The Scottish singer shot to fame on TV show Britain's Got Talent in 2009 by belting out the musical's most famous number for judges including Simon Cowell, and the clip became an Internet phenomenon around the world.
Hathaway sings the track in Tom Hooper's new big screen adaptation of the hit stage show and the actress has now revealed she watched Boyle's performance in awe before following in her footsteps in the role of Fantine.
She told Britain's OK! magazine: "I think she's adorable, and her story was so heart-warming. Before I knew I was going to play Fantine, I'd watched that clip (of Britain's Got Talent), when I was having a low day, and it just made me feel so wonderful.
"The thing about it was of course her, but the thing that's also fun is to watch Simon Cowell's mind racing, as a producer and an adding machine! I just loved that clip!"
Hathaway added of the song: "It was really exciting to take this iconic song, which is so beloved, and find a way to put it through the prism of film - and that meant having to go very, very, very deep inside myself to some uncomfortable places.
"But that's what we do, and those are the jobs that you remember and those are the ones that make you grow."