I have updated the gallery with over 1200 screen captures of Shailene’s stunning performance as Hazel Grace Lancaster in The Fault in Our Stars. In addition to the film itself, I have also added captures from the bonus material included on the Blu-ray disc. Enjoy!
USA TODAY – Pain demands to be felt.
That’s a key line in John Green’s beloved 2012 best-seller The Fault in Our Starsand a major component in the movie adaptation (*** 1/2 out of four; rated PG-13; opens Thursday night in select cities and Friday nationwide).
Pain is at the heart of a love story about two strikingly articulate teens living in “the Republic of Cancervania.” They cope with it daily and wryly acknowledge its torment. The pain depicted is not solely physical, though that’s a significant component. Emotional agony proves to be the toughest of all.
So, those unfamiliar with the book should be duly warned: Bring plenty of tissues.
Stars is an unabashed tearjerker, though it’s also about celebrating life. The movie is well-written, well-acted, acerbic, funny and wisely observed. Fans of the book will be glad to hear it is faithful to Green’s tale.
Hazel Grace Lancaster (Shailene Woodley) is a bright and irreverent 16-year-old. Diagnosed with cancer at 13, she has to breathe from a tube connected to an oxygen tank she must carry everywhere. But she will not allow illness to define her.
At the behest of her loving mom (Laura Dern), Hazel reluctantly attends a support group for cancer survivors. Still, Hazel’s biggest passion is losing herself in An Imperial Affliction, a novel by a mysterious Amsterdam-based author.
One afternoon, a new boy stops by the support group. Augustus “Gus” Waters (Ansel Elgort) is a strapping 17-year-old who has lost part of a leg to cancer. He and Hazel share an instant connection, and the whip-smart pair trade barbs, strike up a friendship, then fall in love.
One of the movie’s biggest assets is its spot-on casting. Woodley, so superb in last year’s The Spectacular Now and 2011’s The Descendants, comes across as a fusion of soulful, wickedly funny and vulnerable. Gus says adorably romantic things like, “It would be a privilege to have my heart broken by you.”
Young girls will swoon over Gus’ appealing blend of wholesome and rakish. Older audiences will appreciate the naturalistic dialogue.
Hazel shares her favorite book with Gus and they lament its abrupt ending, longing to know what happened after the last page. Gus cashes in a gift and arranges for the two of them to go to Amsterdam to meet the mysterious author, Peter Van Houten (Willem Dafoe).
Their encounter with Van Houten is strange, but intriguing. However, a scene in which they kiss in the Anne Frank House, inspiring strangers to applaud, stands out for its artificiality (to be fair, it’s also in the book).
As co-written by Green and the superb screenwriting team of Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber (who wrote (500) Days of Summer and The Spectacular Now), the script makes only minor modifications to the book, omitting extraneous characters and non-essential dialogue.
Hazel and Gus must endure far more suffering than anyone their age should. That these immensely likable young people should be stricken with terminal illness is supremely unfair, making their love story all the more poignant.
When things go south, they remind each other: “The world is not a wish-granting factory.”
The Fault in Our Stars does, however, grant the audience’s wish for a literate, exuberant and wise teen romance.
PARADE – Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort opened up to Parade about what they learned about each other while filming Divergent and The Fault in Our Stars, on-set habits, favorite films as kids, fame, and more.
When did you first know you wanted to be an actor?
Shailene Woodley: “I was five and it was something that was fun for me and I knew what being an actor meant.”
Ansel Elgort: “I realized I wanted to be a performer when I was about nine. I did ballet and I went out on stage for the first time as a ballet dancer and I liked being on stage and then later that turned into wanting to be an actor, but at first it was I want to be a performer.”
What was your favorite movie as a kid?
Shailene: “I loved The Goonies. It was sort of the first movie that made my eyes open up to the possibilities of the world. I think it made me want and crave adventure. Even now, I watch it and it makes me want to be an explorer of the world.”
Ansel: “My favorite movie growing up was Billy Madison. It was just really funny and crude and it had bad words in it and funny parts and I loved it!”
You two worked together on both Divergent and The Fault in Our Stars. What were some of your biggest takeaways about each other as actors?
Shailene: Oh man, Ansel and I work very similarly in the sense that as soon as the camera says action, we’re both very there, but as soon as it says cut, we’re able to bounce back into being ourselves. Neither of us spends lots of time getting into character. It’s always fun to work with different actors who do that, but there’s something really special about working with somebody where the second the camera is rolling you get to be locked in with each other. I also learned when Ansel is on set; he brings this sense of new curiosity because when we did this movie it was only your third film, right? When we worked on Divergent together it was only his second film, so there was this new sense of learning about things that some of the other people I’ve worked with don’t question anymore or act curious about anymore. It was really exciting for me to experience a film set for the first time again through his eyes.”
Ansel: “That will probably change soon!”
Shailene: “You’ll never do that. I’ll slap you if you do that!”
Ansel: “I learned that about Shailene — that she would slap me if I was bad! And I really liked that because she’s honest with people, there’s no BS and she’s not fake, she’s a real friend because of that to me. I learned a lot about her because she’s so open. She’s a totally open soul to me and I’m a totally open soul to her. And I learned, especially when seeing the movie, I was like, ‘wow, this girl is an amazing actress!’”
Shailene: “Right back at you, buddy.”
The Fault in Our Stars has some very somber moments. What were some of those more emotional scenes like to film together?
