Is ‘The Idea of You’ Harry Styles fan fiction? The author sets the record straight

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The highly-anticipated movie adaptation of Robinne Lee’s novel "The Idea of You" is finally here, and there's one question that fans can't quite shake: Is this story Harry Styles fan fiction?

Many fans drew a connection between Nicholas Galitzine's character, Hayes Campbell — an attractive British member of a five-person boy band, clad in tattoos who often dates older women — and Harry Styles. And while Lee has said that she pulled some inspiration for the leading man from Styles, he is not the only source.

"I think it's clickbait ... Everyone just goes straight to Harry Styles. I feel like that’s the person that’s going to get you the most clicks," Lee tells "Is there some Harry in there? Yes. But there’s like 23 other people in there. The Prince Harry references don’t get picked up on, and I mentioned him in the book directly."

Lee says other influences for Hayes, and August Moon as a whole, include celebrities and bands like Eddie Redmayne, Michael Hawkins, Duran Duran, John Taylor and Simon Le Bon.

So how did we get stuck on the Harry Styles of it all in the first place?

Where did the Harry Styles rumors start?

Following the publication of "The Idea of You" in 2017, Lee said that late-night YouTube surfing and a conversation with her husband, Eric Hayes, inspired the idea for this novel.

"I came across the face of a boy I’d never seen in a band I’d never paid attention to, and it was so aesthetically perfect... I spent a good hour or so Googling and trying to figure out who this kid was and in doing so I discovered that he often dated older women, and so the seed was planted," she told author Deborah Kalb.

She added, "I joked with him that I’d found the perfect guy and I was leaving him and our two kids, 'Oh, and by the way, he’s half my age.' My husband laughed, and then a moment later said, 'You know, that would make a great book.'"

Lee also started writing the novel in 2014, the peak One Direction era. At that point, they were still a group of five, their "Where We Are Tour" was in full swing and (nearly) everyone knew at least one thing about them.

Styles specifically was largely categorized as the "heartthrob" of the group, with a history of dating of older women.

And so, the Harry Styles-"The Idea of You" association was born.

Is August Moon based on One Direction?

Since Hayes Campbell is partially inspired by Harry Styles, it's not a stretch to assume some inspiration for the rest of the band came from One Direction.

But like Lee, the film’s choreographer, Dani Vitale, producers for the soundtrack, Savan Kotecha and Carl Falk, and the actors that play the members of August Moon say they made an intentional effort to set the band apart from One Direction and form their own lane.

"(One Direction's) very successful, and we're playing a boy band that's very successful, so there’s obviously going to be comparisons," Raymond Cham Jr., who plays Oliver in "The Idea of You," tells "We did try and I believe succeed in creating something new and something different."

Here's how One Direction and August Moon compare.

How the band was formed

In both the novel and movie, Hayes Campbell and the other members of August Moon auditioned with the intention of being in a boy band.

On the other hand, Harry Styles, Niall Horan, Zayn Malik, Liam Payne and Louis Tomlinson all auditioned to be on "The X Factor" as solo artists and were put together to form One Direction by judges Simon Cowell, Nicole Scherzinger and Louis Walsh.

The band members

At first mention in the novel, August Moon is described “a quintet of handsome lads from Britain who sang pleasant pop songs and drove tween girls mad.” This description extends to One Direction (although their fandom reached more than just tweens).

Each member of August Moon has their own shtick they're known for among their fanbase of "Moonheads." For example, Hayes is the "swagger one."

Similarly, while the members of One Direction had their associations, they were less concrete.

The line-up

In the original "The Idea of You" book, August Moon's line-up consisted of Hayes, Oliver, Rory, Simon and Liam.

Liam Payne is notably a former member of One Direction.

However, they changed this character when adapted the book for the screen. In "The Idea of You" film, August Moon is made up of Hayes, Oliver, Rory, Simon and Adrian.

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