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'Serenity' reunites Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway for pulpy thriller

The "Interstellar" co-stars reveal their affection for New York City.

Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway star in the

Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway star in the new thriller "Serenity." Photo Credit: Aviron Pictures/Graham Bartholomew

Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway are up on the big screen once again but this time it’s for Steven Knight’s pulpy thriller “Serenity.”  In the film, out Jan. 25, the “Interstellar” co-stars play a divorced couple destined to unravel the mystery of each other’s circumstances. McConaughey plays Baker Dill, a man who seems to coast as a captain of the boat Serenity, but is haunted by the son he left behind.

With visions of his son intensifying, events take a turn when his ex-wife, Karen, turns up on Plymouth, the island Baker stays on. Karen is painted as a sexualized damsel when she arrives to tell Baker she’s on the run from her abusive husband. She sees him as her savior and wants him to dump her husband overboard, enticeing Baker with a rekindling of their flame and $10 million. Baker has a lot to consider with this wager, but even more alarming are the people staying on the island who are heavily invested in his personal affairs.

amNewYork spoke to McConaughey and Hathaway about the film and their thoughts on New York.

Did you immediately gravitate toward Baker Dill?

Matthew McConaughey:  Pretty quickly. I love a great mystery. I love a good erotic thriller. From my point of view, it's part horror. [It reminded me of] older films like "Angel Heart," where the man is playing detective in his own life trying to see ... what's real and what's not. I'm walking that tightrope and going mad and somewhat insane in doing so. It's the kind of movie I'd like to go see. The guy was dimensionally interesting because there was something new. He's always talking to his son, whether his son is literally there or not, and I just found that's something that freed me, that I had a lot of fun with.

These are flawed individuals dealing with their circumstances like anyone else. Is that something that jumped out at you?

Anne Hathaway: Well, the movie is about Baker Dill and his relationship with his son. My character Karen is a huge part of that, but I had to figure out what "her story" was. What was important for the audience to know and to understand and how much Karen understands of what's going on. For her it was always kind of a minefield. "What can I say? What can't I say? What can I reveal?" She always knows more than she lets on.

Were those internal mysteries hard to work through?

Hathaway: I had a feeling for it from the beginning. For me, this character exists on three distinct levels that are related to each other. And so once I establish what those worlds were and how the elevator between them ran, then I got into it. It's been really interesting for me to watch the way Karen has been received as a woman whose real self hides behind this dolled up highly feminine femme fatale mask. A lot of people want to discuss her, but they're talking about the mask and not about her. And to have an opportunity to subvert an archetype with such a strong anti-feminist landscape and to actually create a character with the full weight of feminist ideology behind her was a really cool opportunity for me, personally.

You guys worked together on "Interstellar." So how was it working together again?

McConaughey: Comfortable. One thing that I got to experience from working with Anne on "Interstellar" is she's professional. She shows up to work and the talks on set are always about the alternates, and audibles, and how to [get to]  the nugget of the scene, and somehow still allow for some magic to happen. There's not a lazy bone in her when it comes to acting, and we have a nice quiet, unsaid way of respecting and supporting each other.

What does New York represent to each of you?

McConaughey: New York is always ready. I go to New York and it's on one of the vortexes of energy. I go to New York and I feel like I could eat whatever I want and I get in better shape. [Laughs] I love the people in New York, New York loves to see success.

Hathaway: The second, you said the word New York and I imagined it, my frontal cortex of my brain just lit up and started tingling. I feel like New York is the magic at the end of your fingertips. You just want to be in it and touch everything because it's all available. I worked with Rosie Perez this past summer, and [she] said the best thing. She was talking about kind of going up to someone and being really honest with them. And, she said it's "straight New York, no chaser."


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