Paramount has reportedly optioned After, a book that began life as an erotic fan-fiction opus that reimagines Harry Styles, a floppy-haired member of British boy band One Direction, as a sadistic yet irresistible sex fiend named “Hardin Scott.” According to an article in The Guardian, author Anna Todd, a 25-year-old Texan, began writing the series to keep herself occupied while her husband was deployed in Iraq before it exploded virtually, racking up over a billion hits in ebook form. We have no idea what that means, but it sounds impressive. A billion? That’s like a hundred bazillion million or something. (Full disclosure: I did very poorly in math throughout high school.)
Todd’s steamy tome was inspired both by Harry Styles and by EL James’ Fifty Shades Of Grey, which itself began life as lightly altered Twilight fan fiction. Todd told Newsbeat, “I loved Fifty Shades and reading it sort of changed my adult reading life and definitely influenced After.” Hear that kids? Your best move is probably to drop out of college and really devote yourself to James Franco adult fan fiction or erotic imaginings involving The Avengers, because that’s where the money is these days, apparently.
The antihero of Todd’s book is a student rather than a pop star and has a different name, but the same initials. One Direction fans are concerned enough about the similarities to their idol that over 23,000 have signed an online petition at Change.org titled “The book was bad enough, don’t let them make it into a movie,” pleading with Paramount not to make the film:
“After is not a love story. It's the tale of a girl who is physically, mentally, and emotionally abused by a misogynistic boy, who everyone, and by that I mean EVERYONE, will see as Harry Styles. Whether or not the name is changed, everyone will know who its originally about, and we can't have him portrayed as that. Anna Todd is a lying, scheming woman trying to make money off of young, innocent fans, and its working. Teen girls see this relationship as healthy, and want something like this for their future. Please, this is not me being spiteful, or jealous. I'm thinking of all the 12+ year olds thinking that this is love, and that its ok, when its not. Keep After a fan fiction, it's not meant to be in theatres everywhere.”
I also think this book should not be made into a film, not because I’m worried about Styles or his reputation, but because this sounds like a really questionable idea.