Anne Hathaway Covertly Investigates the Government in ‘The Last Thing He Wanted’
Elena McMahon (Anne Hathaway, above) has a nose for news — and it leads her into some very dangerous territory in director Dee Rees’ film adaptation of Joan Didion’s 1996 novel The Last Thing He Wanted. Frustrated with an assignment covering the 1984 U.S. presidential campaign, Elena finds herself in the middle of the story she really wanted to investigate when she accepts a request from her ailing arms dealer father (Willem Dafoe).
Curious about the relationship between the U.S. government and the Contras, the Central American right-wing rebel group, Elena “has a sense that something’s going on that’s not right in terms of America’s covert foreign policy,” explains producer Cassian Elwes.
Elena travels to Costa Rica ostensibly to facilitate an arms deal on her father’s behalf, but she’s really there to dig into the government’s dirty dealings with the Contras. All of which catches the eye of Treat Morrison (Ben Affleck), a shadowy U.S. diplomat. And that may not be great news for Elena. As her journalist colleague Alma (Rosie Perez) says, “When he shows up, it’s usually the end of something, not the beginning.”
Elwes, whose parents were friends with Didion, compares Rees’ film to political thrillers of the 1970s — but updated. “It’s got a female central character who is outsmarting some very smart people through her investigative journalistic abilities,” he says. “To do that kind of thriller was exciting.”
The Last Thing He Wanted, Movie Premiere, Friday, February 21, Netflix