Hathaway played Fantine, a character from Victor Hugo’s novel Les Misérables. Fantine has an illegitimate child with a wealthy man who leaves her when he discovers she is pregnant with their child.
Fantine sends the baby, Cosette, to the greedy Thénardier family, who care for the child on Fantine’s earnings. After she is fired for having a daughter out of wedlock, Fantine resorts to unusual survival methods to continue providing for her child.
She sells her teeth and hair and eventually resorts to sexual favors. Les Mis premiered on Christmas Day in the U.S. The film grossed more than $441 million worldwide against a $61 million budget and received critical acclaim.
Some actors wear wigs for roles. Others prefer to alter their hair to suit their character. While Hathaway came to accept her pixie do later, she wasn’t too thrilled about it at first. In an appearance on Live! with Kelly, per People, Hathaway said she didn’t expect the major chop would be a huge deal. She was the one who suggested it.
The Brooklyn native said, “It was something I wanted to do for a long time, and I knew it was something the character did.” Hathaway pitched the idea to the director, Tom Hooper, who was more than happy to approve. Then, she began getting cold feet. After thinking it through, The Princess Diaries star decided to go through with it. But the day of the chop was tough for the actor.
The now-39-year-old said, “I’ve now done backflips out of windows. I’ve jumped off buildings. And cutting my hair reduced me to like mental patient-level crying. I was inconsolable.” As if losing her hair wasn’t enough, the star had to sit with half-cut hair for nearly half an hour as the initial chop was done on camera.
As cameras rolled, Hathaway’s stylist had to wear another actor’s dress to finish the cut. She, however, claimed the chop was worth it as she got to see her hairstylist in a dress.
Hathaway also went full method for her role as Fantine. According to, the actor didn’t eat for 13 days of shooting Les Mis to play the starving Fantine effectively. Hathaway, who refused to share the details of her diet to prevent people from copying it, lost 25 pounds from the diet.
The actor’s co-star, Isabelle Allen, said Hathaway broke her arm after the drastic weight loss after falling from a bike and because she was “thin and fragile” at the time.
Although the movie earned Hathaway an Oscar, she told reporters it made her miserable. The WeCrashed star said she lost her mind playing the tortured prostitute, and the experience sullied her Oscar win as she hadn’t recovered.
She recalled feeling like an imposter receiving her award in a gown “that cost more than some people are going to see in their lifetime.” “I had to stand up in front of people and feel something I don’t feel, which is uncomplicated happiness,” she said. “I tried to pretend that I was happy,” Hathaway added.