Anne Hathaway says she had to kiss 10 men during ‘gross’ chemistry audition

Estimated read time 4 min read

Anne Hathaway has revealed that in the 2000s, producers on a film she was starring in required her to kiss a succession of potential co-stars.

Speaking to V Magazine, the actor said that in the 2000s, “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.”

She continued: “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.”

Hathaway, who won an Oscar for her role in Les Misérables and is shortly to be seen in romantic comedy The Idea of You, said that she acceded to the request.

“And I was so young and terribly aware how easy it was to lose everything by being labeled ‘difficult’, so I just pretended I 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.”

Hathaway, who also acts as a producer on her new film, about the relationship between a single mother and a boy band star played by Nicholas Galitzine, said she now engineered such tests differently.

“We asked each of the actors coming in to choose a song that they felt their character would love,” she said, “that they would put on to get my character to dance, and then we’d 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.”

Galitzine chose a song by rock band Alabama Shakes, fronted by Brittany Howard. “I heard Brittany’s voice and I just started smiling,” said Hathaway.

“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!”

Galitzine has also spoken about his experience of their joint audition, saying that although he found it “incredibly intimidating … 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.”

Galitzine was also the subject of a chaste chemistry test for romcom Red, White and Royal Blue, in which he plays Prince Henry, a member of the British monarchy who begins a relationship with the son of the first female President of the United States.

Director Matthew Lopez described the Zoom chemistry read to Radio Times: “Within five minutes … we all knew that we had found our Henry and our Alex.

“It was instantaneous. It was really just … quite literal chemistry. I think you could feel the atoms swirling between them. Even though one of them was in New Orleans, and one of them was in LA.”

While establishing a real-life frisson between prospective co-stars is a widely recognised necessity when casting a film, chemistry tests – in which strangers are instructed to become intimate – can occur in semi-private settings, usually without an intimacy coordinator present.

One example is the first encounter between Twilight stars Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson, who were instructed to begin kissing on a bed at the home of director Catherine Hardwicke.

“Rob and Kristen auditioned on my bed,” Hardwicke has recalled, “the kissing scene, Rob was so into it he fell off the bed. I’m like, ‘Dude, calm down.’ And I’m in there filming with my little video camera.

“At the end [after the audition], Kristen was like, ‘It has to be Rob.’ I could tell they had a lot of chemistry, and I’m like, ‘Oh my God.’ I thought, ‘Kristen was 17. I don’t want to get in some illegal things.’ So I remember I told Rob, ‘By the way, Kristen is 17. In our country, it’s illegal to have a sexual …’ And he’s like, ‘Oh, OK, whatever.’”

Stewart and Pattinson went on to have a relationship and Twilight became a multimillion-dollar franchise.


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