Today, a guest post from Elizabeth Eckhart about one of my favorite books I’ve read this year, The Fault in Our Stars by John Green, and the potential that maybe, just maybe this film is as awesome as the book. Possible?
There’s no denying that 2014 is already rivaling 2013 for the most YA film adaptations, and it looks like one of the latest, The Fault In Our Stars, based on John Green’s bestselling novel, is yet another hit. The film (and book) differ from many other YA books-turned-films because there is little action, supernatural forces, or massive wars. Instead, the film follows the tale of two teenagers who lead relatively normal lives – except for the fact that both have battled cancer.
The main characters, Hazel and Augustus, are played by current Hollywood “It” girl Shailene Woodley and the soon-to-be-famous Ansel Elgort. Woodley and Elgort were guaranteed to make a great film together; not just because the two are both incredibly talented, but also because the duo have acted together before in the underrated film The Spectacular Now(which received little theatrical attention, but is luckily available on demand through most cable providers), as is Divergent.
John Green’s novel adaptation, which stayed on the NY Times bestseller list for an astounding 119 weeks, is a teenager romance about two teens with cancer – but most importantly, the novel is NOT about cancer. Green worked tirelessly to create a story that is focused on the characters, and not the disease.
Green himself is a celebrity of sort, thanks to a series of cult hit books and the popular web series he co-hosts with his brother. He’s even active on social media, with a giant fanbase of over 2 million followers on Twitter, which just goes to show that authors, too, can receive huge recognition for their work.
At first, Green was opposed to selling the rights to the film. Since he had worked relentlessly to avoid the melodramatic feel of a “cancer story,” he worried that, “most of the movie versions would be exactly what I didn’t want it to be: sentimental and maudlin.” He told the Los Angeles Times that Temple Hill Entertainment was finally able to convince him by promising to make the film one hundred percent up to his standards, and exactly how he envisioned it.
Green took the offer literally by personally approving the screenplay created by Michael H. Weber and Scott Neustadter (he even admitted he liked the ending better than the ending of his own book!). He was also as interactive with the film as if he were a cast member himself. He was a regular figure on set, both coaching the actors through scenes and assisting the crew to perfect his vision. He chalked the experience to one of the best in his life, stating that, “I felt like being there was helpful, and they felt that way too. It was a truly once in a lifetime thing.”
It looks like Green’s efforts, and those of the cast and crew paid off, since reviews have been calling this film the YA equivalent of The Notebook. Once again, the chemistry between Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort was astonishing – despite the tough plot line, both characters felt as real as the person sitting next to you. Many are going as far as to say the two deserve Oscars! Even fans of the book have admitted that not only did the film stay true to the book (which is increasingly rare due to filmmaker’s desire to please everyone, not just fans of the novel) but managed to induce just as many tears as the written version!
Elizabeth Eckhart is an entertainment blogger who was born and raised in Chicago. She loves books slightly more than films, and is almost always disappointed with the big screen versions of her favorite novels (then again, who isn’t?). She can be followed on Twitter at @elizeckhart.