Director William Oldroyd’s Eileen just premiered last night at the Sundance Film Festival, and Anne Hathaway—who leads the film with Thomasin McKenzie—used the occasion to talk about how the film connects to a very creepy experience she had when she first started acting as a teenager.
As reported by Variety, during a post-screening Q&A, Hathaway shared this story: “I just remembered one of the very first questions I ever got asked when I started acting and had to do press was: Are you a good girl or a bad girl?” Hathaway says she was 16 at the time, which presumably means this was during the early days of her one-season Fox series Get Real (featuring the on-screen debuts for both Hathaway and Jesse Eisenberg), and Hathaway says that her “16-year-old self wanted to respond with this film.”
Hathaway previously talked about how the screenplay for Eileen, based on Otessa Moshfegh’s book of the same name, impacted her, saying, “I had to sit with this one. I had to go back to it. I had to walk away from it. It kept revealing itself to me.” Hathaway also said at Sundance that she was drawn to the project because she wanted to work with Oldroyd, saying his film Lady Macbeth (featuring Florence Pugh in her breakout role) was “an extraordinary work” and a “study of female complication” that hit her “really, really deep.”
Eileen stars McKenzie (doing what is apparently an impressive Massachusetts accent, if Variety is to be believed) as a prison secretary who breaks out of her gloomy day-to-day existence when she develops a relationship with a psychologist (Hathaway) that eventually takes a dark turn. Eileen does not yet have a distributor, but… that’s why you take a movie to Sundance.