Hero Fiennes Tiffin Talks Fame, Fears With Josephine Langford

Hero Fiennes Tiffin Talks Fame, Fears With Josephine Langford

The soon-to-be YA king and his onscreen queen discuss their "steamy," star-making adaptation.

The soon-to-be YA king and his onscreen queen discuss their "steamy," star-making adaptation.

Photography: Blair Getz Mezibov

Styling: Gro Curtis

Text: SAMUEL ANDERSON

On Valentine's Day, the first official trailer for After teased a love story unlike any the YA demographic has likely seen on the big screen sans adult supervision. Besides putting teens and parents alike on high alert, the trailer introduced us to two stars-in-the-making: Hero Fiennes Tiffin and Josephine Langford, who play onscreen lovers Hardin and Tessa. Based on the much thirsted-over book series After, the film, hitting theaters April 12, follows Tessa down a Fifty Shades-adjacent rabbit hole with Hardin, an all-consuming, Harry Styles-esque presence she encounters on her college campus.

As the film's romantic leads, Fiennes Tiffin and Langford may be on the crest of a heat-seeking blockbuster, but neither is a stranger to the spotlight's glare; London-born Fiennes Tiffin is the nephew of actors Joseph and Ralph Fiennes, while his Aussie costar is sister to Katherine Langford, star of 13 Reasons Why. But as we discovered when the onscreen couple recently sat down with V, experiencing fame firsthand is another story—one that includes everything from watching your own scandalous scenes with the fam to snake-handling.

Read the full interview below.

(Left) Hero wears coat Raf Simons, necklace model's own. (Right) Hero wears coat, shirt, pants and shoes Givenchy

Josephine Langford Should I start? Let’s just go back and forth. What were you like in school?

Hero Fiennes Tiffin I reckon I was very different in school. I’ve changed a lot, but I was a nice fellow, I think. I didn’t get into too much trouble. When I look back, I miss the those times with my friends. What were you like in school? What drew you to acting, or when did you catch the bug?

JL In school, I was the weird kid, I guess. But early on I found [acting] fun and knew it was something I wanted to do, so [eventually] I just started trying to get into the industry.

HFT I know what you mean. Everyone is weird in school though. What was your first obsession as a kid? I think I know… Was it Eurovision? We can agree to disagree about it being more important than the World Cup...

JL [Laughs] Ah! I love Eurovision! It’s the best thing in the world and it should be mandatory viewing. I could talk about it for a while...

HFT Speaking of music, was One Direction, [the inspiration for After], a big deal growing up in Australia?

JL As big a deal as in every other country. I listened to one of their albums and thought it was good but I wasn’t part of the fandom, necessarily.

HFT You sounded quite defensive there! [Laughs]

JL [Laughs] I think they’re doing well as solo artists! Were you a fan? What music do you like?

HFT I’d like to think I listen to a variety, but my playlist is dominated by U.K. rap. What about you?

JL A bunch of stuff. It’s honestly individual songs as opposed to artists or albums—Spotify has really [contributed to] that. What books did you read as a child? Were you a big reader?

HFT Um, I definitely didn't read nearly as much as I should [have]. The first book I read was Horrid Henry—Did you guys have that? It’s about this kid, Henry, who would get in trouble all the time and annoy his brother, Peter. I’m the younger one [in my family] so I [identified] more with Peter, and my brother was more a Henry. Anyway, I’m delving too deep into that.

JL Speaking of books, how did your role in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince come about?

HFT My mum is a director in the U.K. and she knew the people who were casting it; they hadn’t found [anyone for] the role [of young Tom Riddle] yet and asked if any of her kids wanted to audition. She had to persuade me a little; I didn’t think I would get the role and [auditioning] meant missing six days of school, basically. But eventually I got the role, much to my surprise…What did you think of After when you read the script?

JL I was on a plane when I first read it. I thought it was a great story and that it was a bit steamy. [As time went on] I grew more confident in what we were doing and more and more excited about the film. How about you?

HFT I always find it hard to answer that kind of question… But [I reacted] weirdly similarly to you; [I thought] it was a great story.

JL Is there a scene you are most excited to watch from the film? Or any you are not excited to watch? [Laughs]

HFT I’m not excited to watch many of the scenes with my friends and family. I am excited to watch the ones I’m not in, like the scenes of you back home… Was it a challenge to maintain your American accent as Tessa?

JL It wasn’t, because I tried to speak with it as much as possible, perhaps very annoyingly.

HFT What percentage of the time did you keep the accent?

JL I think I was even using it [off set]. There are certain situations, when you’re in America, when people understand you better without an Australian accent. When you read the script, did you imagine anyone in the role of Tessa?

HFT Another actress [who had to drop out] was originally set to play Tessa, so my expectations changed [in that regard], obviously. But after that the process was straightforward; I didn’t build up any expectations, really.

JL I didn’t imagine anyone else either… You are British, and your character was British, so that met my expectations. You don’t have tattoos, and the character does, so that challenged them! In terms of collaborators, are there any you’d love to work with?

HFT My mom. I would love to be directed by my mum.

JL That’s a good answer! Have you ever been starstruck?

HFT I don’t think I have. Have you?

JL I haven’t. There was an interview I did 2 years ago that was taken a bit out of context, saying I was starstruck by someone on a movie. But that hasn’t really happened. There are definitely people I have met whom I respect, but I’m just really conscious of the fact that underneath [the fame] is a human being and a normal person.

HFT Do you have any fears? What are you afraid of?

JL [Laughs] I’m glad you asked this! There is a myth that is being perpetuated that I am afraid of snakes. And I am not afraid of snakes!

HFT [Laughs] Do you know where that started?

JL You!

HFT Okay, it was an incorrect assumption based on the fact that you are from Australia, but you got scared of these little water bugs, and so I assumed you’d be scared of snakes, too. [Laughs] I’m sorry for creating the rumor.

JL I just want to clarify that I have a very normal, natural apprehension towards animals that may kill you like snakes or like bears, but I am never going to scream or squeal if I see one because that would be incredibly stupid. I held a snake for a photoshoot!

HFT Oh! I did, [too]! For a different shoot. What was it like for you to hold the snake?

JL I asked to hold the snake. It was a really cute albino pit snake and I was like, ‘Can I hold it?’ I think his name was Ben. What was it like to hold your snake?

HFT Luckily it peed on the owner before I took it so it didn’t have to pee on me. It was cool, but I don’t feel quite as inclined to hold the snake. I feel like instinctively, with the way snakes or spiders move, my instinct tells me not to go near.

JL Fair enough.

Hero wears coat, shirt, pants and shoes Givenchy
Credits: MAKEUP MARLA BELT (STREETERS LONDON), HAIR MICHAEL SILVA (THE WALL GROUP), STYLIST ASSISTANT ZITA MEDVEDOVA, MAKEUP ASSISTANT ALEX ALMEIDA, HAIR ASSISTANT RACHEL HOPKINS

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