Hi Anna, nice to meet you! Because you’re an author I have to ask you.. You prefer read the book and then see the movie or vice-versa?
Anna Todd: Definitely the book first. Because I've always been a reader my whole life. So I rather read the book and then see the movie.
What was the inspiration for the After book besides the One Direction thing that everyone knows? Is there a specific book? Or a specific movie?
Anna: Yes there are a lot of different ones, honestly. For the book was mostly like Pride and Prejudice, Wuthering Heights, Hemingway… When you read the After series you can see that the characters talk a lot about literature, so there a lot or parallels between those stories and mine. I was also inspired by the movies like 10 Things I Hate about You, She’s All that… because of the ending. Is kind of the same. Like it’s a deal kind of… the girls been tricked it in that situation. Also I got inspiration from Vampire Diaries… The character Hardin is not the typical romance hero. In my books he is more harsh than most…
I’m glad you mention 10 Things I Hate About You… I think is one of the greatest comedies of the ’90. They also made a sequel, but it didn’t have anything in common with the first one…
Anna: Yes… I hate when they do that! They do that with the Cruel Intentions… I loved that movie. Cruel Intentions is like After 2, you will see. But they do this with the second Cruel Intentions – and I was like “What was this??”. Like… I did not want that!
But you think that this first movie – After could be the beginning of a franchise? Or is just a standalone movie?
Anna: The After movie is the adaptation of the first book. And even some of material from the first book we save it for… hopefully After 2. Because the first book is soooo long. It was impossible to fit it all.
You were involved in the production of the movie - you also worked at the screenplay?
Anna: Yeah, I got really lucky because we sold it to a smaller studio first, so I had a lot of control… I was at every casting, I chose the cast… I’m also a producer on the movie, I was on set every single day. So I was very involved. So I know exactly every scene.
So the Movie is a lot like you imagined to be…
Anna: Yes. Honestly it was a lot like this. I got to help choose some of the locations… if the bedroom didn’t look right or something in the room didn’t seem right we will move it. So I had a lot of control (laughing). We were really lucky.
Yes, you were! Not a lot of authors can do that…
Anna: Yes. Most of them can’t. So I got really lucky.
So when they choose the actors, you have some control?
Anna: Yes. Basically everyone that I want got the roles. But not just because of me, because we were all grup voting. But with Hero, specially… Hith him basically was “I will quit if you don’t hire him like… Now”. Because I knew it’s him. We met so many… and he wasn’t my favourite in the beginning, until I met him in person. And then I just knew… and everyone agreed with me. And then on the set they all said “Thank you”. Because he is perfect for this role. He is a Fiennes. Ralph Fiennes and Joseph Fiennes are his uncles. So he came from this business, he knows how to work hard and he is not like “lazy” or “millennial”… is really great!
How was with the director of the movie?
Anna: I got to meet a couple different choices. And she and I hit if off, and It was great. So I had some meetings with her before we started pre-production, and I worked a lot with the script… Some parts of the script I actually wrote myself. So it was a really collaborate effort. A lot of times when the studios will buy adaptations they say “We want to keep closes to the book”… but they don’t. With mine, they didn’t have a choice, because I was always there (laughing).
The director read the book first?
Anna: Yes, she did. And also a big part of the cast, they read the whole series. So it was really good to have this people who really want to make it closes is possible. Of course, there are some things that we need it to change because of timing, but it was really good.
In the movie some things differ from the books...
Anna: Yes it’s a different medium. And I tried to tell my readers.. it’s never gonna be exactly the same, and for me it doesn’t bother me if the people say “the book is better”… because I made the book! (laughing). So I’m like… thank you!