On Friday Netflix will commence streaming a contemporary teen romance that is, according to International Business Times,
the first English-language film adapted from a Wattpad story.
Wattpad of course is well known for its TV shows in the Philippines,
and some will recall Anna Todd’s After, one of Wattpad’s first big success stories, had a movie deal signed many years back. But it is only, literally, this month, that the film of Todd’s book finally progressed to casting.
Meantime The Kissing Booth is filmed and ready to stream.
Written by South Wales teenager Ruth Reekles, The Kissing Booth began life as a Wattpad novel written and serialized on the free-to-use self-publishing platform way back in 2011.
Ah yes, the good old days of 2011, when Twilight and its many copycats were all the rage. Not least on Wattpad.
Which was a problem for Reekles, as, although she liked the genre, you can have too much of a good thing.
I just wanted a regular high school romance. I’d been looking around and I couldn’t find that kind of thing to read because it was all paranormal stuff and I felt like, ‘Oh, well, I’ll just write it myself.’ I knew what kind of characters I wanted to read about. I knew what kind of themes I wanted to be reading about, and I thought, ‘Well, I’ll just do it myself.’
Between May and July 2011 the then mid-teen Reekles wrote and published the story and it found enough popularity to get noticed beyond the Wattpad ecosphere. Back then Wattpad hadn’t the array of data-mining and rights-mining tools it has today.
I’d be spending my evenings, replying to messages and comments from people who told me how much they loved my story and how they’d think, ‘Oh, this is so great, you should turn it into a film,’” Reekles said. “And I’d just think, ‘Oh yeah, that’s never going to happen, but okay.’
Then Random House came calling, followed by a movie deal.
It would be many more years before the video version of the book finally became reality, but it beat Anna Todd’s After to the screen.
More recently a supernatural thriller by Zoe Aarsen attracted 2.9 million reads on Wattpad, making it a natural choice for a showing on Netflix rival Hulu.
According to Hollywood Reporter, a 10-episode straight-to-series order was made for Aarsen’s novel Light as a Feather, Stiff as a Board.
Given how long Anna Todd’s After has taken to get to casting, it’s anyone’s guess whether it will be Todd or Aarsen that sees their Wattpad novel on screen first.