Is ‘The Innocents’ Based On A Book? This Supernatural Romance Is Like Nothing You've Ever Seen
Two teens in love who run away together must face the completely unexpected in Netflix's latest young adult series. Although the premise and name may sound vaguely familiar, The Innocents isn't based on anything. The world of Harry and June is wholly original as June discovers that she has shape-shifting abilities. While many YA movies and TV shows — especially ones that have a supernatural or dystopian angle — are often books first (like The Hunger Games, Twilight, and Divergent), that's not the case for The Innocents. So when all eight episodes of Season 1 hit Netflix on Aug. 24, you can just take in the story of these star-crossed lovers as they deal with paranormal circumstances.
As Variety reported, Hania Elkington and Simon Duric created The Innocents and these collaborators pulled directly from their own imaginations. In an interview with the British publication The Upcoming during the London premiere of The Innocents, Elkington and Duric said that some good old-fashioned beer helped to get their creative juices flowing.
"Too much beer and North London," Elkington only half-jokingly replied when asked how they came up with the idea for their series. "We used to hang out in beer gardens in North London and just throw ideas around. Simon's quite genre-led in his taste, I'm quite domestic with a twist. And when we both love a show, we're obsessive about it," Elkington elaborated. "So there seemed to be a really good interlock of our tastes that we wanted to build a world together."
Although she has written screenplays before, the bio on her talent agency's page notes that The Innocents is Elkington's first project to become a series or movie. Duric wrote and directed a short film in 2011 entitled Later. But he's more known for his work as a storyboard artist on a number of notable TV shows and movies, like Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Black Mirror, and The Crown.
"We found a kernel of the idea," Duric added on the red carpet. "We're really interested in family dramas, identity, all those sorts of things. Shape-shifting came very early. And then, Harry and June came very quickly after that and we've been just carrying on the process, building the stories out, building the world out, and here we are."
Elkington also told The Upcoming that they took their time when it came to building the world of The Innocents. Beyond Sorcha Groundsell's June and Percelle Ascott's Harry, Guy Pearce portrays the doctor Halvorson, who is researching how both June and her mother are able to mysteriously shape-shift. "I think we wanted to take that time to really make the world — I'd never say watertight — but really layered and really something that people could absorb into and feel that it had been really fleshed out," Elkington said. "So we took our time doing it."
The title of The Innocents has been used before in film. There is a 2016 French film about nuns in Poland who were impacted by WWII and a 1961 horror film written by Truman Capote based on The Turn Of The Screw by Henry James. But Netflix's Innocents is unrelated to these previous movies. And it was the intent of the creators to suck you completely into this supernatural world of Harry and June.