Prepare to Ugly-Cry: A Q&A with the Author and Director of 'The Fault In Our Stars'
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Prepare to Ugly-Cry: A Q&A with the Author and Director of ‘The Fault In Our Stars’

By Nadia Chaudhury | Movie and TV Facts | May 23, 2014 | Comments ()


Last night in Austin, Texas, Forever Fest and the Alamo Drafthouse held a screening of the highly anticipated film The Fault In Our Stars, starring Shailene Woodley and based on a best-selling book by John Green. No spoilers, but be prepared to cry. A lot. Like many people. Like me. Seriously, a lot. After the cryfest, Forever Fest co-founders Sarah Pitre and Brandy Fons held a quick Q&A with Green and director Josh Boone. Here’s what I learned:


-Nat Wolff, who plays Isaac, gave Josh Boone the book after Josh’s close friend passed away from cancer. When Josh found out a film was being made, he went to Fox with his shooting plan for the first 25 minutes, how he’d shoot the opening montage in a manner similar to Jerry McGuire, and that an M83 song would end the film.

-After seeing Josh’s film Stuck in Love, about the lives of writers, John loved how it was “a movie of authentic emotion, a movie that should’ve been sentimental but wasn’t,” which is how he knew Josh was perfect for The Fault in Our Stars.

-John Green was on set as much as he could, but he refused to be on set during the love scene because, he said, there are “levels of weird. There’s the level of weird where your friends are hooking up, that’s weird. There’s a level of weird where characters you created, some of whom are children are hooking up, that’s weird. There’s a level of weird where your children who are also your friends. I just couldn’t handle it.” AWKWARD.

-Shailene Woodley, who plays Hazel, showed up to that scene wearing a skintight greenscreen suit, as if they were going to digitally manipulate her body, as a joke.

-After an intense crying scene, John wanted to make sure Shailene was OK, but everyone shut him down, because they needed her to stay in the zone.

-The crew recreated Dutch artist Atelier Van Lieshout’s “Funky Bones,” the large-scale artwork based in Indianapolis for the Pittsburgh set. John’s wife curated the original work. They had to burn the replica after filming, because only one version could exist in the world.

-John Green’s cameo was cut out of the movie due to time constraints. He acted with a six-year-old actress who played his daughter, and gave him this advice: “Be on time, know your lines, and don’t be nervous. I think you’re two-thirds of the way there.”

-John is grateful for all the fan-fiction and reads a lot of it. He never wants to comment because “books belong to their readers, and I really love when my readers feel empowered to build upon the stories and to build their own worlds.”

-Paper Towns, a mystery about love, will be John’s next movie, with the same screenwriter, producers, and studio, but not with Josh as the director, since he has another job lined up. Nat Wolff will play the lead.


To add to the atmosphere of the screening, the Alamo’s pre-roll footage consisted of tons of cute viral videos like a bunny eating a raspberry, a commercial for the Shailene-starring The Secret Life of the American Teenager, and a John Green vlog. During the film, at the moment of an extremely romantic dinner scene, the staff served up glasses of champagne and risotto balls to the audience. After the Q&A, the audience was invited outside to egg a parked car (it makes sense with the movie), with John and Josh throwing the first eggs very, very eagerly.

Nadia Chaudhury seriously cried so much during the movie and the book.

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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not

  • pissants_doppelganger

    I'm getting a very strong Nicholas Sparks vibe from this.

  • narfna

    No. Nicholas Sparks books are shallow and emotionally manipulative, and extremely commercial. This book is a real response to things in the world JG is concerned with and interested in, and any emotions it generates are also real.

  • pissants_doppelganger

    I guess I'll have to take your word for it until I read the book, but Manic Pixie Dream Boy: Teenage Cancer Patient just screams "shallow and emotionally manipulative".

  • narfna

    But he's NOT a MPDB. Quirky does not mean MPDB. And besides, again, as I noted in my comment above, one of JG's main fixations is dismantling the notion of the MPDG/B, and all of his characters who see people that way learn their lesson by the end of the book.

