'Fault In Our Stars' John Green Says Shailene Woodley Is the Perfect Hazel, So Back Off Haters
The cryiest movie of the summer is fast approaching: The big screen adaptation of John Green's novel The Fault In Our Stars comes out June 6, which means there's gonna be a lot more of Shailene Woodley, Ansel Elgort, and Green himself up in your headlines for this next stretch of time. That's hardly a bad thing, though, because they've all got some interesting things to say. Sometimes it's friendly advice to sun your genitals when you get the chance, and sometimes it's just a deep appreciation for the characters they're playing — or, in Green's case, the characters he created. And it seems the latter continues to be enthusiastic about what the various forces of Hollywood have done to turn his book into a reality. He talked
Green has a saying he repeats rather frequently in his travels as bestselling author/benevolent vlogging kingpin/sharpie-face man (see below): "Books belong to their readers." It basically means that yes, Green came up with the characters and put a lot of work into writing the book — but when all is said and done and the book is published/made into a movie whose trailer makes you cry, it's completely within the rights of the audience to interpret it all however they like.
Nevertheless, Green's voice is still a good one to have around. This is especially true when he's giving his complete blessing to Shailene Woodley in the role of cancer-ridden teen Hazel Grace Lancaster. It's a blessing that went back to her very first 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?"
This isn't the first time he's sung Woodley's praises — in fact he does it quite frequently. Back when her casting was first announced, for example, he took to his tumblr to tell everyone how perfect he felt she was for the part (emphasis his):
Shailene Woodley is a brilliant actress and Golden Globe nominee. I cannot think of any 18-year-old actress who has received the kind of critical acclaim that she has (she also won an Independent Spirit Award).
She auditioned for The Fault in Our Stars not because she needs the part (I mean, she’s in the new Spider Man movie, for God’s sakes) but because she loves the book. Her depth of understanding were immediately obvious in the audition and for me there could be no one else to play Hazel. (There were a bunch of really good auditions, but Shailene just understood Hazel as I imagined her.)
On a sillier note, he also issued a reminder that the fact that Woodley and Elgort played brother and sister in Divergent does not incest make — though it did make him nervous at first:
I am aware [of the "accidental incest"], yes. [Laughs.] I even knew that when we were casting! Yeah, yeah, yeah. But actors act. They aren't really brother and sister. If they were really brother and sister, it might be an issue for me. But it was so obvious to me that Ansel had to be Gus, that it didn't matter. And I think 45 seconds after you meet him in The Fault in Our Stars, it won't matter to anyone else. But I was nervous about it, initially. When they told me he was going to come in and audition, I was like, 'Ah, that's not going to work.'
You can read more on Green's feelings about the movie over at Vulture. Non-spoiler alert spoiler alert: He cried a lot on set.