‘Forever My Girl’ is a romantic drama film that revolves around Liam Lincoln Page, a famous country musician, who left his hometown of Saint Augustine, Louisiana, and his fiancé, Josie, at the altar to pursue his dreams. When an old friend passes away, Liam comes back home after eight years to attend the funeral. There he runs into Josie, who resents him for leaving and not responding to any of her calls or messages. Regretful of his choices, Liam tries to make amends with Josie and everybody else he left behind.
However, things become even more complicated when he finds out he has a 7-year-old daughter named Billy with Josie. Directed by Bethany Ashton Wolf, the 2018 film stars Alex Roe, Jessica Rothe, Abby Ryder Fortson, Travis Tritt, Peter Cambor, Gillian Vigman, Judith Hoag, Tyler Riggs, and John Benjamin Hickey. A lovely story about music and rekindling romance, ‘Forever My Girl’ is a feel-good film that many would love to sit with on a rainy afternoon. But what are the origins of such a story? Let’s dive in and find out together!
Is Forever My Girl a True Story?
No, ‘Forever My Girl’ is not based on a true story. It was adapted for the silver screen by director Bethany Ashton Wolf herself from the eponymous 2012 novel written by Heidi McLaughlin; it serves as book one of her ‘Beaumont’ series. The film adaptation roughly follows the same storyline as the book, except for the fact that the timeline has been shortened in it – Liam goes away for eight years in the film, whereas in the novel, it’s an entire decade.
In an interview with Mingle Media TV, author Heidi McLaughlin revealed that the two main characters, Josie and Liam, were inspired by her own experiences and that of a close friend of hers. “…I was a single mom, and so when I created the character of Josie I made her super strong, like, high self-esteem and, you know, doesn’t need someone to take care of her, she can do it all on her own. So a lot of that was personal experience because I-I could do it all on my own…,” said the author.
McLaughlin continued, “…and with Liam, I mean, who doesn’t love a tortured rock star? He’s actually a little bit modeled after a friend who’s a tortured rock star and, you know, I just needed to find a way for him to, you know, for him to redeem himself…” This resilience that McLaughlin mentions in Josie is very much obvious in the film. Her punching Liam in the stomach the first time she meets him after eight years makes clear both her frustration and anger at him.
Liam’s desperation to reconnect with his former fiancé and his daughter mingled with his attempts to win Josie’s heart again through grand gestures like flying her to New Orleans for a date and announcing their relationship in front of the media might seem extreme, but it goes over well with Josie and their daughter, Billy. Both Josie’s strength and Liam’s desperation form a curious chemistry together, which is depicted wonderfully by Jessica Rothe and Alex Roe in ‘Forever My Girl.’
In order to create this chemistry, Rothe revealed that she and Alex spent some time meeting each other before filming began, and then afterward as well. “Alex and I have mutual friends. We had never met each other, so we met up a couple of times before we left for Atlanta…Alex and I had about two weeks where we were rehearsing and we just spent a ton of time together, getting to know each other, talking about what we thought Josie and Liam’s relationship was before he left, what the things they love about each other are, what the things they hate about each other are, and just being comfortable with each other, in the same room. We had to fast track that very intimate closeness that they had from knowing someone your entire life,” the actress told Collider.
A film about a rock star, ‘Forever My Girl’ also has an entire playlist of songs interspersed throughout the story. The songs have been sung by Alex Roe himself for the film, who also learned how to play the guitar to make the character of Liam more authentic as a musician. “I have so much respect for the country industry and country musicians and country fans. The more research I did into it, the more I realized how much of a challenge it is and how important it is that I do a good job with it,” said Alex while talking about his training process.
The actor added, “There were definitely moments where I was like, ‘Have I bit off more than I can chew?!’ I was just lucky that Brett Boyett, our music supervisor, was down to practice with me, every day for close to three months.” A beautifully crafted film, ‘Forever My Girl,’ though fictional, stays true to its very real and grounded themes of love, family, and music throughout the course of the film. A must-watch for fans of romantic stories, ‘Forever My Girl’ will most certainly remind them of things they might have left behind and the changes that they’ve gone through with their loved ones thus far.
Read More: Best Movie Musicals of All Time