.css-1le37t3{display:block;grid-area:item_image;left:-0.938rem;position:relative;width:100vw;}@media(min-width: 40.625rem){.css-1le37t3{width:100%;left:0rem;}}@media(min-width: 64rem){.css-1le37t3{margin-bottom:5rem;margin-top:1rem;}}.css-1le37t3 img{vertical-align:top;}.css-8tmigj{-webkit-align-self:center;-ms-flex-item-align:center;align-self:center;background-color:bg-block-content-big-story-imageright;}@media(max-width: 48rem){.css-8tmigj{padding-top:2.5rem;}}@media(min-width: 48rem){.css-8tmigj{padding-right:3rem;}}@media(min-width: 64rem){.css-8tmigj{padding-top:0;padding-right:5rem;}}.css-1icmzzt{font-family:SangBleuOGSerifRegular,SangBleuOGSerifRegular-roboto,SangBleuOGSerifRegular-local,Georgia,Times,Serif;font-size:1.25rem;font-weight:400;letter-spacing:0.0075rem;line-height:1.1;margin-bottom:0;margin-top:0;}@media(max-width: 48rem){.css-1icmzzt{font-size:1rem;line-height:1.4;}}.css-1dmjnw1{position:relative;}.css-1dmjnw1:before{content:””;position:absolute;}.css-1jqt7ay{display:block;font-family:NewParisTextBook,NewParisTextBook-roboto,NewParisTextBook-local,Georgia,Times,Serif;font-size:2.87501rem;font-weight:400;letter-spacing:-0.015rem;line-height:1.1;margin-bottom:1.5rem;margin-top:0;-webkit-text-decoration:none;text-decoration:none;}@media (any-hover: hover){.css-1jqt7ay:hover{color:link-hover;}}@media(max-width: 48rem){.css-1jqt7ay{font-size:2.5rem;line-height:1.1;}}Nicholas Galitzine Is a Rom-Com Leading Man for a New Generation.css-ha23m7{position:relative;}.css-ha23m7:after{content:””;position:absolute;}.css-yb0m4e{font-family:SangBleuOGSerifRegular,SangBleuOGSerifRegular-roboto,SangBleuOGSerifRegular-local,Georgia,Times,Serif;font-size:1.375rem;line-height:1.4;}@media(max-width: 48rem){.css-yb0m4e{font-size:1.25rem;line-height:1.4;margin-bottom:1rem;}}@media(min-width: 48rem){.css-yb0m4e{margin-right:8rem;}}.css-yb0m4e p{margin-bottom:0rem;margin-top:0rem;}The star of The Idea of You opens up about his “instantaneous” chemistry with Anne Hathaway

A 40-year-old art gallerist falling head over heels in love with a 24-year-old boy-band member sounds pretty preposterous—until you see Anne Hathaway and Nicholas Galitzine together onscreen. Suddenly, a love story centered on a 16-year age gap not only looks believable, but will have you rooting for the couple’s happy ending, too.

Set for release on Prime Video tomorrow, The Idea of You is poised to become the next big rom-com. It has all the elements to set it up for success, from an existing fan base that has long revered the 2017 Robinne Lee novel the film is based on, to Oscar-winning leading lady (and producer) Hathaway. But all those puzzle pieces aside, it’s the puppy-dog-eyed performance of the ever-charming Galitzine that will keep audiences glued to their screens.

He plays Hayes Campbell, the insanely famous frontman of a fictional One Direction–esque boy band called August Moon, who ends up wooing Hathaway’s Solène Marchand, a divorced mother who runs a successful art gallery in L.A.’s Silver Lake neighborhood. You might recognize the London-born Galitzine from his decade-long roster of credits in other culture-making films, like his stints as a tantrum-prone football jock in Bottoms and an uptight British prince in Red, White & Royal Blue. Whatever project the 29-year-old takes on, it’s clear he possesses that thing that makes a movie star a movie star—an innate charisma that detonates a bomb of butterflies in viewers’ stomachs. In particular, so much of the appeal of The Idea of You hinges on the natural chemistry between Galitzine and Hathaway.

“With Annie, honestly, it was just instantaneous,” he says of his connection with his costar on a recent Zoom call with Harper’s Bazaar. “I remember leaving that audition and being just so energized and kind of taken by surprise that we really had this connection. With someone whose body of work you’ve followed for a long time, you don’t know if that’s really going to work when you bring your energy into the room. It was just there.”

Ahead, Galitzine—who is also headlining period miniseries Mary & George, released last month on Starz, with Julianne Moore—talks more about his special dynamic with Hathaway, as well as the movie’s take on an age-gap relationship, how he hid Easter eggs within his character’s tattoos, and the next popular book adaptation he wants to bring to life.

