Ahead of its premiere on Friday, Hulu’s High Fidelity remake has received the stamp of approval from the book’s author, Nick Hornby. Update: You can also read our entire Oral History of the original High Fidelity film featuring interviews with Hornby, John Cusack, Jack Black, and more.
In a piece written for Rolling Stone, the High Fidelity author talked about how the new gender-flipped adaptation starring Zoë Kravitz is not only good, but also an important way for new audiences to connect. “That it makes so much sense, and speaks so directly to a contemporary audience, is a tribute to the star and her team; it also says something about the ability of pop, rock & roll, etc., to inspire enduring devotion and provide a crucial sense of identification and belonging.”
Hornby’s 1995 book first hit the screen as the 2000 movie adaptation starring John Cusack as Rob Gordon, a disgruntled record store owner in Chicago who tells his tales of heartbreak through his favorite vinyl deep cuts. The new series finds Kravitz playing Rob (short for Robin), now relocated to Brooklyn, with the same edge and love-life woes. “High Fidelity the TV show deals with the world we’re in now,” Hornby wrote. “The playlists are made digitally, yet the hearts that are broken by feckless men and women are still inconveniently and painfully analog. Somehow, Rob survived the move into the 21st century, because people are still willing to pay for something that’s as ubiquitous as the air we breathe.”
Hornby went on to discuss his initial hesitation when Kravitz asked to create the new series. However, after he received a solid playlist from the actor filled with songs from Alice Coltrane, Tierra Whack, MC5, and Sun Ra, he was convinced she was the right fit. “Zoë might be a bona fide movie star, but she’s done a lot of crate-digging. I was pretty sure that she’d do a good job. She has.”
The author wrapped on the direct note,
“I don’t think anyone who has read and loved the book, and/or seen and loved the movie could be disappointed with the series. I couldn’t be more proud of the show. And if I catch anyone saying it’s self-consciously “woke,” what with its gender reversals and its inclusion of more than one race/sexuality, I will come ’round to your house and put you back to sleep. Because, guess what: High Fidelity isn’t just about you. It’s about people who aren’t like you, too.”
Read Hornby’s full piece over at Rolling Stone. Our music editor, Erica Campbell, agrees with Hornby’s sentiments. In her review of the series, she writes “that even though Rob is now a sexually fluid woman of color, the message still reigns true throughout the series: love is hard, music is good.”
High Fidelity premieres on Hulu on Friday, February 14th. Maybe all the positive reviews will relieve Cusack’s early on concern that it’d be no good.