Justin Baldoni Explains Decision to Age Up Characters in ‘It Ends With Us,’


Justin Baldoni Explains Decision to Age Up Characters in ‘It Ends With Us,’ Credits Blake Lively for Getting Taylor Swift Song in Trailer


The highly anticipated film adaptation of Colleen Hoover’s best-selling novel “It Ends With Us” has stirred significant buzz online, particularly after the release of its trailer. Directed by and starring Justin Baldoni, the movie also features Blake Lively and Brandon Sklenar. This adaptation brings a beloved story to the big screen, but not without some notable changes that have sparked discussion among fans and critics alike.

Background of ‘It Ends With Us’

“It Ends With Us” is a powerful novel by Colleen Hoover that explores themes of love, resilience, and the impact of domestic violence. The story follows Lily Bloom, a young woman who, after overcoming a traumatic childhood, starts a new chapter in her life. She forms a passionate relationship with neurosurgeon Ryle Kincaid, only to discover unsettling parallels between his behavior and her parents’ troubled marriage.

The Adaptation Process

Adapting a beloved book into a film is always a delicate process, fraught with challenges. Fans have high expectations, and staying true to the essence of the story while making it suitable for the screen can be a daunting task. The trailer for “It Ends With Us” has already ignited a mix of excitement and skepticism, showcasing glimpses of the adaptation that fans have long awaited.

Justin Baldoni’s Role

Justin Baldoni, known for his roles in “Jane the Virgin” and “Five Feet Apart,” takes on the dual role of director and star in this film. His involvement has been pivotal, bringing his unique vision and passion to the project. Baldoni’s deep connection to the material is evident in his dedication to honoring the source while making necessary adjustments for the film adaptation.

Aging Up the Characters

One of the most discussed changes in the film is the decision to age up the characters. In Hoover’s novel, Lily Bloom is 23 when the story begins. However, in the film adaptation, the characters are portrayed as older. Baldoni explains that this decision was made to broaden the story’s appeal and make it more relatable to a wider audience. By presenting the characters as more mature, the filmmakers aimed to underscore the universality of the themes explored in the story.

The Character of Lily Bloom

Blake Lively’s portrayal of Lily Bloom brings a nuanced and compelling depth to the character. Lively’s performance is expected to resonate with audiences, capturing Lily’s strength and vulnerability. The decision to age up Lily allows for a more layered depiction of her journey, making her experiences and choices more relatable to a broader audience.

Ryle Kincaid’s Character

Justin Baldoni not only directs but also stars as Ryle Kincaid, the charming yet complex neurosurgeon. Baldoni’s portrayal aims to highlight the multifaceted nature of Ryle’s character, exploring the dynamics of his relationship with Lily. This character’s portrayal is crucial, as it delves into the themes of love, trauma, and redemption.

Fan Reactions and Backlash

The decision to age up the characters has been met with mixed reactions online. Some fans appreciate the broader appeal and deeper exploration of the characters’ lives, while others feel a strong attachment to the original ages depicted in the book. Baldoni acknowledges this feedback, emphasizing the care and thought that went into making these changes to enhance the story’s impact.

Significance of the Story

“It Ends With Us” addresses significant themes such as trauma, healing, and the cycles of abuse. By aging up the characters, the filmmakers aim to highlight the story’s relevance to a wider audience, underscoring that these issues can affect people of all ages and backgrounds. The story’s powerful message about resilience and the importance of breaking harmful cycles remains at the heart of the film.

The Trailer Buzz

The release of the trailer generated substantial buzz on social media, with fans eagerly dissecting every frame. The anticipation for the film has been building for years, and the trailer offered a first glimpse of how the beloved novel has been brought to life. The initial reactions have been a mix of excitement and curiosity about the changes made in the adaptation.

Taylor Swift’s Song in the Trailer

One of the standout moments in the trailer is the inclusion of Taylor Swift’s song “My Tears Ricochet.” This addition adds an emotional layer to the trailer, enhancing the poignant themes of the story. Justin Baldoni credits Blake Lively, a close friend of Swift, for securing the song’s inclusion. Lively’s involvement in this aspect adds another layer of star power and fan interest to the film.

The Premiere at The Garfield Movie

At the Los Angeles premiere of “The Garfield Movie,” where Baldoni also serves as an executive producer, he addressed the reactions to the “It Ends With Us” trailer. Baldoni expressed gratitude for the positive reception and acknowledged the challenges of adapting such a beloved book. His comments highlighted the dedication and care that went into every aspect of the film’s production.

Honoring the Source Material

Balancing fidelity to the source material with the creative liberties necessary for a film adaptation is no small feat. The filmmakers have worked diligently to honor the essence of Colleen Hoover’s novel while making adjustments to enhance its cinematic appeal. Feedback from fans of the book will undoubtedly continue to shape the conversation around the film.

Future Expectations

As the film’s release date approaches, anticipation continues to build. Fans of the novel are eager to see how the story translates to the big screen, and new audiences will be introduced to its powerful themes. The impact of “It Ends With Us” is expected to resonate deeply, sparking discussions and reflections on its poignant message.


In adapting “It Ends With Us,” Justin Baldoni and his team have navigated the complex process of bringing a beloved story to life on screen. The decision to age up the characters, the inclusion of Taylor Swift’s song, and the dedicated efforts to honor the source material all contribute to a film that aims to resonate with a wide audience. As the release date nears, the film promises to be a significant and impactful addition to the landscape of literary adaptations.


Why were the characters aged up? The characters were aged up to make the story more universal and relatable to a wider audience. This decision helps underscore the themes of the story, which affect people of all ages.

How closely does the movie follow the book? While the film makes some changes, such as aging up the characters, it aims to stay true to the essence and themes of Colleen Hoover’s novel. The adaptation seeks to honor the source material while making it suitable for a cinematic experience.

What role did Blake Lively play in securing the Taylor Swift song? Blake Lively, a close friend of Taylor Swift, played a significant role in securing the inclusion of “My Tears Ricochet” in the trailer. Her involvement added an emotional layer to the film’s promotion.

What has been the fan reaction to the trailer? The trailer has generated a mix of excitement and skepticism. While many fans are thrilled to see the adaptation, others are curious and cautious about the changes made from the book