Josephine Langford talks after we collided, sequels, and shame | Sunday Observer

Josephine Langford talks after we collided, sequels, and shame

15 November, 2020

“I think that society has a big issue with teenage girls and shame. Their magazines and their music and their interests and their views, I think we love to shame them.”

When asked about filming the hit movie series After, 23-year-old star Josephine Langford is quick to praise her coworkers, quick to be grateful for the opportunity to tell stories (and this one specifically), and quick to turn the attention away from herself.

She’ll take a more personal question and turn it broad, clearly conscious of what she’s saying and how it will come across. What’s interesting for you about playing Tessa? What’s fun? She almost startles at the question. “I'm usually not asked that,” she laughs, cautious. “I'm usually asked like, ‘What do you relate to about her?’ or [they say], ‘You're really similar.’”

Josephine is talking to Teen Vogue from Bulgaria, where she’s currently

filming two After sequels, After We Fell and After Ever Happy. She plays one side of the messy, turbulent relationship dynamics of Tessa Young and Hardin Scott (Hero Fiennes-Tiffin) on screen; in the movies, Tessa is breaking away from an overprotective parent and learning how to think for herself. Josephine, however, seems further along than her character: more reflective, more likely to analyse her experiences in the context of other people’s. For all that we know about Tessa, we know much less about the actor who plays her — a move that, especially when you’re part of a franchise with such a large fan base, feels understandable.

Her answer to the question about Tessa is thoughtful. “She's confident, except she's insecure in different ways,” she says of Tessa, a character who is sometimes difficult to read. “She's on her own journey of self development. It's not talked about as much as Hardin's journey because it's perhaps less obvious.”

That’s definitely true in After We Collided, a movie that is mostly narrated by Tessa’s on-again, off-again love interest Hardin. Early in the film, Hardin gives an impassioned monologue about having a flair for the dramatic (which reads as

somewhat coded language for his rampant anger management issues). Tessa, ike Anastasia Steele and Bella Swan before her, has more complicated motivations. In the second film, she’s clearly trying to take back a modicum of lost power, though she’s not entirely sure how. “You have two options here, you either f*ck me or you leave,” she tells Hardin in one heated, drunken exchange, after he tracks her location to her hotel under the guise of ‘protecting’’ her.