Are you ready, fanficcers? Because the floodgates are about to open.
Remember back in the day when all you had to do to be a respectable fanfic writer was to write a little slash (aka gay romance) featuring your favorite male or female (aka femme-slash) same sex couple, maybe with a little mpreg (aka male pregnancy…yeah, I know…) thrown in?
Well, the times, they are a’changin’.
If you thought Fifty Shades of Grey – the infamous Twilight fanfic turned infamous S&M novel, turned infamous…you get the picture – was a fluke, think again. Yet another fanfic turned novel is being adapted for the big screen!
This time it’s “After,” the novel that started life as a real world/celebrity fanfic on Wattpad. The story is a romance between college freshman Tessa Young and Harry Styles from the now defunct boyband One Direction.
The fanfic was a Wattpad phenomenon, getting over a billion online views to date. Agents and publishers, eager to lock up a hot property, contacted Wattpad in order to reach the writer, whose fanfic penname was Imaginator1D.
In 2014, Imaginator1D, aka Anna Todd, changed her male lead’s name to Hardin Scott, and the fanfic became a published novel that has since sold 11 million copies. Paramount Pictures acquired the movie rights that same year.
This year, outlets like the esteemed Billboard magazine and the British Broadcasting Corporation are reporting on the “After: The Movie” film project, and interviewing Todd who is serving as a producer.
Are you feeling like a slacker yet?
By the way, Hardin Scott is being played by actor Hero Fiennes Tiffin. You remember him – the guy who played a pre-Voldemort Tom Riddle Jr. in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.
Yeah... Somewhere Robert Pattinson is probably screaming “Don’t do it!”
Face it, fanfic isn’t just text-based anymore. Thanks to digital cameras, affordable special effects software, and of course free online video hosting platforms like YouTube, fans have gone multi-media.
It’s past time for you to step up your game.
So, to give you a taste of what you have to compete with, here are
Director: Justin Zagri; Screenwriters: Justin Zagri, based on characters created and owned by J.K. Rowling; 23 minutes; 2016; English; Production Company: Broad Strokes
This is one of two fan-made films that have gotten some serious mainstream media buzz lately. It depicts a post-Hogwarts hostile encounter between a young pre-potions master Severus Snape (Mick Ignis) and his perpetual enemies, James Potter (Garrett Schweighauser), Sirius Black (Kevin Allen), Remus Lupin (Paul Stanko) and Peter Pettigrew (Zachary David), aka the Marauders.
The opposing camps meet accidentally over butterbeers and pretty soon the hexes are flying. The actors are well cast, and the action sequences are choreographed pretty well, with impressive use of special effects to depict the magical crossfire.
Everyone remains in character – except for Lily (Dani Jae). The Lily depicted here still wants to be friends with Severus, if he ever eschews the Dark Arts, and lets him know it.
That doesn’t quite track because, as far as we know, Lily wanted nothing to do with the Slytherin after the incident in which he called her a “Mudblood.” In the Potter world, this is seen as an unforgiveable slur and Snape’s use of it shattered his friendship with Lily.
Nevertheless, this is a fan film that’s worth checking out, if only to see how well the casting of the pivotal role of Snape works out on film (since they’ve already done it for the stage in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child). And it actually works pretty well here.
Directors: Basile Bacon, Clément Ferrigno, Maxime Sanchez; Screenwriter: Based on characters created and owned by J.K. Rowling; 45 min. 22 sec.; 2016; French, Spanish and English; Production Company: PotterShow
This French-language film (with English and Spanish subtitles available) is a standout for its beautiful cinematography, visual style, and strong portrayal of Voldemort.
It starts at the very beginning, as his mother leaves the infant Tom Riddle Jr. At the orphanage and follows his life and the creation of his horcruxes at Hogwarts and after.
This film depicts a post-Hogwarts Tom Riddle Jr. (Léo Côté Petit François) as he schemes his way into at least one of the Founder artifacts that will become his horcrux.
François brings a depth and ferocity to Riddle that the Warner Brothers films – the great Ralph Fiennes notwithstanding – never quite achieved. Here, he’s still a human being, albeit a monstrous one, already partially transformed – see the red eyes – as he pursues black magic that will curdle his soul, further deform his appearance, and transform him into the Dark Lord.
The look of the film is dominated by rich green and blue tones, which add a sense of mystery while subtly referencing the watery green light of the Slytherin Common Room that lies beneath the lake. The supporting cast, particularly Gwladys Mourot as Hepzibah Smith, turn in solid performances.
Allegedly, this fan-made film was created via agreement with Warner Bros. Studios. Sadly, it seems that the company that created this film has gone defunct so we’re unlikely to see a sequel.
However, if you see, one fan-made Harry Potter film, see this one.
Director: Matthew Boerger, Caroline Boerger; Screenwriter: Matthew Boerger; Producer: Hayden Robinson; 48 min., 16 sec.; 2018; English; Production Company: Optio Productions
Atypically, this film sidesteps both Voldemort wars and Gellert Grindelwald and takes place in 1909. Expert wizard dualist Rudolph Morori (Hayden Robinson) is recruited by wizard official Montague Finch (Matthew Boerger) to provide protection as Finch investigates the disappearance of magical artifacts in connection with the bankruptcy of the aristocratic Connacht family.
The film has an intriguing cast of wizard characters, including the creepy current head of the Connacht family, Julian, and punctilious Adelia Honeycutt, freelance writer for wizard newspaper, The Seer. Honeycutt has information that Finch needs on a 17th century incident, “The Treason of Wyrm,” perpetrated by one Bartholomew Connacht.
The action unfolds like a film noir set in the Edwardian Era. The costumes and settings match the period, which is impressive for a fan-made film. And the story ends on a cliffhanger with a dark cabal of witches and wizards appearing to execute a traitor in their midst.
Part 2 is currently being edited and if it continues to build on Part 1, it should deliver a riveting resolution.
Director: Gianmaria Pezzato; Screenwriter: Gianmaria Pezzato, based on characters created and owned by J.K. Rowling; 52 min., 38 sec.; 2018; English; Production Company: Tryangle Films
This film is the second on this list that’s generated some mainstream media buzz. It is premised on the idea that all of the Hogwarts Founders, not just Salazar Slytherin, had an heir in the modern era to whom special powers were bequeathed.
Their identities are kept secret from the general Hogwarts population. But Tom Riddle seeks them out and befriends them – ultimately to eliminate them.
The film is set in the 1940s and opens with one of the putative heirs – the Gryffindor one, Grisha McLaggen (Maddalena Orcali) – being interrogated by a Russian wizard in the now-defunct Soviet Union. She relates a tragic tale of Riddle’s murder of her friends as well as the mission it’s pushed her into: the retrieval of Riddle’s cursed diary.
It’s not a perfect film. Performances could be more relaxed and the interrogation scenes wear a bit.
But hang in there. The notion of other heirs is actually quite intriguing and the flashbacks to their interactions with Riddle while at Hogwarts makes you wonder exactly how did Riddle amass the following of students who became his first Death Eaters.
The notion that Riddle could have had counterparts in the other houses should be explored further. The concept of Soviet wizards is engrossing as well.
The film creates a broader, deeper look at Rowling’s wizarding world that’s well worth a look. Best of all there’s quite a humdinger of an ending. It’ll be worth your time.
Get New Fanfiction Recommendations Every Week!
Get New Fanfiction Recommendations Every Week!