Anne Hathaway recalls having to kiss 10 actors in 'gross' chemistry tests: "Now we know better"


One such thing, she said, involved chemistry tests that required her to kiss several actors. Photo: AFP

At the start of her career, Anne Hathaway said she didn't want to be labelled "difficult" so she went along with some of the crazy things the Hollywood audition process threw at her.

One such thing, the Les Miserables Oscar winner said, involved chemistry tests that required her to kiss several actors. It was a "normal" request, she said, but a "gross" one and an antiquated relic of the pre-#MeToo era.

"Back in the 2000s – and this did happen to me – it was considered normal to ask an actor to make out with other actors to test for chemistry, which is actually the worst way to do it," the Idea Of You star and producer recently told V magazine.

"I was told, 'We have 10 guys coming today and you're cast. Aren't you excited to make out with all of them?' And I thought, 'Is there something wrong with me?' because I wasn't excited. I thought it sounded gross."

The 41-year-old said she was "so young and terribly aware how easy it was to lose everything by being labelled 'difficult,'" so she pretended she was excited "and got on with it."

"It wasn't a power play, no one was trying to be awful or hurt me. It was just a very different time and now we know better," she said.

Now, as a producer, The Princess Diaries and The Devil Wears Prada alum said she went about the audition process differently for her chemistry-heavy Prime Video film The Idea Of You, an adaptation of Robinne Lee's 2017 romance novel that is set at a music festival.

Hathaway opted to have the actors choose a song that they felt their character would love and put it on to get Hathaway's character, Solene Marchand, to dance.

Then they would do "a short little improv."

"I was sitting in a chair like we had come in from dinner or a walk or something, we pressed play, and we just started dancing together," she said of her 29-year-old co-star Nicholas Galitzine. The Cinderella and Bottoms star played the Alabama Shakes, got Hathaway to react and they went from there.

"(I)t was just easy. I heard (lead singer) Brittany's voice and I just started smiling. And he saw me smile, so he relaxed, and we just started dancing. Nobody was showing off. Nobody was trying to get the gig. We were just in a space dancing. I looked over and Michael Showalter, our director, was beaming. Spark!"

Hathaway credits late director Garry Marshall for inviting her into the filmmaking process.

The Pretty Woman and Laverne & Shirley filmmaker, who directed Hathaway's 2001 fish-out-of-water comedy The Princess Diaries, valued his 17-year-old star's "take on being a teenage girl."

"(Marshall) elevated me to such a valued status on set that it never occurred to me on other sets that I didn't have that same autonomy, or that same ability to collaborate. I always wanted to be pleasant. But I also always thought that having strong opinions meant I was doing my job," she added.

As for the status of a third instalment of the beloved franchise? Hathaway offered some hope to longtime fans of her American teen-turned-princess of Genovia.

"We're in a good place," she said of the likelihood of another film. "That's all I can say. There's nothing to announce yet. But we're in a good place." – Los Angeles Times/Tribune News Service

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