Saturday, June 7, 2014

Woodley, Wolff and The Fault in Our Stars


Deadline reports 'Fox is over the moon with the performance of The Fault In Our Stars'. No duh!  The YA drama garnered the largest ticket pre-sale numbers in history, is on track to take in up to $25M in its opening night, earning over $50M for the opening weekend on a low budget film that cost about $12M to make! The Fault in Our Stars has an A+ CinemaScore.



Since I am such a curmudgeon and am resisting the weekend screening crowds, and won't be posting a review today, I'm linking to a couple of reviews from places I respect. First up, Peter Travers at The Rolling Stone. Travers, like me, is a fan of Woodley natural acting style. 
It's a fresh, lively love story, brimming with humor and heartbreak, and lifted to the heights by Shailene Woodley, 22, a sublime actress with a résumé, from The Descendants to Divergent, that pretty much proves she's incapable of making a false move on camera.
If you read his review he ends up being a fan of the film too, praising the performances of Ansel Elgort (Gus) and Nat Wolff (Isaac). 

THE FAULT IN OUR CASTING
Not everyone is a fan but with an opening weekend like this it doesn't matter one little bit. Still, passionate fans of Green's book might feel some of Ella Taylor's disappointment.
In her movie review for NPR , Ella Taylor said she cried buckets over Green's book - as did I - while noting the book was very funny. It was! I hope she's wrong, but in her review 'Bringing a Book Phenomenon to the Screen with Sadly, Ordinary Results' Taylor isn't thrilled with the outcome and blames the casting. 
The Fault in Our Stars is weakened upfront by miscasting. Shailene Woodley is a fine young actress with a great future, and I love it that this dressed-down, makeup-free environmentalist has become a hero to teenage girls who also groove to the Miley Cyrus twerk. But here Woodley projects (as she did to far better effect in last year's The Spectacular Now) a serene straight arrow most of whose coming-of-age battles are already won. That is not Hazel, at least not yet. And Ansel Elgort, a self-consciously charming stud who radiates robust health and looks like a sports dude, is all wrong for Gus, a skinny former jock who hasn't exercised his muscles in a while. Hazel has a nose tube and drags an oxygen tank, and Gus is missing a limb, so it doesn't help that the two of them look as if they just blew in from the gym.
WOLFF WHISTLE
I'll admit, I've had the same thought that Woodley (who I LOVE as an actress) and Elgort, look a tad too healthy, too perfectly fit. I'll have to see for myself which I can't do until the crowds die down a bit. Taylor's review holds great news for Nat Wolff though, who plays Isaac, a supporting role as Gus' best friend from the cancer support group. Taylor thinks that a guy like Wolff - who Peter Travers called 'so fine in Palo Alto' and 'outstanding' here would make a better Gus; check it out.
Gus and Hazel are enchanting old souls, as literary and intensely philosophical as you'd expect from bright kids in their predicament. In a movie they should be played by odd ducks like Ellen Page or Alia Shawkat, and some as-yet-undiscovered descendant of Daniel Day Lewis — or, it occurred to me while watching the film, by the fetchingly wry Nat Wolff, who's wasted in a sidekick role.
What's interesting is that the film's director, Josh Boone, did bring Wolff in to audition but felt he wasn't quite right for Gus. Wolff co starred as Greg Kinnear's son in Boone's directorial debut, the lovely Stuck in Love and the director is on the record saying Wolff is his lucky rabbits' foot and he'll never make a movie without him. I toldja last month that Boone has already booked Wolff for his upcoming adaptation of Stephen King's The Stand, I have a feeling, Wolff is going to be in demand and not for supporting roles from here on in.


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