Is No Hard Feelings Based on a True Story?

Jennifer Lawrence stars as Maddie Barker in the raunchy comedy movie ‘No Hard Feelings,’ co-written and directed by Gene Stupnitsky. It centers upon Maddie, who is going through a financial crisis and is on the brink of losing everything, including her childhood home. But when she comes across an interesting job listing, she thinks that her days of financial troubles are over once and for all. Giving in to the desperate need for money, Maddie applies to the listing and dates a 19-year-old introverted boy named Percy, whom she has to turn into a man before he leaves for college.

However, the socially awkward Percy makes life even more difficult for Maddie as he turns out to be more of a challenge than she had anticipated. Besides Lawrence, the rom-com stars Andrew Barth Feldman, Laura Benanti, Natalie Morales, Matthew Broderick, and Scott MacArthur. In real life, you can find some unusual listings posted on Craigslist, which is one of the reasons why some of you might pose the question — is ‘No Hard Feelings’ rooted in reality? Well, if you wish to know, let’s explore the same in detail, shall we?

Is No Hard Feelings a True Story?

Yes, ‘No Hard Feelings’ is partially based on a true story. Interestingly enough, the entire idea for the movie stemmed from an actual Craigslist ad posted by the parents of an awkward teenage boy to help him find a girl who could give him some much-needed life experiences before he went to college. The producers — Marc Provissiero and Naomi Odenkirk — came across the posting and sent it to Gene Stupnitsky, who used it as the inspiration to create a funny screenplay alongside John Phillips.

Image Credit: Macall Polay/Sony Pictures

However, before anything else, when Stupnitsky first read the ad, he instantly thought of his friend Jennifer Lawrence as the kind of person who would respond to an ad like that on Craigslist. So, when the two were having dinner, he did not hesitate to pitch the idea to her. In a May 2023 interview with Entertainment Weekly, Lawrence recalled, “Gene read the Craigslist ad to me, and I died laughing. I thought it was hilarious, but there wasn’t a script or anything. I just thought he had a funny idea. And then a couple of years later, he handed me the funniest script I’ve ever read in my life.”

Thus, Lawrence played a massive role in inspiring the screenwriters to turn the ad into a movie. In early May 2023, Stupnitsky sat down for a conversation with the Associated Press and said, “The reason I wrote this movie for her is because I knew how funny she was, and I wanted everyone else to know. I mean, people know she’s funny, but they wanted her in a comedy. I thought, yes, I know how to do this. I know how to write her voice. I remember I told her, ‘I really want you to experience a feeling of sitting in a theater with hundreds of people laughing.’ She’s had many, many experiences in film, but she hasn’t quite had this one.”

In the same Associated Press interview, Lawrence revealed that she jumped in excitement when Stupnitsky first gave her this opportunity because she had always wanted to be a part of a comedy movie but hadn’t found or read anything that felt funny enough for her until Stupnitsky handed her the screenplay of ‘No Hard Feelings.’ So, even though an actual Craigslist ad is the inspiration behind the movie, the storyline and the characters are the creations of the two screenwriters who made the most of their creative minds and brilliant penmanship. In conclusion, it would be safe to say that ‘No Hard Feelings’ used the listing as the general setup and used several fictional elements to build the story around it.

Read More: Where Was No Hard Feelings Filmed?