It ends with us author Colleen Hoover opened up about the controversy surrounding the casting of Blake Lively and Justin Baldoni in Sony’s adaptation of her bestseller of the same name.
In conversation with Today‘s Jenna Bush Hager at Hoover’s Book Bananza festival in Texas, the author shared details about the upcoming adjustmentsaying that the choices fans were worried about were her decision.
One thing that fans don’t seem happy about is the casting of Lively and Baldoni as Lily and Ryle, respectively, because in the book, Lily is 23 and Ryle is 30, while Lively is 35 and Baldoni is 39. Hoover explained that she had seen the characters in the movie in an attempt to correct a mistake she made in the book.
“When I wrote It ends with us, the new adult (genre) was very popular,” she said. “You wrote college-age characters. That’s what I had to do. I made Lily very young. I didn’t know neurosurgeons went to school for 50 years.”
Hoover continued, “There isn’t a twenty-something neurosurgeon. When I started making this movie, I thought, ‘We have to age them, because I messed up.’ So that’s my fault.”
She pointed out that despite some of the backlash, she’s “extremely happy” with their casting, sharing that she’s been “obsessed” with Lively ever since Gossip Girl and couldn’t believe the actress had agreed to star in the adaptation.
“I was like, ‘Yeah, okay, that would be great,'” she said. “I think (Baldoni, who also directs and executive produces) expected (me) to just yell into the phone. But he doesn’t realize… I haven’t allowed myself to get really excited because I thought something might happen. It’s not finished filming yet. Anything can go wrong.”
The author also touched on the conversations surrounding Lily’s outfits, which were shot in New Jersey before production was halted due to the writers’ strike. She said she didn’t really envision certain outfits when she was writing the book, but “loves” the conversation the photos have created because it means people care about her.
Lily’s style has been described as confused and difficult to predict, as she wears camouflage on some days, blue boxer shorts under patterned pants on other days, and sometimes multi-colored baggy jumpers.
“I don’t remember describing any outfits at all,” Hoover continued. “I don’t care what they’re wearing. In my mind, it’s about the conversation they’re having and the story. It’s the same in the movie.” She added that she’s not worried because what people have seen are outfits that are out of context, and they’ll all make sense in the movie.
According to his description, It ends with us follows Lily after moving to a new town, where she meets and falls in love with Ryle, a neurosurgeon, with whom she has an abusive relationship. Then her first love, Atlas (played by Brandon Skelnar), reappears and challenges the new relationship.
Despite the concerns fans have, the writer believes that when It ends with us comes to life on the big screen, the movie people want is the movie they’re going to get. She said she saw some footage when she visited the set and cried “so much”, even though she insists she’s not an emotional person.
“You’ll be so happy,” Hoover said. “I’m extremely happy, and now my expectations are higher, and I’m going to keep them there.”