The star, 31, who won an Academy Award for her tragic portrayal of Fantine in Les Miserables, is singing a much happier tune in the new film, Rio 2, for which she reprises her role as the voice of feisty macaw Jewel.
“I’ve already showed it to a lot of my favorite kids in the world but I have a lot of little cousins and I always get such a kick when they can see the film that I’m in,” she tells PEOPLE. “Also then when I ask them to do manual labor, it’s a lot easier to convince them!”
A self-described “homebody” with husband Adam Shulman, whom she married in 2012, Hathaway has relished time out of the limelight since her Oscar win. “I love to entertain. I never thought I’d own a pool so I love to have all my friends over and kind of have pool parties and things like that,” she says. “I really, really, keep it simple.”
As for her fans, the actress’s favorites are young children who often come up to her and sing.
“Kids are so open and they ask for so little. And so it’s such a pleasure to be able to give them a moment of joy,” she adds. “You know, drunk adults coming up to me is a different matter. Particularly drunk adults that push kids out of the way. You’re just like, ‘Whoa, what is going on with you, honey? You’re a hot mess. You should get those priorities in order!’ ”
For more of our interview with Anne Hathaway, pick up this week’s issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday.