The Idea Of You’s Producer Explains A Big Change They Made While Adapting The Book, And Why It Was Important

 Anne Hathaway as 'Solène' and Ella Rubin as 'Izzy' smiling while standing right next to each other in the crowd of a concert.
Anne Hathaway as 'Solène' and Ella Rubin as 'Izzy' smiling while standing right next to each other in the crowd of a concert.

Change is inevitable in life and book-to-screen adaptations. In the latest adaptation to hit the 2024 movie schedule, The Idea of You, there were quite a few changes made. However, one alteration producer Cathy Schulman pointed out as a very important one revolves around the choice to age up Solène’s daughter Izzy – who is by Anne Hathaway’s character’s side as she navigates her romantic relationship with 24-year-old Hayes Campbell, the frontman of a boyband – and she explained why.

Izzy is 13 in Robinne Lee’s book; in the movie, she’s 17. That’s a serious age jump, and it opens up doors for Solène to have more nuanced conversations with her daughter because she’s more mature and aware of the complexities of her relationship with Hayes. To this point, producer Cathy Schulman explained why this change was important during a press conference for the film adaptation of The Idea of You that CienmaBlend attended, saying:

In starting the development process, the first thing that I think felt really necessary was that we aged up the daughter from who she had been in the book. We wanted Solène’s character to have someone to speak to and to really be able to be open about the changes that were happening in her own life.

She went on to say that she brought up the change because it plays into the “message” of the film which is that “women shouldn’t be put in boxes.” Through Solène’s relationship with Izzy, we’re able to see them communicate very well about their desires and Hathaway’s character’s relationship with Hayes. Izzy is also old enough that she’s very independent, and while obviously, her daughter is a top priority in her life, Solène is able to spend more time with her boyfriend and work.

To this point, Schulman elaborated on the message of The Idea of You and how the aged-up mother-daughter relationship helped illuminate it, saying:

It was really important that we could look at what it was like to be going from one phase of mothering and a first marriage into the possibilities of more happiness, while also bringing a young person into her womanhood. And I think those are the messages that we hope the movie will leave, which is the possibility for happiness, and the importance of keeping yourself vulnerable to allow happiness back in.

Schulman went on to say that when we meet Solène she’s at a point where she wants to go on a camping trip and self-actualize, her daughter is almost grown up, and she’s trying to figure out what her life holds next, because “it’s not done.” There’s so much more in store for her and she’s at a turning point, Izzy being older helps show that off. The producer ended her explanation, saying:

So the whole development process was about opening up the story to get us there.

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Along with aging up Izzy being a smart choice for the story, it also made it so they could cast Ella Rubin in the role. The 22-year-old actress, who really looks like she could be Anne Hathaway’s daughter, spoke at the press conference about how grateful she was for the change, and she called getting the role and this modification a “serendipitous, very lucky thing.”

Overall, this change makes a lot of sense, and it’s nice to see Izzy and Solène supporting each other and raising each other up throughout the film. While that's possible with a 13-year-old, there's no doubt that a 17-year-old is much better when it comes to holding mature conversations with their parents.

Clearly, alterations like this worked alongside the emotional story, stellar casting and fun music, because The Idea of You was met with great reactions from critics and fans, and some are even comparing it to the rom-com classic Notting Hill. Overall, it seems like this project is poised to be one of Amazon Prime’s best films, and it’s in part because of the creative choices they made to support Solène’s complex and emotional journey.

You can stream The Idea of You with an Amazon subscription