How Old Is Hayes In The Idea of You? Here's Why They Changed His Age

3 May 2024, 12:00

How old is Hayes Campbell in The Idea of You? Here's why they changed his age
How old is Hayes Campbell in The Idea of You? Here's why they changed his age. Picture: Prime Video
Katie Louise Smith

By Katie Louise Smith

Why did The Idea of You change Hayes Campbell's age? Director Michael Showalter explains why Hayes was aged up in the film.

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Nicholas Galitzine's portrayal of August Moon heartthrob Hayes Campbell in The Idea of You is about to take over the entire internet, but there's one question on everyone's minds: How old is he?

In case you weren't aware, The Idea of You is based on a very popular book, written by Robinne Lee. The story follows 40-year-old Solène as she embarks on an expected, whirlwind romance with the much younger, and very very famous Hayes.

While the film stays true to a lot of key elements of the book, there's several big changes that affect the storyline in different ways. One of them is Hayes Campbell's age.

Now, the director Michael Showalter has explained why changing Hayes' age was necessary in order for the film to work.

How old is Hayes Campbell in The Idea of You?

The Idea of You changed Hayes Campbell&squot;s age so that audiences would "root" for him and Solène
The Idea of You changed Hayes Campbell's age so that audiences would "root" for him and Solène. Picture: Alamy

In the film, Hayes Campbell is 24 years old. In the book, he's 20. As a result, the age gap difference between Hayes and Solène is shortened from 19 years (book) to 16 years (film). (Solène is 39 in the book, and 40 in the film.)

And there is a very specific reason as to why the filmmakers decided that it was necessary to age Hayes – and Solène's daughter Izzy – up by several years for the film.

"We are trying to make a movie is broadly appealing. We wanted the audience to feel good about them, to feel good about their love affair and to root for them," director Michael Showalter told IndieWire.

"I think if he’s 20 years old and she’s 40, again, it just adds a layer of sort of impropriety or whatever that is great, but just not for this story, for this tone that we were going for," he added.

Had the ages stayed the same as the book, audiences would likely not have bought into the fantasy of Hayes and Solène's relationship and there may have been huge backlash towards the film and Solène's character.

Watch The Idea of You trailer

The aging up of Izzy also played a huge part in making the considerable age gap between Hayes and Solène a little less glaring and messy than it is in the book.

Izzy is 16 in the film, while she's 12 in the book. In the book, she's also a huge August Moon fan and loves Hayes. But in the film, it's noted very clearly that Izzy's favourite was always Rory, and that she's growing out of her obsessive August Moon phase anyway. In fact, Izzy lowkey roots for her mother and Hayes, at one point asking why she would break up with a "talented, kind feminist?”

Speaking about the impact that an aged-up Izzy lends to Hayes and Solène's relationship, Showalter explained: "There was this element of you’re cheating, you’re betraying your best friend essentially, you’re betraying your closest loved one by having an affair with that’s the one I love."

"It added a layer of scandal to it that is really intriguing and interesting, but felt like for what we were trying to do, it makes it a little harder to root for Solène and Hayes," he added.

Read more about The Idea of You here:

WATCH: Nicholas Galitzine Paints The Idea Of You's Hayes Campbell

Nicholas Galitzine Paints A Portrait While Answering Chaotic Questions | The Idea of You

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