The Idea of You's success is proof that fanfiction is driving cinema

Harry Styles and the rise of fanfiction-inspired films

Anne Hathaway as 'Solène' and Nicholas Galitzine as 'Hayes Campbell' star in THE IDEA OF YOU
(Image credit: Amazon Prime)

This month saw the highly-anticipated release of Prime Video’s The Idea of You. The romantic comedy starring Anne Hathaway and Nicholas Galitzine is currently topping the streaming charts,

The film—which has been adapted from a bestselling book by the same name—follows the unexpected love story between Solène, a 40-year-old single mother, and Hayes Campbell, a 24-year-old pop star and lead singer of the boy band August Moon.

Since its release, The Idea of You has been praised for challenging the stigma of older women dating younger men and opening important conversations around the taboos commonly faced by middle-aged women.

However, the inspiration behind The Idea of You has been the biggest talking point. Galitzine’s character, Hayes Campbell, is widely reported to be based on pop singer Harry Styles, making August Moon (you guessed it) based on One Direction.

Viewers were quick to spot similarities between Campbell and Styles from the trailer alone (the most-watched streaming movie trailer ever), noting the identical placement of their tattoos, similarities in their accents, correlations in their on-stage performances, and the rebranding of “Directioners” as “Moon Heads.”

Nicholas Galitzine as 'Hayes Campbell', Raymond Cham Jr. as 'Oliver', Jaiden Anthony as 'Adrian', Viktor White as 'Simon' and Dakota Adan as 'Rory' star in THE IDEA OF YOU

Nicholas Galitzine as 'Hayes Campbell'

(Image credit: Amazon Prime)

The internet is convinced that The Idea of You is inspired by Harry Styles fanfiction - symbolising a significant shift from the fanfic community to the big screen.

Over the last few years, an increasing number of films have supposedly drawn inspiration from Styles. With a track record of Wattpad fanfiction successfully transforming fanfic into blockbuster hits, the medium is now a driving force in cinema.

Take Netflix’s 2019 romance film, After, based on another Harry Styles-inspired character and 2023’s hit teen drama My Life With the Walter Boys, and romantic drama Float, adapted directly from Wattpad. Not to mention two major fan fiction successes: The Kissing Booth, which was adapted from a Wattpad novel, and Fifty Shades of Grey, which originated on

The buzz around The Idea of You feels like a whole new level of success, with its A-list cast and important takeaways managing to hit the zeitgeist and triumph in streaming figures.

Could this be a new era of cinema? With Wattpad home to over 90 million users, the opportunities for what could become future box office hits are endless.

Jenny Proudfoot
Features Editor

Jenny Proudfoot is an award-winning journalist, specialising in lifestyle, culture, entertainment, international development and politics. She has worked at Marie Claire UK for seven years, rising from intern to Features Editor and is now the most published Marie Claire writer of all time. She was made a 30 under 30 award-winner last year and named a rising star in journalism by the Professional Publishers Association.