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The Last Thing He Wanted: Anne Hathaway takes on Joan Didion’s story of international conspiracy

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Hollie Richardson
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Anne Hathaway: The Last Thing He Wanted.

Anne Hathaway’s new film, The Last Thing He Wanted, debuted at the Sundance Film Festival this week. Here’s everything we know so far about the film adaptation of Joan Didion’s novel. 

It’s pretty much guaranteed that any project involving both Anne Hathaway and Joan Didion is going to be great. Throw Oscar-nominated Dee Rees into the mix (Mudbound, Pariah, Bessie) and we’re nearly howling with excitement. That’s why we’re expected big things from The Last Thing He Wanted, especially after watching the recently released trailer for the film.

The Netflix movie adaptation of Didion’s novel of the same name had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival on 27 January 2020. Rees directs the film, while Anne Hathaway leads the cast alongside Rosie Perez, Ben Affleck and Willem Dafoe. 

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What is The Last Thing He Wanted about?

Following the story of Didion’s 1996 novel, The Last Thing He Wanted centres on journalist Elena McMahon (Hathaway), who inherits her father’s position as a dealmaker – an arms dealmaker. She soon finds herself on dangerous ground as the Iran-Contra affair’s arms-for-drugs plot reaches its tipping point.

Speaking about her inspiration behind making the film, Dees recently told Variety:  “I read this novel seven years ago, and I was just kind of hooked. For me, the thing I fell in love with was this father-daughter kind of story at the center. And so, I wanted to get into things we do for our fathers, and on a macro-level [the story of] U.S. imperialism.”

Edi Gathegi, Anne Hathaway, Dee Rees, Rosie Perez, and Willem Dafoe attend The Last Thing He Wanted premiere.
Edi Gathegi, Anne Hathaway, Dee Rees, Rosie Perez, and Willem Dafoe attend The Last Thing He Wanted premiere.

Although the political thriller is set in the Regan era, it draws parallels with themes pertaining to Trump’s administration, such as immigration laws and government secrecy.

Hathaway discussed this in more detail in the same interview saying: “The migrant crisis really made front-page news while we were filming. Then the next level of family separation started. This whole U.S. involvement was obscured while it was going on in the 1980s, people still aren’t talking about the fact that people we’re turning away to our country, part of the reason why they’re escaping their own countries is because of us. It felt really present. It felt like, ‘Oh, here we are making those same mistakes again’.”

Watch the trailer for The Last Thing He Wanted

As you can see from the trailer, this looks like a pretty intense watch, set at a fast pace with lots of action. Hathaway very much revels in playing the hard-hitting, cigarette-puffing 80s reporter. And there are clearly lots of huge secrets to be unraveled. With Perez playing the photo-journalist friend, Affleck as a government official and Dafoe as the dad, there are no weak links in this film’s chain. 

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When is The Last Thing He Wanted released? 

We don’t have long to wait. The Last Thing He Wanted will debut on Netflix on 21 February.

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Images: Netflix, Getty

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Hollie Richardson

Hollie is a digital writer at Stylist.co.uk, mainly covering the daily news on women’s issues, politics, celebrities and entertainment. She also keeps an ear out for the best podcast episodes to share with readers. Oh, and don’t even get her started on Outlander…

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