  • pissants_doppelganger

    Do you discuss Manic Pixie Dream Girls/Boys and John Green so much that you are forced to abbreviate them for the time savings?

  • narfna

    No, but lots of other people on the internet use that abbreviation. Also, I really hate when people bring up that trope because most of the time they are doing it incorrectly without really understanding what it means.

    ETA: Not that that is what you were doing, just in general. People tend to use the MPDG as a shorthand for 'quirky and I don't like it'. And that is not what a MPDG is. Personal pet peeve that I probably shouldn't get so upset over, but it's a reflex at this point.

  • I ugly cried so hard over TFIOS. I'm somewhat apprehensive over the movie since I love the book so much.

  • A. Nonny Mouse

    I stupidly read this entire book on a transcontinental flight. I was traveling by myself and spent practically the ENTIRE trip ugly crying next to people who probably thought I was insane. Like, blowing wads of snot out of piles of toilet paper and paper towels that I got from the tiny little restroom, and looking like a total wreck for the entire flight...

  • Jericho Smith

    Is this how Woodley became "pregnant with the world"?

  • I am ready for this movie to break my damn heart. The book sure did. I love it so, so much.

    This was the first of John Green's books that I read, and I have been delving into his back catalog, and honestly, I haven't loved it. I read Looking for Alaska and Paper Towns, and I was not impressed because it was Manic Pixie Dream Girlness all over the place. I don't know. It just seemed to me that the main female characters really only existed to be soooo mysterious and to kickstart the hero on his journey to self-discovery. I may be too hard on them, but it is really only because I loved TFIOS so much and I think John Green can do better. He seems like such an awesome guy, and hopefully this is just the start of a more mature phase of his writing.

  • Kate at June


    John Green responds to this accusation. It's a good post in its entirety, but I like the bit here.

    "Paper Towns is devoted IN ITS ENTIRETY to destroying the lie of the manic pixie dream girl; the novel ends (this is not really a spoiler) with a young woman essentially saying, “Do you really still live in this fantasy land where boys can save girls by being romantically interested in them?”I do not know how I could have been less ambiguous about this without calling the novel The Patriarchal Lie of the Manic Pixie Dream Girl Must Be Stabbed in the Heart and Killed.

    When do I romanticize mental illness (or physical illness) in my novels? Pudge romanticizes Alaska in LfA, but the novel discusses in detail the way that his failure to imagine her complexly proves so disastrous to him and to her."

  • narfna

    But . . . sigh. The point of both of those books is to deconstruct the idea of the MPDG. Both of those male protags start those books thinking in certain ways about women and learn differently, mostly that they are more complex and do not exist just so that they can have that journey of self-discovery. You can probably argue that's a bit immature and narcissistic on its own, but I don't think you can argue in any way that those books feature actual MPDGs. Just boys who at first fall victim to thinking about women like that.

  • E-Money

    I think you might be missing the point of both Alaska and Margot. While they are MPDG at the start, the main characters come to realize that they have created these women in their heads and they aren't real. And while we never get to see the characters develop into real people, at least the protagonists realize their mistake. John has a tendency to encourage people to imagine other people complexly ("Imagine complexly" might be his catchphrase). And this is exactly what the protags in both books fail to do until the end. I wish Margot and Alaska were developed more, but in the end they aren't the protagonists of the book. And of course Gus is a bit of a MPDB until *spoiler* his disease forces Hazel to see him as more than just a handsome mystery.

  • Ok, I can definitely understand this perspective. I should give Green more credit.

  • chanohack

    ^^^ This, exactly. To be fair I haven't read Looking for Alaska, but the entire point of Paper Towns is that Q realized Margo ISN'T a goddess, she's a person. John Green wrote a response to a fan saying that if anyone thinks Paper Towns is glorifying the MPDG, it's a total failure as a book, because he was trying to deconstruct the myth entirely.

    And you're totally right about Augustus.

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  • Irina

    Agree with you on Looking for Alaska and Paper Towns, I'm actually dissapointed that the last one is getting a movie deal and not my beloved Will Grayson, Will Grayson (which is AMAZING, seriously, go read it :))

  • I will have to check it out!

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