the Bride—it’s a smart film in a stylish locale where everyone uses Aesop products. In short, it’s irresistibly likable.
For Hathaway's musing on the media, girl power, and what's next, pick up the September issue of InStyle, now available on newsstands and for digital download. To see behind-the-scenes video from our cover shoot with the star, watch the video below.