Shailene: “They were amazing. One of them was this eulogy scene and Ansel was sitting there with pale makeup on and even though he was off screen, he was crying with me or he was locked into my eyes, and to have him in that position and to see him in that vulnerable state was really emotional because it felt so real. And the gas station scene where Ansel had to cry and lose himself, I just remember being there for him and that’s something really special about the way we work together, we can both be present for each other.”
Ansel: “I’m very glad that so many emotional scenes were with Shailene because she is so emotionally available. We’re so comfortable with each other. It’s sort of like when you cry and your mom gives you a hug and you cry harder, because we’re such good friends, in the scene we can feel the emotion even more because we’re so comfortable with each other.”
Can you dish on some of each other’s on-set habits?
Ansel: “It’s always food with Shailene!”
Shailene: “Always. You’re snacking all the time, too.”
Ansel: “I’ll eat anything, but I end up eating a little healthier when I’m with Shailene because I’m aware of it.”
Shailene: “We’re also both pretty social on movie sets.”
Ansel: “We like making friends with everybody on set. I loved the sound guys on this movie. We’re always energetic, fun loving.”
Shailene: “We both show up with a smile on our face no matter what time it is.”
Shailene, you’re such a breath of fresh air in Hollywood when it comes to your candor. Have you always been outspoken?
“I think so. I’m an introvert by nature. I need my alone time. I gather my energy by being alone. But I feel like one of the greatest things that I’ve ever learned in life is truth and being truthful and breaking it down to the raw bone. I don’t know if it’s being outspoken or this desire or inherent ability to be truthful.”
How have you managed to stay so down to earth despite the fame?
“I think it’s funny, this whole Hollywood life is so fabricated because at the end of the day it doesn’t matter who you are and what your name is, you still go home and you have to deal with the dirty dishes or pick up the dog poo or call your grandma who is in the hospital. And the word fame separates being human and being something that’s not real. There’s this projected idea that being famous means you live a certain life and that’s just not true at all. I’m really lucky to have a great group of core people around me who really know me inside and out and they’re my tribe but at the end of the day, we’re all human beings going through our human process regardless of what the outside circumstances are.”
Ansel, you also DJ and produce music; what was the first CD you ever owned?
“The funny thing is, the first music I was ever into was show tunes. Oklahoma, The King and I, and that says something about who I am now.”
What was it like for you growing up in New York City?
“Growing up in New York City was so helpful because you end up never being in one bubble, you experience different people and communities. There’s so much diversity and that’s so important — especially as an actor. I feel like I can bring so many characters alive because of that.”
THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER – “Okay? Okay,” may be one of the many memorable lines from The Fault in Our Stars, but a special Saturday night showing of Josh Boone’s adaptation of John Green’s best-seller was anything but temperate for an audience of screaming — and sobbing — fans, especially when Boone, Green and the cast appeared onstage for a postscreening Q&A.
Green kicked off the panel at New York City’s SVA Theatre by saying he was overwhelmed with gratitude to watch the film with such a vocal and emotional audience, especially “because it’s not my movie, I didn’t make it — I was just on set being like, ‘Woo!'” he laughed. “You can have a lot of different experiences in Hollywood as an author, I’ve had a few of them and my friends have had a lot more of them, and this one is almost unprecedented where the whole time, you just feel really grateful because everyone involved in the project is giving of their extraordinary talent to tell the story, and it’s so much bigger than you could have made it on your own.”
The actors noted how they each prepared to play terminally-ill teens. Shailene Woodley, whose Hazel Grace has thyroid cancer with metastasis forming in her lungs, said she was careful about which scenes to showcase her ever-present oxygen tank and cannula. “I thought a lot about it, and after meeting with people who they themselves were stuck with an oxygen tank twenty-four seven, I realize that if I were to actually breathe the way Hazel, if she were a real person, would breathe, it wouldn’t translate visually to the screen,” she said, shortening her breath while answering. “The movie would be really long. It was a hard, tricky decision of what scenes to play out and incorporate the breathing into, and what scenes to not forget about it, but not make it as big of a character as it would be in real life.”
Woodley read the script two years ago, and then the book immediately after. “It changed my life and I realized, after the book, two things: one, I was incredibly depressed that Augustus Waters did not exist in real life, and two, I found myself totally perplexed and completely moved by the fact that one of my new greatest role models was a fictional character, Hazel,” she said. “I didn’t want to do this movie as an actor, like, ‘Look at me cry!’ It was more that the book moved me so much, and whosoever’s hands it ended up falling into were the guardians of this book, and it was our duty to protect it, nourish it and make sure that when it grew up into a cinematic piece, it still retained the integrity that the book had. It definitely was one of the biggest honors of my life to be part of this film — and I don’t say that lightly.”
And to unwind after filming heavily emotional scenes, Woodley went straight home, made a bowl of popcorn (which she does every night anyway, “it’s just a weird ritual and it’s the best thing on the planet”) and went straight to sleep. “You’re exhausted when you cry — I’m sure you’re pretty tired right now!” she told the teary audience.
To play Augustus Waters (whose cancer had him losing part of his leg), Ansel Elgort said, “I learned about him by spending tom with John — Augustus and John are very similar guys.” (Green then told Elgort, “I appreciate you noticing how handsome I am!”) Nat Wolff, who loses his sight in the film, met with cancer patients — “I was really nervous about that because I didn’t want it to feel like I was using them” — and walked around his home and town blindfolded. He also wore plastic contacts while filming his postsurgery scenes: “I walked into the camera a couple times!”