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At the first moment of physical contact between Anne Hathway and Nicholas Galitzine in “The Idea of You” — a light touch of the hands — the crowd at the film’s SXSW world premiere completely lost it. By the time the actors were kissing, the gasps, shrieks and applause were deafening.

Hathaway was overcome with emotion as she took the stage for a post-screening Q&A at Austin’s Paramount Theater.

“I can’t talk,” she said to the audience, in tears. “I love you!” a fan called out, and Hathaway responded, “I love you so much. You have no idea the gift that you’ve just given us with your responsiveness, by being so connected to every little nuance in this. I will never forget this screening.”

“For some reason, we talk about coming-of-age stories as being something that happens to you in the earliest part of your life, and I don’t know about you, but I feel like I keep blooming,” she continued. “So when Cathy [Schulman] and Gabrielle [Union] so generously offered me the part, I was thrilled to say yes.”

“The Idea of You” follows Solène (Hathaway), a 40-year-old woman who falls in love with 24-year-old boy band singer Hayes (Galitzine) after taking her teen daughter (Ella Rubin) to Coachella.

According to Galitzine, his and Hathway’s chemistry was instantly “spiritual” during his audition process.

“These rooms can be extremely intimidating and unnatural, but there was something almost spiritual that happened there, whereby I felt this immediate connection to Annie,” he said. “We had a simpatico, a shared sense of humor. It was just very easy. I remember leaving that room thinking, ‘Regardless of what happens with this, I am so proud of this special thing that happened there.’ They gave me a call the next day: ‘We want you to be a part of this movie.’”

The film was directed by Michael Showalter, known for “The Big Sick,” “Hello, My Name Is Doris” and “The Eyes of Tammy Faye.”

“We definitely wanted to hold off the kiss as long as possible,” Showalter said about Solène and Hayes’ first physical encounter. “A big part of this movie is earning it. You want to really feel like these two people have shared and gone there with each other to where once that kiss happens, it’s earned and there’s nothing left to say.”

Gabrielle Union explained that she got involved as a producer after reading the book on which “The Idea of You” is based, written by her friend and “Deliver Us from Eva” co-star Robinne Lee. She optioned the film to Schulman’s Welle Entertainment on Lee’s behalf, and shared that she resonated with Solène’s struggles with the public perception of her relationship.

“I live it every day. People question our family; they question our love,” Union said about her marriage to Dwayne Wade. “They wonder, ‘What do you deserve?’”

“You deserve it all!” a fan shouted from the balcony.





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