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Nicholas Galitzine recalls ‘intimidating’ chemistry read with Anne Hathaway

Nicholas Galitzine has recounted having to convince Anne Hathaway to dance with him during an “intimidating” chemistry read for their new romcom, The Idea of You.

The two co-lead Michael Showalter’s forthcoming movie, which is based on Robinne Lee’s 2017 Harry Styles-inspired novel of the same name.

Hathaway plays Solène, a 40-year-old single mother who embarks on a love affair with 24-year-old Hayes Campbell (Red, White & Royal Blue’s Galitzine) – the lead vocalist of the world’s hottest boy band – after having met at Coachella music festival.

During a moderated Q&A following the film’s recent world premiere at the South By Southwest film festival, Galitzine, 29, recalled meeting Hathaway, 41, for the first time.

“Someone came up with this idea that the actors doing this chemistry test should bring a song that they wanted to use essentially to convince Soléne to get up and dance with him. And again, [for] someone like me, who is not a dancer, this was incredibly intimidating,” he said, according to People.

The purpose of a chemistry read in the film industry is to determine whether two actors, typically the leads, have an instinctive connection necessary for the roles they are auditioning for.

“But in all seriousness, I remember – these rooms for actors, they can be extremely intimidating at times and extremely unnatural in a lot of ways – but there was something almost spiritual that kind of happened there where I felt this immediate connection to Annie, and we had a simpatico and a shared sense of humour and it was just very easy.”

Speaking to People in a separate interview, Galitzine called the experience “transformative”.

Anne Hathaway and Nicholas Galitzine in ‘The Idea of You’ (Amazon Prime Video)
Anne Hathaway and Nicholas Galitzine in ‘The Idea of You’ (Amazon Prime Video)

“It was so open and I think it was really at that moment that we kind of knew that there was a connection – that there was a chemistry there and it was so much fun in that audition, which is rare to say,” he remembered.

“As an actor you oftentimes go into those rooms with so much trepidation, and it was so open,” Galitzine said. “And I kind of remember leaving the room going, ‘You know, if this doesn’t work out, I am really proud of the work that I did, even in this space.’”

It was the day after their chemistry read that Galitzine received a phone call from the team saying “they wanted me to be their Hayes”.

Since the movie’s trailer was released earlier this month, there’s been speculation that Galitzine’s character is based off of pop superstar Harry Styles.

“We tried to create a character that felt maybe akin to Harry in the sense that he’s a younger man dating older women,” Galitzine told BuzzFeed UK. “It was important to create someone who felt new and original and not a sort of shoddy impersonation of this person that we know really well.”

The Idea of You will be available to stream on Prime Video from 2 May.