Nicholas Galitzine says chemistry with Anne Hathaway was 'instantaneous' while filming 'The Idea of You'

Galitzine's role as a cerebral, tattoo-covered boy band member has been compared to Harry Styles.

Nicholas Galitzine and Anne Hathaway star in The Idea of You. (© Amazon Prime / Courtesy Everett Collection)

Nicholas Galitzine is deeply aware that Hayes Campbell, the boy band member he plays in The Idea of You, has been compared to Harry Styles many times. He understands why — but he’s not trying to do an impression.

“[Campbell is] his own person. … I understand people will make obvious comparisons,” he told Yahoo Entertainment. “But he’s also very much an amalgam of a lot of people.”

The romantic comedy, which begins streaming on Prime Video on May 2, chronicles the love affair between 40-year-old single mom Solène Marchand, played by Anne Hathaway, and 24-year-old singer Campbell. The film is based on the novel The Idea of You by Robinne Lee, who told Vogue in 2020 that Styles was one of many inspirations behind the book’s male romantic lead.

In the movie, Marchand and Campbell try to keep their relationship under wraps, but they’re foiled by paparazzi and picked apart by tabloids obsessing about the 16-year age gap between them.

Galitzine said one of the main reasons he was drawn to play Campbell was the character's quest to maintain his “strong sense of morality” even after being “thrust into a firestorm of media attention and scrutiny.”

Nicholas Galitzine and Anne Hathaway
Nicholas Galitzine and Anne Hathaway in The Idea of You. (Amazon Prime/Courtesy Everett Collection)

The novel that the movie is based on has been criticized by some readers for its heartbreaking ending — atypical for a rom-com — but Galitzine found the story’s complexity enticing.

“It’s hot in some capacities, but it’s really tragic and heartbreaking … and fun and joyous in others,” Galitzine said. “I think the best romantic movies are able to touch on all these different bases.”

Galitzine said that in The Idea of You, the physical attraction between his character and Hathaway’s was “the entryway into their relationship.”

“It builds into something more loving, but they’re just wildly into each other,” he explained. “And I think we depicted that in a really lovely way.”

For someone often cast as a handsome prince — Britain’s Prince Henry in Red, White & Royal Blue and the love interest Prince Robert in the 2021 Prime Video adaptation of Cinderella  Galitzine is still surprised he’s been dubbed a heartthrob.

“Having been an ugly duckling in my teenage years, I think it’s really lovely to be in these kinds of roles,” he said. “It’s bizarre to be playing roles opposite the likes of Anne Hathaway, but I won’t shun it.”

Galitzine and Hathaway in
Amazon Prime/Courtesy Everett Collection

Galitzine said he’d been a huge fan of Hathaway when he was cast opposite her, and “the chemistry was instantaneous.”

“We had an instant understanding of who these characters were and who they were to each other,” he explained. “She’s very open and collaborative … and that’s the most important thing.”

“The love feels quite epic,” he added.

Aside from the romance and character development, there’s also a strong musical component to the movie. The fictional band that Campbell is a member of, August Moon, puts on multiple concert performances during the film. To prepare, Galitzine and his bandmates went to “boy band camp” — but the actor also drew from his childhood experiences to inspire his musical numbers.

“My sister introduced me to the Backstreet Boys and some English bands that people might not know, like Westlife and Boyzone,” he said. “I was really into rock 'n' roll artists like Jimi Hendrix, the Rolling Stones, Oasis and Queen … but I had a plethora of music forced down my throat as a kid and I’m grateful for it now.”

Nicholas Galitzine
Galitzine performing as a member of the fictional band August Moon in The Idea of You. (Amazon Prime/Courtesy Everett Collection)

Like many rock stars, Campbell is covered in tattoos. In the process of making the character his own, Galitzine said he curated Campbell’s ink himself using Pinterest, building a backstory through the tattoos he shows off in the movie.

Galitzine is booked so often these days that he was filming period piece Mary & George at the same time as The Idea of You, and his faux ink caused a bit of a debacle between sets.

“I take a lot of my clothes off on camera, and unfortunately the [Mary & George] makeup department went into a meltdown because the picture they had seen of me was one as Hayes, so they assumed I had all these tattoos,” he explained. The crew urged him to come in two hours early to cover his tattoos for the series, which is set in the 17th century.

“Then I showed up completely bare, and they said, ‘Oh, you’re fine,’” he said.

Now that he’s bared himself both physically and emotionally playing fictional princes and princes of pop, Galitzine is keeping an open mind about what roles he might take on next.

“We’re in a moment right now where we have a lot of superhero movies, and maybe we need to take a break from that a bit,” he said. “I’m trying to make Westerns cool again because if I can keep riding horses in projects, I’m set for life. I became such a horse boy in the last few years.”

The Idea of You streams May 2 on Prime Video.