“We’re All Trying To Figure It Out”: Sydney Sweeney On Depicting Real-Life Dating In Anyone But You

You've likely come across the footage of Sydney Sweeney, Glen Powell, and various others enjoying their time in Sydney over the past year. Powell and Sweeney have been spotted on jet boats, riding double-decker buses, and taking plunges off dinghies into Sydney Harbour. Wondering why? It's all in anticipation of their upcoming film, Anyone But You, set to hit Aussie screens this Boxing Day. In our exclusive interview, we caught up with Sydney Sweeney, the new queen of Australia, and director Will Gluck to delve into the details of the film and explore why it holds relatability for many women.
In contrast to the often cliché and contrived female characters found in rom-coms, Sydney Sweeney aimed for authenticity with her character, Bea. "I really wanted to show a female character who just doesn't have life figured out, but she's also not this hopeless romantic that's gonna throw herself at the foot of a man," she tells Refinery29 Australia.
As both the star and the producer of the film, Sweeney is passionate about breaking the mould when it comes to how women are depicted in rom-coms. Reflecting on her character Bea, she says that part of her charm is in her relatability and the fact that she doesn't have everything sorted out. "She wants to figure things out. She doesn't want to be forced into it," Sweeney says. "But she also has her guard up from love, because she has been in love for a really long time, and she's kind of scared by this."
In the film, her character Bea has an adorable yet self-aware meet-cute with her co-star Glen Powell's character, Ben. But after a big misunderstanding, they soon go from strangers, to lovers, to enemies. It's a big misunderstanding, a big mess, and honestly, everything could probably have been solved through some better communication. But Sweeney tells us that it was this confusion that she really wanted to capture in the film — and the reason why her character felt an urge to run away from her connection with Powell's character. "[Bea] says that she had this fire that she felt like she had to put out because it was so new and sudden," she says.
It's this almost universal feeling of not being able to figure it all out, especially when dating, that Sweeney wanted to capture. "I think that it's a real-life thing for girls. Like, we're all trying to figure out what we want in life and who we are. And it's not all black and white. Like it's it's hard to figure it out."
Similarly, director Will Gluck, who has almost reached legendary rom-com status thanks to his previous work, Easy A and Friends With Benefits, says that the key to the film was its authenticity. "We're not trying to change the [rom-com] genre, we're just trying to make it as authentic and real as possible," he tells Refinery29 Australia. "Everyone who has seen rom-coms has seen that trope, but also in the movie, Glen Powell has probably also seen a rom-com, so he knows that trope."
Gluck explains that part of what makes Anyone But You stand out is in how self-aware it is. "I just want the characters to understand that they're not the first people going through these rom-com moments, because they've seen movies too," he says. "I just wanted for all the characters to feel as real and authentic as possible."
What makes Anyone But You different to many other rom-coms you might watch is in how it approaches female characterisation. While other movies might pit women against other women — particularly considering the love triangle we see in the film — it makes the characters friends who pick up cakes together. For Gluck, this was intentional. "That never interested me — if people are fighting with each other. Unless it's if they love each other," he says. "No one wants to see that. I don't want to see that."
So if you're a 20-something girlie (or someone who's still pretending to be in their 20s, like me), it's likely that this film will resonate with you. After all, we're all a bit messy, right?
Anyone But You will hit Australian cinemas this Boxing Day. You can watched advanced screenings in selected cinemas now.

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