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The Very Good Girl

Despite her serious turn, Frankel is convinced that Hathaway has something more than “startling Audrey Hepburn beauty” and “dramatic talent.” The Sex and the City vet says the “bottom line is that she can do comedy. It’s like when I first met Sarah Jessica Parker. Meryl, Goldie, Bette, Streisand: The ones who have comic flair keep going when the dramatic roles thin out.”

Streep is indeed one of Hathaway’s role models, along with Emma Thompson and Kate Winslet. But these days, there are a dozen young starlets who might say the same. “This generation is a bit light on young men, but it’s a crowded field for the women,” says Frankel, “and they’re all really trying to do good films: Scarlett working with Woody, Dunst with Sofia Coppola, Lindsay with Robert Altman. Nobody wants to get stuck playing girlfriends.”

Hence the desire to stand out by acting out. But Hathaway is unlikely to become a tabloid star. She can tease all she wants, yet her life seems entirely devoid of deep, dark secrets. She’s living in Manhattan (she won’t specify where), spending time with her boyfriend, real-estate developer Raffaello Follieri, and working with charities, content to maintain a low profile. A kind of gawky, Julia Roberts goodness clings to her. She is just the sort of person you’d trust as your assistant—certainly not the type who’d cash in with a tell-all after she left your employ.

Hathaway says she’s glad that audiences can go to her films and see “a character and not the tabloid story.” But don’t be astonished if she roughs up her good-girl rep, just a little. After all, “I’m already known in so specific a way, I don’t need to be typecast in my personal life.”