In After Ever Happy, Hardin finds solace and redemption in writing. Yep, he commits the ultimate literary protagonist move of writing a book about his life and, of course, his love story with Tessa, who is understandably pissed he never told her about the book. (Move over, Dan Humphrey.)
Hero sees beauty in being able to argue whether or not Hardin was right to publish the book, but he agrees that he really should have told her beforehand. “If he wanted it to be a surprise, he could have at least turned around and been like, ‘I’m about to get published. What do you think?’” Hero says. “But to be already too late into it… it’s a bit like the bet reveal in the first one. It’s like, ‘Bro, you could have anticipated this and said it a bit sooner, you know?’ But he always gets beaten to the punch, doesn’t he?”
For what it’s worth, Hero’s not sure he would ever write a book about his own life. “I don’t think it would be very good,” he says, blunt. “And when I look back, I’m so lucky that doing all of this press and working in movies, you have so much footage of yourself and especially with social media and everything being up there and lasting forever, it feels sometimes like a bad thing, but actually it’s really nice to know that I can look back and track my progress through that. If I do anything remotely interesting beyond this, then maybe I’ll have more to write about. So far it would be a pretty short book, I think.”
Longtime Hero fans will know he got his start playing young Tom Riddle in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. But the After movies continue to be one of the most pivotal experiences in his career development. He’s 24 now and continuing to map out the kind of career he wants to have.
“I feel like I’ve been able to not just make four movies that I’m really proud of, but also practice my acting skills and social skills and learn more about the industry,” he says. “So now when I go on to do any other job, I’m so aware that After has fast tracked my learning and understanding of how films are made and how films work.”
Hero recently starred in another romance, First Love, alongside Sydney Park. He’s also branched out into more blockbusters, with a role in the Viola Davis-led historical epic The Woman King. Next, he’ll play a zombie in the heartwarming comedy The Loneliest Boy in the World. “The best way I can summarize the projects I want to do next is just keep it changing,” he says, “keep switching it up and try and do a little bit of everything.”
After Ever Happy is now available to stream on demand.