Интернет-магазин DONTA

‘The Idea of You’: 6 Biggest Changes From Harry Styles–Inspired Book to Movie

‘The Idea of You’: 6 Biggest Changes From Harry Styles–Inspired Book to Movie

A debrief of the major differences, from Hayes’s age to that ending.

The Idea of You spoilers ahead.

“Has anybody here read the book?” Anne Hathaway, star of The Idea of You, asked the live studio audience of The Tonight Show this week. She was met with complete silence, which prompted host Jimmy Fallon to interject, “We don’t read. This is The Tonight Show. You wanna go over to Stephen Colbert if you wanna get people that read books.”

But there is, in fact, a rabid fan base for Robinne Lee’s 2017 novel, which has inspired the movie now streaming on Prime Video. For proof, look no further than a recent screening of the film at New York City’s 92nd Street Y, where a few impassioned audience members audibly corrected panelists who apparently mispronounced Hathaway’s character’s name. Directed by Michael Showalter, who cowrote the film with Jennifer Westfeldt, The Idea of You follows Solène (so-lehn, thank you very much), a divorced 40-year-old art gallerist who falls for Nicholas Galitzine’s Hayes Campbell—the 24-year-old frontman of her teen daughter Izzy’s (Ella Rubin) former favourite boy band, August Moon.

Development on a film adaptation of the book began when Lee, an actor who appeared in the fan-fiction-inspired Fifty Shades movies, handed a copy of her tangentially similar novel to Gabrielle Union, her costar in 2003’s Deliver Us From Eva. Union, who starred in her own May-December romance in last year’s Netflix rom-com The Perfect Find, said at the 92nd Street Y event that she related to the material as someone who is married to “a younger man with a big life.” After coming on board as a producer, Union enlisted Oscar-winning producer Cathy Schulman and Hathaway, who became a staunch supporter of the source material. “I wanted to do right by them,” she previously told Entertainment Tonight of the book’s fans. “They love this thing and I take their love very seriously.”

While the movie remains true to the contours of the novel, there are several changes to be found—from the removal of certain supporting characters to a shift in location from Century City, California, to Silver Lake. “For me, it was like, there’s a great version of this movie that’s more like the book, [but] I’m just not the right person to do that,” director Michael Showalter told IndieWire. “So if you want me to do the movie, it would be a different kind of movie.” Ahead, a look at some of the most noticeable differences from book to screen, plus a dive into whether Galitzine is playing a version of Harry Styles.

The Harry Styles of It All

Although The Idea of You is a work of fiction, Hayes Campbell bears a close resemblance to real-life former boy band member Harry Styles. Though the film enlisted One Direction songwriter Savan Kotecha to write music for August Moon, Galitzine has shrugged off the association: “It was important to create someone who felt new and original and not a shoddy impersonation of this person,” he told BuzzFeed.

“This was never supposed to be a book about Harry Styles,” Robinne Lee told Vogue in 2020. “It was supposed to be a story about a woman approaching 40 and reclaiming her sexuality and rediscovering herself, just at the point that society traditionally writes women off as desirable and viable and whole.”

But Lee hasn’t denied that Styles served as her springboard for the character, who was named after her real-life husband, producer Eric Hayes. “A few years ago, my husband was away on business, and I was up late surfing music videos on YouTube when I came across the face of a boy I’d never seen in a band I’d never paid attention to, and it was so aesthetically perfect it took me by surprise,” Lee said in 2017. “It was like…art. I spent a good hour or so googling and trying to figure out who this kid was, and in doing so I discovered that he often dated older women, and so the seed was planted.”

‘The Idea of You’: 6 Biggest Changes From Harry Styles–Inspired Book to Movie

Jo Hale / Getty / Alisha Wetherill

When asked directly if Styles inspired the book, Lee told Vogue,Inspired is a strong word,” before listing some of her other muses—including Prince Harry, Eddie Redmayne, her husband, and a couple of ex-boyfriends. But she hasn’t totally pushed off the association. In 2019, she tweeted, “I Wrote a Book and Harry Styles Made All the Money: a Memoir.” The Idea of You’s acknowledgments also cite “my most favorite muse,” a mystery man to whom she writes, “I might have still written this story had I never seen his face. But I doubt it would have been as enjoyable.”

The Meet-Cute

Devotees of the book will notice that in the film, Solène and Hayes have their meet-cute at Coachella instead of a Las Vegas concert. When Izzy’s father, Daniel (Reid Scott), backs out of chaperoning his daughter’s trip to the music festival last-minute, Solène steps in—and promptly wanders into a pop star’s trailer that she mistakes for a public restroom. When she later crosses paths with Hayes and his August Moon members, one of his bandmates quips, “You don’t look like my mum.”

