It was the 2019 film that took Gen Z by storm. The brainchild of Anna Todd, the author’s online book series After, captured the attention of filmmakers when it went viral on an internet fan fiction website from 2013. Now, the series has made a steamy return for the hotly-anticipated sequel After We Collided. Starring Australian export, Josephine Langford, Englishmen Hero Fiennes-Tiffin and American Dylan Sprouse, the newly-released instalment finds Tessa (played by Langford) struggling with her complicated relationship with Hardin (Fiennes-Tiffin) as she is tempted by Trevor (Sprouse). Tessa’s dilemma is one that could change their lives forever.
Within the film the collective dynamic is teeming with suspense and sexual tension but off-set the talented trio exude nothing but energy and lighthearted sarcasm.
“We’re paid to like each other,” jokes Sprouse as he talks to our editorial director, Jessica, via a Zoom call.
In conversation about love, confidence and those scenes, we put the character’s dilemmas to the actors – and see what they would do when it comes to matters of the head versus the heart.
After We Collided is in cinemas now.
GRAZIA: Congratulations on this film! It so much sexier from the first one. Hero and Josephine, are those steamy scenes challenging to film?
Josephine: “Scenes that [require us to be] emotionally vulnerable can be more difficult than scenes [where] we have to be physically vulnerable. When you’re doing it with someone where you’ve already had that dynamic and you’ve done it before… and when you’re doing it in a professional environment, it’s very technical and it’s very much like any other scene.”
Dylan, we love you in this role – and in a suit! Trevor is very smooth in his first interactions with Tessa in the elevator. Were you that smooth in real life when it came to flirting?
Dylan: “Uh no, not even a little bit. I was a larger than average child, my teenage years were spent consuming lots of tapioca pudding and I was never a hit with ladies. Actually my brother was quite the ladies man, I never learned and by the Gods it’s a miracle that I manage to have the girlfriend I have today. But I put a lot of acting into use to try and play that scene.”
Hero, we spoke to you during the press junket for the first film and you said one on the biggest lessons you’d learnt in a relationship was to be honest. Was it harder playing Hardin in this film because as we see, he’s not so honest at times?
Hero: “It’s a good question. I guess when your character does something you don’t necessarily agree with personally, such as being honest in a relationship, you kind of have to detach your own opinions from it when you’re play the role – I guess put yourself in a position where you completely agree and back everything they do and say. I got myself to a place where I understood the reasoning as to why he wouldn’t be like that.
Maybe it was a bit of a challenge at the start, but you really just have to put yourself in their shoes and fully back all of their thoughts and actions. I do think I did it.”
Josephine, Tessa is so grown up in this movie. She always had a great moral compass but in this instalment, she’s far more confident within that and within herself. You’re an Australian who has stepped into another world that is Hollywood – was there a moment where you, like Tessa, really started to sink into your own confidence?
Josephine: “No, I still think I’m dealing with it to be honest. You get used to things and learn things and you slowly get, it becomes the new normal. I’m dreadful but I’m getting better at answering questions in a coherent way with a normal sentence structure. It’s something I usually struggle with.”
This question is for all of you. When it comes to matters of the heart, do you follow your head or your heart?
Josephine: “I think there’s lots of organs that come into play. I think it’s a more half and half situation. You have to be logical about things but you also have to – there’s no point being with someone who is perfect on paper but you have no feelings for.”
Dylan: “I’m very scatter-brained [and] I have a list I go through when I’m thinking about jumping into something, [things] that I’ve learned from all the mistakes in my past. Like, am I hungry? Am I sleepy? Am I angry? And I ask myself a list of questions. And after that, I go into making the action and I still ignore everything I talked to myself about and do it with my heart anyway. So, it’s weird, I like to pretend that I use my head.”
Generally speaking, do you guys opt for a more sensible kind of love – or the crazy, all-consuming kind?
Hero: “I think it’s a balance. It could be one or the other, but I think personally I would need both.”
Josephine: “At the moment I already feel like a 60-year-old woman so I’m ready to settle down, cup of tea.”
Dylan: “You want sensibility, right? But you also don’t want a stick in the mud, like you have to have someone who’s a little crazy in some ways.
Josephine: “You need a crazy to match your crazy.”
Josephine, if you were in Tessa’s position, would you have gone for Hardin or Trevor?
Josephine: “I pick the third option, myself. And I pick being single.”
Favourite scene to film?
Josephine: “It was really nice doing the frat scenes with a bunch of the cast. Because we were all sort of the same age and we hadn’t got to see them in such a long time. I know that’s a classic answer but it’s always really nice reuniting with people. So, the party scenes.”
You seem to be close. What was the dynamic like on set?
Josephine: “It was very different. We’ve had to force this.”
Hero: “We hate each other. It’s just work.”
Dylan: “We’re paid to like each other.”
After We Collided in in cinemas now.