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'Did they even read the book?' Why people are so angry about Blake Lively's upcoming movie.

In January 2023, it was announced that Colleen Hoover's bestselling novel It Ends With Us would be adapted into a film, with Blake Lively as the lead character, Lily Bloom. 

The news sent giddy shockwaves through the lit community, with adoring fans chomping at the bit to see their favourite book get the Hollywood treatment - and just a few months after the big announcement was made, production kicked off, with cast and crew filming in New Jersey.

Just months after the birth of her fourth child, Lively was pictured on-set with paparazzi pictures filtering through social media sites, and fans eager to get a first look at the adaptation.

And something quite... intense started unfolding online.

Fans of Colleen Hoover's books started reacting with fervent anger. In short: they were not at all happy with what they were seeing.

A simple search on TikTok, Twitter or Instagram will bring up thousands of comments with the exact same sentiment. So why was everyone in such a tizz? I mean, it's just a movie after all, right?

Well, that might be downplaying the scope of Colleen Hoover's work and how she has quickly become the most prolific and popular novelists in the romance genre over the past decade.

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It has been quite a journey to get here, fraught with controversy, backlash and strike delays – but now, with more information coming out about the movie and its production, it looks like there is light on the horizon.

Here’s everything we know.

Who's in It Ends With Us?

As we know, the lead role of Lily Bloom is played by none other than Blake Lively, but who else has scored a spot on the highly coveted cast list? 

Playing alongside Lively is Justin Baldoni, who is stepping into the shoes of commitment-phobe neurosurgeon, Ryle Kincaid. It was also announced that Baldoni will not only be in front of the camera, he's also on board as the film's director.

Brandon Sklenar will be taking on the role of Atlas Corrigan, Lily's high school sweetheart, who comes back into her life in later years. Sklenar is best known for his most recent role in the Yellowstone spin-off, 1923.

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Elsewhere in the cast, you have comedian Jenny Slate playing Ryle's sister Allysa, and Hasan Minjah playing the part of Allysa's husband, Marshall.

When is the It Ends With Us release date?

Unfortunately, this project has been the subject of not only backlash but also big delays to production, which has pushed out the release date several times.

When filming kicked off in May 2023, there was a lot of buzz surrounding the project, which no doubt encouraged producers to expedite the premiere. However, just a month later, the Hollywood writers' strike meant that all production ceased while a deal lingered.

Fresh reports then gave a new release date of February 2024, but when Lively and her cast mates were spotted filming in early January of this year, that date was again revised.

Originally, Sony Pictures announced a February 9 premiere date, but the theatrical release has now been pushed back to June 21. And while it's taking a little bit longer than fans would like, hopefully this gives them more time to make it perfect.

Watch: Mamamia writer shares her most-recommended books to read. Post continues below.


Video via Mamamia.
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What is the controversy surrounding It Ends With Us?

Since releasing her self-published first novel Slammed in 2012, Texas native Hoover went on to release another 24 books and novellas with 11 of them making it into The New York Times bestsellers list. Some 20 million book sales later, she's now outselling The Bible - so, it's safe to say her reach stretches far and wide.

Across the globe you'll find millions of 'CoHorts' (Colleen's fan base) singing the praises of their beloved author with fan accounts, blogs and newsletters dedicated to the characters brought to life in her books. Hoovermania is well and truly among us - and It Ends With Us is arguably Hoover's most popular book.

Released in 2016, the novel follows the story of a young aspiring entrepreneur (Lily Bloom) who starts a fresh life in Boston after losing her father.

While beginning her new journey, she starts up a new relationship with a doctor named Ryle, at the same time she starts unpacking trauma from her past. 

The novel was an instant number-one bestseller and with it came legions of fans. 'CoHorts' and romance novel aficionados alike became instantly attached to the character of Lily.

But the casting of Lively to play Lily didn't sit well with fans. While Lily Bloom is 23 in the book, Lively is now 35 and a mother of four, which isn't in line with the depiction of the young graduate/florist fans have grown to love.

With Lively so high profile and glamorous, fans struggled to see her as the quirky, naïve Lily Bloom.

Then, when on-set pictures were released of Lively wearing various garments that didn't seem to match the looks described in the book, the disdain from fans was loud. They felt like they were being let down. The book that they had become so tethered to wasn't living up to their standards.

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What is Colleen Hoover's reaction to the backlash?

Hoover addressed the backlash in an interview with Today, saying, "I don’t remember describing outfits at all. 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."

Hoover has also spoken about the casting choices that were made.

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

"As I started making this movie, I’m like, 'We need to age them out because I messed up.' So that’s my fault."

Given that Hoover's novel It Ends With Us deals with themes of trauma, abuse, grief, love and control, it is no surprise that it has struck such a chord with readers. 

On the other hand, everyone could be getting all hot and bothered for no reason. In fact, the release of the on-set pictures back in 2023 could've been a marketing tactic or a way to preserve the integrity of the finished product. 

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You might remember something similar happening in the lead-up to the release of And Just Like That. With such heavy anticipation for the wardrobe of the lead characters, the showrunner threw fans off the scent by releasing on-set images of the cast in more lacklustre looks.

Of course, outrage ensued but when the show premiered, viewers were pleasantly surprised to see their favourites in fierce outfits. What's to say a similar strategy hasn't been enlisted here?

Only time will tell.

This article was originally published in June 2023, and has since been updated with new information.

Feature Image: Getty.

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