Hollywood actress Anne Hathaway opted for a massive departure from her PRINCESS DIARIES role when she chose to play a teen caught up in Latino gang life in east Los Angeles.

The 21-year-old brunette beauty claims making independent movie HAVOC taught her about a dangerous lifestyle she knew nothing about.

She says, "Gangsta life was never part of my upbringing, so out on the street, I was hearing and seeing things I couldn't believe, things that just seemed too fantastic to be true.

"Working with one of the actors who made up the gang - we had him with a street number on the back of his head. He told us, 'You know, there are guys around here who would shoot me for having that number.'"

Hathaway was also ordered not to walk around alone in the area during filming.

She adds, "I wasn't frightened. I said, 'Oh, I'm not that famous.' And they said, 'It's not about being famous. You're a good-looking girl walking in a bad neighbourhood. Shut up and accept the protection. I said, 'Okay!'"

But Hathaway is glad the movie - which is awaiting distribution - has turned out well.

She says, "I haven't made a lot of low-budget films, and this one had some uncertain equations, including a first-time director. I've seen it, and it's amazing. You can't tell I'm the girl from Princess Diaries."

21/05/2004 14:07