‘The Idea of You’: 6 Biggest Changes From Harry Styles–Inspired Book to Movie

Alisha Wetherill

Solène’s Characterisation

On the page, Solène reads sophisticated, but a bit cold—prone to blaming her French upbringing for the superiority she sometimes feels. That has been largely smoothed away onscreen—this Solène feels warmer, a self-proclaimed “people pleaser from New Jersey” (a descriptor Hathaway has copped to suggesting). Hathaway, who said at the 92nd Street Y event that she insisted a previous version of the script in which her character was named “Sophie,” be changed, shared another juicy bit of inspiration with the audience. Toward the end of the film, when Solène cries then laughs while reminiscing about her relationship with Hayes, she wanted to emulate a similar scene featuring Diane Lane in 2002’s Unfaithful.

“My take on it, and Jennifer Westfeldt was on the project prior to me being there, was very much riffing off of Notting Hill,” Showalter explained to IndieWire. “The Hugh Grant character is an everyman, and so I needed Solène to be an everywoman, in a sense. In the book, I didn’t feel like Solène is an everywoman.” He continued, “I wanted the audience to feel some sense of ‘I could be that person. I could bump into the biggest pop star in the world, and they could fall in love with me.’ That’s sort of the wish-fulfilment adventure I think Notting Hill is. What is it that he says? ‘Of every bookstore or whatever in the city, she walks into mine.’”

Hayes’s and Izzy’s Ages

The sordid nature of the book’s logline, “What if your teenager’s fantasy was your reality?,” gets sanitised a bit by changing the ages of both Hayes and Solène’s daughter, Izzy. In the film, they’ve been aged up from 20 and 12 to 24 and 16, respectively. “We wanted the audience to feel good about them, to feel good about their love affair and to root for them,” Showalter told IndieWire. Making Izzy older, and firmly of the opinion that August Moon is “so seventh grade,” also allows the character to be more of a sounding board for her mother: “Mum, why would you break up with a talented, kind feminist?”

‘The Idea of You’: 6 Biggest Changes From Harry Styles–Inspired Book to Movie

Alisha Wetherill

To further cushion any blowback, the film makes clear that Izzy’s favourite August Moon member was “always Rory,” and never Hayes, as it was in the book. “There was this element of ‘You’re cheating, you’re betraying your best friend essentially, you’re betraying your closest loved one by having an affair with…the one I love,’” Showalter told IndieWire of the switch. “It added a layer of scandal to it that is really intriguing and interesting. But [it] felt like for what we were trying to do, it makes it a little harder to root for Solène and Hayes.”

The Amount of Sex

“The movie is not a sex fest, but much like the new film Challengers, it runs on the energy of implied sex, of passion guiding people to deeper experience,” Vanity Fair’s Richard Lawson writes in his review of the film. True to that assessment, there are far fewer steamy scenes onscreen than in the pages of Lee’s book—and what does appear in the film is much less explicit. Gone is Solène’s thrilling discovery that Hayes is more orally passionate than her ex-husband, or an X-rated scene where the couple has sex for the first time sans condom on her dining room table. In their place, we get rather stimulating montages of the pair’s lovemaking, as well as a particularly spirited postcoital sequence involving room service chicken fingers and Wang Chung’s “Dance Hall Days.”

The Ending

One of the most contentious aspects of the book remains its unhappy ending. Torn apart by a barrage of negative press, Solène breaks up with Hayes out of concern for her daughter’s well-being but suggests an arrangement akin to Carrie and Aidan’s five-year sabbatical on And Just Like That…. In the book, though, the breakup becomes permanent. “He called me. In the beginning, every day. Multiple times. Although I would not answer. And he texted. At first often, and then every few days or so. It went on for months,” Solène says of Hayes. “These little messages that would paralyse me. And to which I resisted responding. Because I had made a choice. I miss you. I’m thinking of you. I still love you. And then one day, they stopped. Long, long before I had stopped loving him.”

But the film offers a far sunnier outcome. It ends by cutting to five years after the split, where our star-crossed lovers eventually reunite at her gallery. We don’t see them get back together, but the prospect of reconciliation is very much alive. “We felt like a more uplifting ending was what would be most satisfying for our audience,” Showalter told RadioTimes. “And ultimately, the audience is what matters most when making a movie like this.”

Even Lee has entertained the possibility of a more optimistic addendum. “Pretty much right after I finished writing [The Idea of You], I started writing notes for what could possibly be a sequel, mostly because I couldn’t get them out of my head,” she told Vogue. “Every once in a while, I’ll feel it really strongly, and I’ll sit down and I’ll write a scene or two, and I have a file that’s getting longer and longer,” she added. “I didn’t kill them off for a reason.”

This feature originally appeared on Vanity Fair.