Wednesday, April 30, 2014

The Fault in Our Stars: John Green on Shailene Woodley as his Hazel


Vulture has a terrific interview with The Fault in Our Stars author John Green up on their site. Just a little over a month until the film's June 6th release date so I'm prepared for a fun barrage of promotional gold. There is, for example, a new extended trailer you should watch if you haven't seen it. Be ready to cry.  

Before we do that, here's a couple of snippets from the Vulture interview where Green shares his thoughts on Shailene Woodley as Hazel. You regulars know I'm a fan of the young actor and like Green, I think it all starts with empathy, which she seems to have in spades.
And Shai's audition?  
I got a call, I had seen a lot of auditions, they were nice to share that with me, but they called me before and said, "We think you're going to love it." And that actually put me in a space of not wanting to like it, just because I'm contrarian, I guess? But I watched and it was perfect. It was Hazel. She sounded like Hazel. She had the cadence that I imagined in my head as I was writing Hazel, which seemed impossible to me. And that continued the entire time we were on set. Every sentence that she said sounded like Hazel to me. She clearly had a deep, innate understanding of this person. The way she breathed. The places she paused. And you know, Hazel is an uncommonly empathetic young person. She's able to imagine what her parents must be feeling. And I think that came naturally for Shailene. I think that's a big part of why ... I mean, she's a genius, but it's also the empathy. And I called them back, and I said, "Is there anything I can do to help make sure she takes the part?" Like, "Should I call her? Who do I need to talk to, to close this deal?"

Did you call her?
She had actually sent me an email a year before, talking about how much she cared about it, and how much she wanted to play Hazel. It was a very memorable email, but at the time, I didn't know very much about Shailene, so my reply was very brief. I think it ended with like, "I'm not a casting agent." [Laughs.] I don't think I called her until after they made the agreement, and we were both so excited. She and I have had a lot of conversations about living in a way that's in accordance with your values. Living in the world as we've found it, but also trying to live in a way that lines up with your values. Some of that is the same for us, but I certainly like yerba mate tea more now that I've met Shai! She was like, "You won't like it. It tastes like dirt." And I drank it, and I was like, "No, it's great. I love it. It does taste like dirt. It's great." 

The Fault in Our Stars is set for release June 6th. The film stars Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort as Hazel and Gus, Laura Dern and Sam Trammel as Hazel's parents, Nat Wolff and Emily Peachey as Gus friend Isaac and his girlfriend, Monica. Willem Dafoe is author Peter Van Houten and seen here in the trailer offering to play his guitar, comedian Mike Birbiglia plays Patrick, the support group counselor.


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