Every rom-com needs its villain — and often, it's the significant other who is so obviously wrong for them compared to the hero or heroine they just met.
In the case of Love in the Villa, which hit Netflix on Thursday, that arrives in the form of Cassie (Laura Hopper), the status obsessed fiancée of Brit, Charlie (Tom Hopper). Despite a growing connection with Julia (Kat Graham), who accidentally double-booked a vacation in an Italian villa he is already staying in, Charlie has obligations elsewhere.
Will he realize Cassie is all wrong for him and Julia is the girl of his dreams? (If you've ever watched a rom-com before, you probably know the answer).
But this time the casting came with a fun twist because the woman behind Cassie, Laura Hopper, is star Tom Hopper's actual wife. In fact, it was Laura who found the script and encouraged Tom to do the project.
"She tends to go through a lot of the scripts that get sent my way," he tells EW. " She was like, 'I just read this really great script called Love in the Villa. It's a really sweet rom-com and you should read it.' I read it and I agreed; I thought it was really brilliant."
Riccardo Ghilardi/Netflix Tom Hopper's real wife plays his obnoxious fiancée in 'Love in the Villa'
"Laura, also being an actress," he continues, "was like, 'Oh, I love one of these roles as well — the role of Cassie.'"
Once Hopper was signed onto the project, he mentioned to writer-director Mark Steven Johnson (Christopher Robin) that Laura was interested — Johnson gave her an audition, and she got the part.
"I love working with my wife," adds Hopper. "She's so funny. She's a very good comedic actress. What was very bizarre is I break up with her in the movie. As we were doing it I was like, 'This is really strange playing out this scene.' She's so different from that in real life, but she loves those character, comedic roles. It was such a blessing for us because we've never really done that before. We've acted in the same things, but we never actually acted opposite each other."
After quarantining with a bout of COVID-19 following their arrival in Verona (their own, less romantic version of Love in the Villa), the first scene Hopper shot with his wife was the massive dinner scene where he realizes that Cassie is totally wrong for him.
It wasn't just a love-fest for the Hoppers either. Kat Graham, who stars as Julia, also adored working with Laura. "I don't know who I was more obsessed with, her or him," she laughs. I love Laura so much. She's got to be one of the funniest people I've ever met. Every time we had a scene together I would get giddy because she's a fierce female and so freaking funny without even trying. There were moments where I could not look at her in the scene."
Love in the Villa is now available on Netflix.