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Casting directors from Anne Hathaway films deny ‘gross’ chemistry tests during auditions

Malia Mendez – Los Angeles Times (TNS)

A recent bombshell from Anne Hathaway may not have the detonation radius some people think.

In a V Magazine story published Monday, the “Devil Wears Prada” alum said she was regularly asked to participate in uncomfortable chemistry tests while auditioning for roles 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,” Hathaway said. “I was told, ‘We have ten 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.”

She added, “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.”

While Hathaway did not call out anyone by name, at least one casting director who worked with her during that time has denied such tests were conducted on their set.

“I certainly was not a part of any audition that required her to make out, or anyone else to, and it was not something done at Disney and Touchstone for the 15 years I was a casting executive in feature films, as far as I am aware of,” Donna Morong, casting director for “The Princess Diaries” — which was released in 2001 and may see a third installment soon — said in a statement to The Times.

“I have no reason to believe that Anne Hathaway would lie about experiencing that in other casting offices but it seems like a crazy way to measure whether two people have ‘chemistry,’ completely ineffective and I would agree, ‘gross,'” Morong continued. “As Anne said in her article in ‘V,’ she loved working with Garry Marshall and never referenced making out with multiple actors during the casting of ‘Princess Diaries.'”

“Brokeback Mountain” casting director Avy Kaufman told TMZ she has no recollection of anything similar to what Hathaway detailed in her cover story. She told The Times on Wednesday that she didn’t have “any good stories” to share.

TMZ also reported that Linda Lamontagne, who helped cast Hathaway in the 1999-2000 series “Get Real,” denied overseeing any chemistry read matching the actor’s description.

“I’ve worked in casting since ‘Capital News’ in 1988, and, in all honesty, never had to have actors make out with any other actor for any auditions nor chemistry tests,” Lamontagne told the outlet, adding that while she doesn’t deny Hathaway had such an experience, she was never at the helm of it.

“It’s hard enough to audition for something that is new, or even established and we don’t want to make a talent uncomfortable. It’s enough pressure as it is,” she said.

Lamontagne didn’t reply immediately to The Times’ request for comment.

As a producer on her upcoming film “The Idea of You,” which premiered March 16 at South by Southwest and drops May 2 on Prime Video, Hathaway was able to concoct a chemistry test of her own, which she related to V Magazine.

During auditions for the film, actors were asked to choose a song they felt their character would love and to play it in a bid to get Hathaway’s character, single mother Solène Marchand, to dance.

Nicholas Galitzine — whose previous credits include “Red, White & Royal Blue” and “Bottoms” — won her over with an Alabama Shakes tune, Hathaway said.

“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. … Nobody was showing off,” she continued. “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!”

©2024 Los Angeles Times. Visit latimes.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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