Even though John Green’s 2005 novel Looking for Alaska never got made into a movie despite a few attempts, I feel more optimistic about his new best-seller The Fault in Our Stars actually reaching the big screen. The story of two teenagers with cancer falling in love, which was optioned last week by Fox 2000, has an amazing blend of humor and tragedy. And with his massive online following and strong sales, Green’s profile has risen considerably since 2005.
I never visualized actors while reading The Fault in Our Stars, but the kids playing the leads, Hazel and Augustus, would have a huge challenge ahead of them. They’d have to be funny, capable of rapid-fire verbal sparring, and at the same time, take their performances into heavy territory without falling into melodrama. They’d have to be the sort of kids who are a bit wise beyond their years but are still into into video games and America’s Next Top Model and nihilistic Dutch authors.
After seeing The Descendants, I could picture Shailene Woodley in the lead role as Hazel. The Descendants had a comparable mix of drama and comedy, and Woodley did a great job with that balance – the scene where she jumps in the pool after hearing that her mother wouldn’t come out of the coma was heartbreaking. Don’t judge her by Secret Life! I could also see Hailee Steinfeld, although we haven’t seen her in a comedic role yet, and maybe Abigail Breslin.
Thinking of someone to play Augustus is even trickier. What 17-year-old guy is “dead sexy,” extremely charismatic, and startlingly wise? One of my colleagues suggested Logan Lerman of Percy Jackson fame. A lot of the teen actors I’m thinking of who have the acting chops (Freddie Highmore, Joel Courtney) just don’t have the Augustus Waters look. Help me out here!
Who do you think can do Hazel and Augustus justice?