Adapting a story from one medium to another often seems to require some significant changes be made. We have seen this with recent films like IT and The Dark Tower, and now Bethany Ashton Wolf's Forever My Girl is the latest to take a written story in a new direction. That said, CinemaBlend recently sat down with the film's stars, Happy Death Day's Jessica Rothe and The 5th Wave's Alex Roe, and they admitted to one specific change that fans of the book seem to have appreciated -- namely, the decision to change the character Billy (Abby Ryder Fortson) from a son to a daughter. Alex Roe addressed this change and said:
Obviously with Abby Fortson, who plays Billy. Originally, it's a son, but luckily, she's such an amazing young actress and she's so charming and so cool to watch that I think fans of the book kind of appreciate that she's the daughter.
So it seems that, in Heidi McLaughlin's original Forever My Girl novel, Billy is actually Liam and Josie's son and not their daughter. However, this is one of those situations in which an actor can step into an existing character and allow it to take on new life. Though a substantial change such as this could've been met with derision by fans, the "charming" performance delivered by Ant-Man's Abby Ryder Fortson seems to have generally won over viewers with a preexisting knowledge and appreciation of the book.
The decision to make Billy a daughter instead of a son was not the only change that Bethany Ashton Wolf made to the source material in the transition from page to screen. Elsewhere in CinemaBlend's discussion about the process of adapting Forever My Girl, Alex Roe and Jessica Rothe also noted that the presence of Liam's beat-up flip phone (which contains an old message from Josie) was given increased focus. The phone apparently does play a notable role in the original book, but in the movie, it was turned into a far more central narrative motif and a driving plot device to help move things forward.
But don't take our word for it. Check out a clip from CinemaBlend's interview with Jessica Rothe and Alex Roe to hear what they specifically had to say about their work on Forever My Girl and the changes that took place as the novel slowly but surely turned into a movie.