Sydney Sweeney and Glen Powell on How ‘Anyone but You’ Beat the Rom-Com Odds

As Sydney Sweeney and Glen Powell promoted their romantic comedy, “Anyone but You,” last year, life appeared to be imitating art: The co-stars posed cheek to cheek while sightseeing in Australia. Powell dipped a gleeful Sweeney in his arms. Sweeney cast longing gazes up at Powell on red carpets. The pair flirted and giggled in interviews.

When Powell and his long-term girlfriend broke up, and Sweeney remained engaged to her fiancé, Jonathan Davino (an executive producer of “Anyone but You”), rumors of an illicit offscreen relationship between the two actors took hold.

The speculation played out, the stars said, exactly as they intended.

“The two things that you have to sell a rom-com are fun and chemistry. Sydney and I have a ton of fun together, and we have a ton of effortless chemistry,” Powell said in an interview. “That’s people wanting what’s on the screen off the screen, and sometimes you just have to lean into it a bit — and it worked wonderfully. Sydney is very smart.”

Sweeney, who is also an executive producer through her Fifty-Fifty Films company, said she was intimately involved with the marketing strategy on the Columbia Pictures film, including, perhaps, fanning those headline-generating flames.

“I was on every call. I was in text group chats. I was probably keeping everybody over at Sony marketing and distribution awake at night because I couldn’t stop with ideas,” she said. “I wanted to make sure that we were actively having a conversation with the audience as we were promoting this film, because at the end of the day, they’re the ones who created the entire narrative.”

The R-rated romance follows Bea (Sweeney) and Ben (Powell), who share a night that ends badly and are then thrust together at a destination wedding in Australia, where Ben’s friend and Bea’s sister are getting married. The film is based loosely on Shakespeare’s “Much Ado About Nothing” and is full of bawdy zingers, grand gestures and sun-dappled scenery.

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