Can you take me back to the moment that you first became aware of the script for The Idea of You? What was your first impression of the story?

I was on another movie and I got sent the script. I knew that Annie was attached. I knew that Michael [Showalter] was going to direct. I read the script not really expecting anything, but I was just blown away by just how well written it was, how real this relationship felt on page. Then, just being such a huge fan of Annie’s work before that, and being able to visualize her in the role, and being able to almost predict what she would bring to the table—I mean, it just made it really, really exciting. And I knew I would be able to show off my musical abilities and interests. It just became a no-brainer. I was so thrilled that they wanted to have me on board. I had sort of a pre-meeting with Michael, and was such a fan of his comedy work. He’s such an icon within the comedy genre, and so it was like all the components were there, and I was just thrilled they offered me Hayes.

What was the audition process like?

I did a tape for it in London, then they asked me to come and do the chemistry test in New York. I had a movie just come out which was doing really well, and so I kind of felt quite energized, I think, and quite accepted within the acting industry. I guess my internal monologue was just one of positivity and really just being able to go in there and have fun. I got to the room and I went in, and everyone was so friendly: Bernie [Telsey], our wonderful casting director; Michael; Cathy Schulman, our producer; and Annie. She kind of emanated light immediately. I don’t know if you’ve ever worked as an actor, if you’ve been in any of these audition rooms, but oftentimes they don’t feel that warm and inviting. So I was really set up to succeed, and I’m very thankful for that.

the idea of you

Taylor Hill//Getty Images

Nicholas Galitzine and The Idea of You costar Anne Hathaway

Chemistry is something that’s brought up a lot when people are talking or writing about you, whether it’s your chemistry with Taylor Zakhar Perez in Red, White & Royal Blue or with Tony Curran in Mary & George. But I want to know how you think your dynamic with Anne Hathaway might differ from other costar relationships and projects you’ve done.

With Annie, honestly, it was just instantaneous. Just in the room, it was like: Oh, yes, we could really work together, but also I feel like we could really become friends as well. I remember leaving that audition and being just so energized and kind of taken by surprise that we really had this connection. With someone whose body of work you’ve followed for a long time, you don’t know if that’s really going to work when you bring your energy into the room. It was just there, and we laughed with each other, we cried with each other, I sang to her, we danced with each other. I feel very lucky that we’ve really stayed friends to this day. I think it’s a testament of how well we work with each other.

Does that happen often for you, or is it rare to naturally hit it off right at the start?

Look, I think I pride myself on my ability to connect with people, and I always try and lead with openness and make people feel comfortable around me and that they can be vulnerable with me. You have to spend months of your time with these people, and such a huge part of the job is creating a sense of closeness and friendship and community. So I’m really pleased that people speak of me in this way, because I think it shows that hopefully I’m doing my job and I’m opening myself up with people [who are] opening themselves up to me, too.

nicholas galitzine as hayes campbell and anne hathaway as solene

Amazon Prime

At first, Solène and Hayes might not seem like they make a lot of sense together, but the movie starts to peel back those layers, and you can see how they fit into each other’s lives. What do you think attracts Hayes and Solène to each other?

There is just an almost spiritual understanding of each other, and I think they both have something that each of them either consciously or subconsciously [is] looking for. I don’t think it would work if Hayes wasn’t so emotionally mature. He’s very worldly, obviously, in a lot of ways, but Solène sees him not as the veneer of a person that maybe a lot of people in his life might see him as. He’s just, like, Hayes Campbell the pop star. I mean, he says to her [something along the lines of]: “Hayes Campbell—I don’t love when people refer to me as that. It doesn’t tell the whole story.” She sees him as a person, and she makes him feel like he’s not a joke. He takes care and reignites a part of her that I think she kind of killed off through a lot of trauma from her ex-husband. It is that kind of perfect puzzle piece. You completely disregard the age difference, because they just make sense as a couple.

Lately, there’s been a lot of debate over the idea of May-December relationships, how age gaps can play into power imbalances and the question of consent. I’m curious to know what kind of conversations were happening on set about these sorts of relationships, and how those conversations might have affected the way that you decided to portray this relationship onscreen?

It was always about portraying a sense of equality, whether that be sort of emotional or physical. I think there’s just an imbalance that has existed onscreen in the past, and so the fact that we even have to normalize this really shows where we are and where we’ve been as an industry. It’s very hard to give you an example, necessarily, but it was always an active thing of making sure everything fit. Conversely to that, it was just kind of organic, really, between Annie and I. Playing the characters that we played, it never felt wrong. There were certain things that we felt like we had to address, like the fact that female pleasure has been something that has often been [disregarded] in movies, and so we were very conscious to portray that in a really truthful way onscreen. But otherwise, it really just kind of made sense, and it was really all there in the script.

