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Anne Hathaway Calls These Madonna & Britney Spears Hits the ‘Ultimate Pop Songs’

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In The Idea of You, Anne Hathaway stars as Solène, a 40-year-old mom who, despite knowing little about boy bands aside from what her teenage daughter tells her, falls in love with the 24-year-old Harry Styles-esque lead singer of pop quintet August Moon, Hayes Campell (played by Nicholas Galitzine).

And in real life, the Academy Award winner is similar to her character, at least in that department. “I don’t know that much about boy bands,” she admits to Billboard on the red carpet at the film’s New York premiere Monday (April 29) when discussing boy bands. “I was trying to be diplomatic, but the truth is, I’m going totally blank right now.”

But naming pop queens? That comes easily for her. “The ultimate pop song for me is ‘Like a Prayer’ by Madonna, followed by close second, ‘…Baby One More Time’ by Britney [Spears],” she gushes. “We’re really lucky right now — we’re living in this glory time of pop music. There’s so many ones out there right now, but those two … I think ‘Toxic’ is really amazing too.”

Fittingly, August Moon’s frontman knows his stuff. “There’s a song that I used to perform in front of my parents and my sister,” Galitzine tells Billboard when asked what he thinks is the quintessential boy band anthem. “I think it was called ‘Incomplete’ by the Backstreet Boys. It’s so melodramatic, so I think that’s what makes it a perfect boy band song.”

Based on Robinne Lee’s 2017 novel of the same name, The Idea of You has been generating buzz from the moment its trailer dropped in March, thanks to its undeniable real-life parallels to Harry Styles and One Direction (and it probably won’t die down any time soon once the internet gets a hold of Hathaway and Galitzine’s steamier scenes). But the other four members of August Moon — played by Dakota Adan, Jaiden Anthony, Raymond Cham Jr. and Viktor White, who have a group chat with Galitzine titled “Moon Me” and bonded over Mario Kart and Nerf gun battles during filming — agree that the comparisons to 1D and other boy bands are flattering, though they feel that their onscreen group has its own legs.

“We were like, ‘We don’t want to emulate a specific boy band too much, and we want August Moon to stand on its own,’” Anthony, whose character is named Adrian, tells Billboard on the carpet. “But there’s so many iconic [groups] — Backstreet Boys, New Kids on the Block, One Direction, The Beatles, even. There were so many videos and performances we watched, just to see what it is these bands have and what makes them so special. We kind of just took tidbits and little things here and there.”

Executive music producer Savan Kotecha was also very careful to treat August Moon as if it it were a real act, he tells Billboard, composing a body of work that sounded as if it had evolved alongside the band’s growing career for years. He even has an explanation for that one lyric in August Moon’s lead single “Dance Before We Walk,” which dropped on Spotify March 6 before the film’s premiere and finds Hayes singing, “I think I need a new direction lately.”

“When you see the movie, it’s actually about Hayes Campbell considering leaving the band … It’s about him moving on from August Moon,” Kotecha clarifies. “We had to sort of write the scope of the band, like, ‘What would their first teeny singles sound like,’ and ‘What would the second song be,’ and ‘Now they’re at Coachella, what would that song feel like?’”

The Idea of You hits Prime Video May 2.

Hannah Dailey
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