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Anne Hathaway and Jeremy Strong talk their new film ‘Armageddon Time’

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Anne Joyce / Focus Features

Out now in select theaters and across the country on Friday, the new film Armageddon Time is the deeply personal story of writer/director James Gray growing up in a Jewish household in the 80s, and how we sometimes regret the choices we make when we’re younger.

Anne Hathaway plays Esther, the mom of the family, and although she’s not Jewish she tells ABC Audio the role was “something I took very seriously.”

“I’m just aware that these sorts of roles don’t come along very often. And I wanted to be worthy of being asked to play it,” the actress explains. 

To prepare, Hathaway says she “wound up doing a lot of research into Jewish women’s history to understand who her heroes would have been, who’s somebody she would have heard about growing up.” 

Hathaway describes her character as “an idealist…who’s really, really stressed out by her economic circumstances” and expressed that exploring the character’s “contradiction of love and violence” was a dichotomy she found interesting to explore.     

Likewise, Jeremy Strong was drawn to the duality of his character, Irving, the father of the household, a man with a loving side and also a nasty temper, though he admits “it was a great challenge to try and bring that out in all of its complexity and sort of dimensionality.”

Growing up with a Jewish father and grandfather allowed Strong to have some understanding of his character “at a certain level,” however, he still did a lot of research to prepare.

“You’re trying to locate the essence of a person, not a Jewish person, necessarily, that you’re trying to find the part of people that is universal,” he shares. “And you can find that within yourself, I think, whoever you are trying to embody.” 

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