Why ‘The Perfect Find’ Director Numa Perrier Changed the Book’s Ending: ‘This Is a Rom-Com’

“It brings up a big question about choice and control and love,” Perrier says of the Tia Williams novel’s original ending

(L to R) Keith Powers as Eric and Gabrielle Union as Jenna in The Perfect Find. Cr. Emily Aragones/Netflix © 2023
The Perfect Find. (L to R) Keith Powers as Eric and Gabrielle Union as Jenna in "The Perfect Find." Cr. Emily Aragones/Netflix © 2023

Note: The following contains spoilers for “The Perfect Find” ending.

“The Perfect Find” director Numa Perrier isn’t sure the film would have been made had the original ending of Tia William’s 2016 novel stayed intact.

In the Netflix adaptation of Williams’ book Jenna Jones (Gabrielle Union) and Eric Combs (Keith Powers) fall in love, but their age gap presents challenges. Jenna, 40, wants to get married and have a family, but Eric, 22, just graduated from the University of Southern California with a master’s in film, eager to start his career. The fact that Eric’s mother Darcy (Gina Torres) technically brought them together by hiring them at her magazine only complicates things. A few months after they separate, deciding that their timing doesn’t work out to be together, Jenna asks Eric to meet up to tell him that she’s pregnant.

In Williams’ book, Jenna has her child and waits a few years before running into Eric at a park and introducing him to his son.

“It’ll be interesting to see as the book lovers watch the film and everything. There was a big question about ‘Does Jenna become an unforgivable person if she keeps this from Eric and just raises this kid on her own?’” Perrier said. “How can we roll that back and still not avoid the fact that they do become a family? It was a creative challenge to solve for sure.”

“I feel like we found a way. I’m really happy with what we ended up landing on, but that was definitely a big piece of the development process, really asking that question ‘Where’s the line for a woman to share that information?’” Perrier added. “It brings up a big question about choice and control and love. Who had the right to do this or that and parenting, and these are all the conversations that we’re all having as a society right now.”

Darcy finds out that Jenna is pregnant after she warned Jenna not to date her son, but when she visits Jenna, it isn’t to scold her. Eric’s mother shares her history of getting pregnant with Eric and raising him without his father, who died when Eric was young.

“Everyone wants to play someone who is a bad bitch with the empire, but you also don’t want to get lost in something that is so binary — Darcy’s evil and Jenna’s good — it’s like, ‘No, that’s actually not true,’” Perrier said. “Jenna has made what you might call poor judgment calls and that’s why she was in the situation she was in, and Darcy is also not just one shape. We wanted to show how far she’s come as a woman. These are two women who are peers and competitors, and now they’re collaborators. They’re in this really interesting dynamic. As a woman, I understand both of them.”

Darcy passes word to Eric when Jenna’s checkup appointment happens, so he becomes involved with the baby before it’s born, allowing him to choose to be there. Both endings involve naming their son Otis, after Eric’s dad.

“I was very interested in embracing it, and Gabrielle wanted to play that very complicated character, and it doesn’t make Jenna less complicated that we didn’t go there in the story, but it was just one of those things where it came down to ‘This is a rom-com. It should have a happy ending,” Perrier said. “We should find a way towards that piece of it, and I’m really glad that we did, but I’m still very interested in the conversation that I think will be had anyways.”