Josephine Langford Isn’t The Next Bella Swan, But She’s Ready For Everything After After

The Australian actress is set to break out in the movie adaptation of a fan fiction phenomenon, and she’s curiously calm about everything that comes with that.

Josephine Langford is locked out of her hotel room. The actress has just wrapped three full days of interviews, TV appearances, and the Hollywood premiere of her new movie, After. It’s finally evening, and she’s been in heels all day. Now would have been a great time to relax and unwind. If she’s tired or stressed about the lockout, she doesn’t betray that over the phone. Instead, she told me in a chipper tone that she’s just taken off her heels and is preparing to hang out in the hotel hallway, barefoot, to “pace and chat.”
After, out April 12, is based on the eponymous bestselling book series that started as One Direction fan fiction on Wattpad (the same fiction-focused internet community that begat another beloved teen romance, Netflix’s The Kissing Booth). The original version of After, which has racked up 542 million views as of this writing, includes a romantic lead named Harry Styles, and Harry’s pals Zayn, Liam, Louis, and Niall. But when the stories blew up and author Anna Todd, aka Imaginator1D on Wattpad, landed a multimillion-dollar book deal with Gallery books, legalities came into play. The dashing, brooding brit was renamed Hardin Scott (played by Hero Fiennes-Tiffin in the film); Zayn became Zed Evans (Samuel Larsen).


A very vocal segment of the 1D fandom also took issue with Todd’s fictional portrayal of Styles as a jerk — one particularly zealous fan even started a petition called “Do not produce glamorized fan fiction!” in protest. On the pro side are millions of fans, who’ve spent the weeks leading up to After’s release ensuring that #Hessa (the hashtag for the film’s OTP, Hardin and Tessa) really becomes a thing on Twitter.
And into the eye of this storm waltzed Langford to play Tessa, our heroine and Hardin’s object of affection.
“When I was first cast, Anna [Todd] and the producers let us know that this might be something big, because of the fan base,” Langford tells Refinery29. “I’ve had a year to mentally prepare for it.” She’s already met giddy, mostly supportive fans in person; one even told Langford she was “more Tessa than Tessa.”
The Australian actor was born and raised in Perth, but since landing a starring role opposite Ryan Phillippe in Wish Upon in 2017, she’s rarely in one place for long. In the past year, she said she’s only been home for a total of three days, which is the reason she’s finally decided to relocate to Los Angeles “soon,” although she notes that New York is more her speed.
It’s been an intense year for the 20-year-old, who watched her older sister, 13 Reasons Why star Katherine Langford, became a star overnight. But nothing could prepare the younger Langford for the ferociousness with which After fans approached her at a recent book signing in Madrid.

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