“The Fault In Our Stars,” this generation’s widely read story of love and its infinities from scribe John Green will finally unfold on the big screen on June 5 in the Philippines from 20th Century Fox. The “The Fault In Our Stars” celebrates the power of young love in all its magic, power and complexity. The film follows Hazel and Gus, played by today’s well-loved pair – Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort, as their relationship develops from their first meeting at a cancer support group until the time they set off on a surprising and exciting journey to Amsterdam.
For all the characters, it was paramount that every aspect of their lives felt authentic. Producer Wyck Godfrey notes that, “John Green said the reason he loves writing about teenagers is that they are not yet that cynical. In some ways they live very openly, haven’t yet been become jaded, and it’s a beautiful time for them. Teens are impulsive and will say and do anything. One of the most fascinating things about Gus, Hazel and Isaac is that their illnesses don’t change that.”
The filmmakers’ insistence on verisimilitude led them to visit cancer support groups. “When Josh Boone and I got together with the actors, the first thing we said is that we must represent this experience and situation in an honest way,” Godfrey explains.“The only way to do that was to spend time with young people who are patients and meet with the doctors treating them, as well as with the parents going through it all with them. When we got to our shooting locations in Pittsburgh, we reached out to the hospitals and the cancer centers and asked for their help with this.” The production made contact with several patients either going through treatment or in remission, many of whom became a valuable part of the production, appearing in scenes set at the story’s cancer support group. “These young people have been so important to the movie not only because they lent their talents on screen but because it’s given all of us an opportunity to talk about their experiences,” says Green.“What we found is that what started off as research questions, like, ‘Tell me what it’s like …”ended up with us talking about movies, cars, girls and whatever else. It was a joy just getting to hang out with them.”
Prior to and during production, Green’s book was a touchstone for everyone connected with “The Fault In Our Stars.” “My favorite thing about the book,” Godfrey says, “is when you put it down you feel like, ‘Every one of us should attack life with the energy that Hazel and Gus do.’ At their core, Hazel, Gus and Isaac are experiencing many of the same things that teenagers have gone through for generations.”
Adds Shailene Woodley: “It is an honor to have brought to the big screen one of the most powerful fictional characters I’ve ever met. “The Fault In Our Stars” rewrote the way I look at each breath.” Woodley’s views on the story, themes and characters mirrored those of her director and the producers. “The Fault In Our Stars” is a love story about two kids with cancer, but it’s not about cancer,” she explains.“I was so deeply moved by Hazel and Gus, who are able to see things that a lot of us are too busy living our lives to see.”
The object of Hazel’s affections, Gus, played by Ansel Elgort, is someone who believes in big, heroic gestures. He’s brash and tough, but also possesses an appealing intelligence. Gus is a complicated figure: he’s a former high school basketball star, and his favorite book – until meeting Hazel – is based on a videogame. At the same time, he’s an intellectual who enjoys giving long, thoughtful monologues.
For Elgort, Gus was exactly the part he was looking for. Like so many others, he was a fan of the novel. “Above all, the book is full of beautiful ideas that make you think about life and love,” he notes. Tackling his most challenging role yet, Elgort credits Woodley as a source of strength. “I’ve had some moments in this film that have been harder for me than any in my career, so having Shailene by my side made it a lot easier.