Colleen Hoover responds to backlash over It Ends With Us movie casting: ‘I messed up’

Writer said controversy over the film’s casting of older actors was ‘my fault’

Louis Chilton
Tuesday 27 June 2023 05:19 BST
Blake Lively shares video of Ryan Reynolds colouring her hair

Author Colleen Hoover has responded to criticisms of the forthcoming film adaptation of her best-selling novel It Ends With Us.

The film, which stars Blake Lively and Justin Baldoni as two people in an abusive relationship, has faced criticism from the book’s fanbase over its casting.

After photographs of its cast on set were circulated online, fans voiced scepticism about Lively’s outfits, with many suggesting that her character, Lily Bloom, looked vastly different from how she was described in the book.

The age differences between Lively and Baldoni and their respective characters also prompted criticism from fans.

Lively is 35, while her character in the book was 23. Baldoni is 39, playing 30-year-old neurosurgeon Ryle Kincaid.

In an interview with Today, Hoover weighed in on the backlash.

“I don’t remember describing outfits at all,” she said. “I don’t care what they have on. In my head, it’s about the conversation they’re having and the story. It’s the same way in the movie.

“You’ve seen a couple of outfits that are completely out of context. I’m not worried about it.”

Speaking about the age discrepancy, Hoover explained that she had decided to age the characters up for the purposes of realism.

“Back when I wrote It Ends With Us, the new adult [genre] was very popular,” she said. “You were writing college-age characters. That’s what I was contracted to do.

“I didn’t know that neurosurgeons went to school for 50 years. There’s not a 20-something neurosurgeon. As I started making this movie, I’m like, ‘We need to age them out because I messed up.’ So that’s my fault.”

Colleen Hoover pictured in April 2023 (Getty Images for TIME)

It Ends With Us was first published in 2016, but experienced a surge in popularity years after its initial publication thanks to word-of-mouth enthusiasm among TikTok’s literary circles (commonly referred to as “BookTok”).

Speaking about her experience visiting the set of the film adaptation, Hoover said she was “blown away” by what she saw.

“I got to see the footage they filmed thus far,” she said. “I’m not a crier. I know that I write emotional books but I’m not an emotional person. And I cried so much on set.”

Addressing fans of her novel, she said: “You guys are going to be so happy. I’m extremely happy and now my expectations are up and I’m going to keep them there.”

A sequel to the novel, titled It Starts with Us, was published in February 2022.

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