Is The Age of Adaline based on a true story? The not-so-real idea that inspired the film

The Age of Adaline

A blend of romance and fantasy with little bits of science fiction thrown in, The Age of Adaline is one of those films that somehow makes the mishmash of genres work. The 2015 film stars Blake Lively (in one of her first leading roles in a film) as the ever-youthful Adaline Bowman – a 29-year-old woman who gains immortality after a near-fatal accident.

If the premise did not sound intriguing enough, the film also has Harrison Ford and Michiel Huisman (portraying a father-son duo) as Adaline’s old and new flame, respectively. While the intricate plot may have the bearings of an elaborate novel, The Age of Adaline is surprisingly not based on any book.

The Age of Adaline is an original screenplay written by J. Mills Goodloe and Salvador Paskowitz

It is known that screenwriters J. Mills Goodloe and Salvador Paskowitz, seemingly inspired by other romantic fantasy films such as The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and The Time Traveler’s Wife, are the minds behind the story of The Age of Adaline.

However, Goodloe stated in an interview that he did not derive any inspiration from the aforementioned films as speculated by the people. The original screenplay for The Age of Adaline had already been written and sold by 2005. The film then remained in production for ten years and underwent multiple cast changes before finally being released in April 2015.

“It’s funny because a lot of people bring up The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, but the truth is I have not read Fitzgerald’s short story and I sold the script long before the movie was made. But for a while, this film was stalled because people would say, ‘Oh, it’s like Benjamin Button.’.”

On the other hand, Goodloe confirmed that the 2001 French film Amélie starring Audrey Tautou was one of the loose inspirations for the character of Adaline.

“I really liked [Audrey Tautou’s character in Amélie] and felt she was a very strong, interesting woman so that was probably where Adaline started,” he said.

The film was conceptualized after the writers thought of ‘a woman who could live forever’

According to Paskowitz, the inspiration for the film came from a whimsical idea about a woman living forever and dealing with the ‘consequences’ of her condition. He said:

“It was just a notion that [Goodloe and I] had. I just thought of a woman that could live forever. Wouldn’t that be interesting?… There’s just a lot of weight when it comes to that subject when it relates to a woman.”

He further explained the reasoning behind the film’s portrayal of immortality as a double-edged sword, as seen in Adaline’s inability to commit to love and relationships despite being a young and desirable woman. Paskowitz added:

“At first, it would seem like such a tremendous gift. Wow! I can be 29 forever. This is awesome. And then, that’s what builds to this irony that no, it’s not a gift. It’s a terrible curse. Because basically, that’s the rub. You can’t ever know love. What defines love is kind of this ticking clock. If there’s no ticking clock, there’s no love.”