Following the successful adaptations of The Fault in Our Stars and Paper Towns, John Green's devoted readers have been left to wonder: what's the status on Looking for Alaska? If Green's recent tweets are any indication, the Looking for Alaska film adaptation is not going well at all. In fact, a battle might be brewing between the author and film rights holder Paramount Studios.
Just before Paper Towns hit theaters in July 2015, TIME reported that Green was "well on his way to seeing all — or at least most — of his books adapted for the big screen." That same weekend, Green signed a first-look deal with Fox 2000 Pictures, which would allow him to work with previous collaborators from Temple Hill Entertainment.
But Looking for Alaska isn't a part of that bargain. The film rights to Green's novel about a boy who falls in love with an endlessly complicated young woman belong to Paramount, who optioned the book shortly after its publication in 2005. The Looking for Alaska film adaptation has been in development hell for the last 11 years or so, with Green frequently trying to buy back the rights from Paramount as a result.
After the success of The Fault in Our Stars, Paramount pulled Looking for Alaska out of the slush pile. The production company brought in Green's Temple Hill collaborators, Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber, to write the screenplay, with Rebecca Thomas ( Electric Children ) attached to direct.
On June 30, Green uploaded a new video to the vlogbrothers YouTube channel, in which he expressed excitement for the project's direction. He says, "suddenly it seems like the movie isn't just going to happen, it's going to happen in a way that I can be really proud of."
But now it seems there's trouble in Alaska once again. A January 19 vlogbrothers video finds Green questioning whether the Looking for Alaska film adaptation will ever happen:
When is Looking for Alaska going to be made into a movie? Aughh, I don't know. Maybe never?
I sold the movie rights to a movie studio more than 10 years ago, and I have tried many, many, many times to buy them back in the intervening decade. But thus far that hasn't happened.
They've tried to make a movie a bunch of times, but it's always fallen apart for one reason or another, and, at this point, I'm not involved in the project in any way. I'm not gonna lie, it definitely bums me out.
So if you don't hear any Looking for Alaska movie updates from me, that's why. Uhhh, maybe that will change someday. I hope so! But I don't expect so.
If that doesn't break your heart like a John Green novel, the author revealed in a series of Thursday tweets that the Looking for Alaska film adaptation had gone swiftly downhill. Green has since deleted most of the dialogue, including a reply in agreement with a fan who said, "fuck Paramount, wish the rights were at Fox."
Deleted or not, Green's comments reveal a sad state of affairs between the writer and the film studio. He prefaced the exchange with a still-live tweet reminding his followers that he "do[es] not cast movies." That comment is pretty familiar to Green's fans, who recall his December 21 micro-conversation with J.K. Rowling. Now, Green says, not only does he have no say in if, when, or how Looking for Alaska will be cast, he also can't get so much as a returned phone call from Paramount: "I don't think they like me. The feeling is profoundly mutual. So I can't even get someone to answer the telephone, let alone cast a film."
Green has not commented further on the situation at hand, although I'm sure he's inundated with angrily supportive tweets from his legion of fans. I will ask everyone who reads this to respect that Green has deleted his comments, and to refrain from pestering him about the Looking for Alaska film adaptation until he speaks of it again. If he can't do anything, there's no reason any of us should make this worse for him.
Images: Getty Images; Giphy (2)