The movie really made me think about the female gaze, which is something Hayes Campbell kind of embodies. He’s a heartthrob, he’s in a boy band, he has that whole tattoo thing going—but, at the same time, he’s also deeply vulnerable and willing to put his emotions on the line. Had you considered the ways in which this character subverts typical portrayals of masculinity in pop culture?

I think obviously we’re kind of moving into this new era, generally speaking, of how we perceive masculinity and femininity. I’ve had a really amazing case of having fantastic male role models and fantastic female role models, and so I fully embrace my masculinity and my femininity. I think it’s what actually helps me as an actor. When it came to Hayes, I don’t think it hurts that the book was obviously written by Robinne Lee, and the script was written by Jennifer Westfeldt. So Hayes is very much written by a woman, in a way, but there is something also very masculine about Hayes. He has a sort of protective quality, which I suppose we would have in the past associated with masculinity, but I think we liked the fact that he was also emotional. It’s just very interesting to see how we’re kind of moving as a society. I think possibly the way Hayes has been written is why people really respond to the story so viscerally.

I want to talk to you about the costuming, because I think costuming can affect the DNA of an actor’s performance so integrally. Like, the period clothing you wear in Mary & George is so different from what you’re wearing as a boy-band member in The Idea of You. Then, of course, there are all the tattoos you have in this movie, too. Do you feel like that’s something that informs the way that you inhabited this character onscreen?

It is integral for every project I do, to be honest. Other than the director, the first people that I interact with from job to job [are the costume designers]. How do we create something that feels different and helps me fall into it? The tattoos were important because they’re kind of a tapestry of [Hayes’s] life in some ways. There were some things that felt very aesthetic, like these are the things that he’s seeing. And there are other things that felt like little Easter eggs for me. Getting into that every single day, sitting in the chair—that helps you fall into a character.

With Jackie Demeterio, our wonderful costume designer, we wanted the sense that Hayes has his staples that he’s into, he’s kind of a little grungy. He has this sort of sleeveless shirt, but also the things that he’s been gifted by people, very designer-y type stuff. Someone’s given him a bomber jacket, and he kind of thinks it’s just a bomber jacket, but it’s a YSL bomber jacket. I love there’s that moment within the trailer where he’s being dressed and [someone says], “We got the TAG Heuer campaign.” And he’s kind of like, “Oh, I guess—great?”

Something that interests me from project to project is feeling like you don’t see a lot of Nick in the roles. You can really fall into the characters. One of the biggest ways of doing that is hair and makeup and costume, and so that was definitely the case for this job.

nicholas galitzine as hayes campbell and anne hathaway as solene

Alisha Wetherill//Amazon Prime

What were some of those Easter eggs in Hayes’s tattoos?

There was the thistle on the calf. I’d always imagined: “Where’s his family from? Where’s his heritage from?” The thistle being very Scottish, in my interpretation of Hayes, I always liked that. We tried for a period of time to get a tattoo from Where the Wild Things Are, but then we couldn’t get it cleared. We also played around with a Tiny Tim idea, because that’s obviously mentioned in the movie, but I don’t know if we got that cleared as well. There’s that beautiful line drawing that I had on the back—it’s two faces sort of in intimate connection with each other—and that always felt like [it embodied how] Hayes really does want to find real connection. That kind of felt like an ode to his romanticism.

You’ve done a handful of book-to-screen adaptations now, but I saw in another interview that you had mentioned that you would like to see A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara brought to life. Is that true?

It is true. I’m obsessed with that book. I mean, it’s heartbreaking, but …

I’m a very visual reader, so when I read, I have to fan-cast in my head the actor that I think should play which character. So my question for you is: Who would you want to play if this adaptation were to become a thing? And who else would you want to cast in that adaptation?

For me, I always thought Willem made sense to me. I genuinely feel so passionately about that book. I don’t even know if I could put it out there.

[The character of Jude] is such an interesting and kind of ambiguously written [role], but also very visceral at the same time. I don’t know. I really don’t know. Timothée Chalamet would be maybe great in that role. Kelvin Harrison, I think. I don’t know; I can’t answer that question. I’ve signified Willem, because I think that’s really kind of the only part that I could play. But yeah, who knows? Here’s me praying that that comes into fruition eventually.

This interview has been lightly edited and condensed for clarity.

Headshot of Chelsey Sanchez

As an associate editor at HarpersBAZAAR.com, Chelsey keeps a finger on the pulse on all things celeb news. She also writes on social movements, connecting with activists leading the fight on workers’ rights, climate justice, and more. Offline, she’s probably spending too much time on TikTok, rewatching Emma (the 2020 version, of course), or buying yet another corset.