Jane Beaird admits that she broke into the movie business because of her looks and not her acting talent. But the circumstances are unique.
The Park Cities native was a stand-in for Oscar-winning actress Anne Hathaway in The Intern, a comedy that will be in theaters on Sept. 25.
You could say it’s a role that Beaird was born to play, or at least since Hathaway’s breakthrough in the 2001 movie The Princess Diaries.
“I was the geekier version of her at that time,” Beaird said.
Since then, she’s been reminded numerous times of her uncanny physical resemblance to Hathaway, but the two never crossed paths until they worked together for two months while the film was shooting in New York last year.
Beaird graduated from Hockaday in 2006 and went to Wake Forest for two years, then transferred to New York University for its studio-art program. She worked alongside a sculptor in Manhattan for two years before returning to school to study fashion design.
About a year ago, Beaird was designing sweaters for Lord & Taylor when a friend noticed an advertisement for extras in the Hathaway film. Beaird showed up on a whim, and a week later, was hired to be a photo double and background actor for the star. Then Hathaway’s primary stand-in needed to leave the production because of a scheduling conflict.
“Slowly I started to stand in for her,” Beaird said. “I had never acted in my life. I tried my best. It was great training and I learned a lot.”
Of course, Beaird’s job essentially is not to be noticed in the film. Wearing the same wardrobe and hairstyle as the star, she appears in several wide-angle car scenes in which Hathaway’s character is a passenger, and you’ll also see her hands and the back of her head. But thanks to some movie magic, you just won’t know when you do.
Although Beaird’s background doesn’t include any acting, she’s been involved in plenty of creative endeavors. She took ballet for a decade growing up, and also is an avid painter.
Beaird joined the Screen Actors Guild union during production on The Intern, which co-stars Robert DeNiro, and she hopes the project opens more doors into acting. She subsequently did some background work on two episodes of the cable drama “The Knick” and appeared as a drugged-out hostage in an episode of “Law and Order: SVU.”
Whether her future involves working again with Hathaway is uncertain, but Beaird will cherish the experience either way.
“She’s amazing,” Beaird said. “She’s incredibly kind, beautiful, and intelligent.”