Anne Hathaway Explains the ‘Gross’ Casting Process She Was Forced Into Early in Her Career

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Anne Hathaway opened up to V Magazine about a “gross” casting process she was forced to take part in early on in her career. Without naming the project, the actor revealed she was asked to make out with 10 different men auditioning for the role of her love interest. Hathaway said the film’s producers seemed to think she would be excited about the prospect.

“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,” Hathaway recalled. “I was told, ‘We have ten guys coming today and you’re cast. Aren’t you excited to make out with all of them?’

“I thought, ‘Is there something wrong with me?’ because I wasn’t excited. I thought it sounded gross,” she continued.

But the future Oscar winner agreed to the scenario, not because she approved but because she feared losing her job.

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

Though Hathaway declined to name the particular project, she went out of her way later in the interview to clarify it wasn’t her breakout role in The Princess Diaries. Reflecting on her experience with the 2001 Disney comedy, Hathaway said lessons from that set encouraged her to speak up about uncomfortable situations on future projects.

“I was so generously invited into that process by [director] Garry Marshall; he valued my take on being a teenage girl and 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.”

Hathaway continued: “I always wanted to be pleasant. But I also always thought that having strong opinions meant I was doing my job.”

That influence bled into her newest role as producer and star of the new romantic comedy The Idea of You, in which she stars opposite Nicholas Galatzine as a mother who falls in love with her daughter’s favorite pop star. When it came time to select her co-lead, Hathaway and the crew employed a more demure casting process.

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

The Idea of You premieres May 2 on Amazon Prime Video. You can check out the trailer below.