Back in 2018, Collider exclusively reported that Anne Hathaway was being considered to lead the highly-anticipated Sesame Street film directed by Portlandia‘s Jonathan Krisel. Cut to 2023 and the film is still nowhere near the finish line due to numerous delays. Despite the lack of progress, however, Hathaway has remained attached to the project in hopes that it will one day get made. While at the Sundance Film Festival for her thriller Eileen, the Academy Award winner talked with Collider‘s own Perri Nemiroff about the status of the Sesame Street movie and why she sticks with the project despite all of the delays.
In the years since being cast as Sally Hawthorne, a history show host fighting to save her program and prove the existence of the titular Sesame Street, Hathaway has hardly stood still. She’s found starring roles in Dark Waters, The Witches, Armageddon Time, and, of course, Eileen. TV also offered her the opportunity to both executive produce and star opposite Jared Leto in the Apple TV+ miniseries WeCrashed. Given that Hathaway is incredibly busy, how long can she really wait for Sesame Street?
When Nemiroff first brought up the project, Hathaway immediately noted, “It hasn’t happened yet. I hope it does.” Nemiroff followed up by asking her what inspires her to stay committed to the production despite the snag. Hathaway replied:
“I don’t really make movies that I don’t love. Even if it’s a strange love. Even if it’s a love that doesn’t make sense to other people and even by the way of the final product isn’t in any way what I thought it was going to be. If it doesn’t spark something, I don’t think I can do it. And so when you read something, and you’re genuinely charmed or delighted or it brings you joy or it’s something you want to share with others, it’s really hard to step away from things like that that move you authentically. And, you know, this is a funny business. Movies take 20 years to get made and there is something really, really satisfying about sticking with certain things. And there is something really great about looking out and saying, ‘Oh my gosh, I can’t believe for like eight years I was the only person who understood this,’ and all those people who had my back believed in me. And so it’s just a wonderful story. It doesn’t always work out. Sometimes eight years later, you’re just like, ‘I think it’s time to call it.’ It’s a mixed thing, and I’m really lucky that so far I’ve been able to have a career in this industry, so I’ve had all sorts of different experiences.”
Hathaway revealed little about what exactly makes this particular project so special, but she elaborated on her interest from another angle. She described the art of filmmaking as “experimental,” where the goal is not just to create something that everyone loves, but to challenge viewers and push boundaries at the risk of failure. She explains:
“I also want to say that what we do is highly experimental. What you were saying about if everyone’s gonna love everything then you can question whether or not enough risks were taken or whether or not you played it safe to kind of appeal to the widest possible audience. And if you are interested in filmmaking as a sort of experimental version of art, there’s a really good chance that it’s not gonna work. And it’s a really big ask of audiences to say, ‘I know, I know. Please, please keep coming back,’ because when it hits, we all know what it means, but it does mean that sometimes you have to eat some failure and that’s cool, too.”
If Sesame Street comes to life as is, Hathaway will star opposite Chance the Rapper in the film. He was cast as the aide to an evil mayor who is intent on keeping Sesame Street a secret for his own purposes. Bo Burnham, who used his pandemic downtime to record his magnum opus to this point, Inside, was also previously attached to create music for the project.
There’s no idea when the Sesame Street film could come out or if it will look the same as it does now, but it seems Hathaway is in it for the long haul.