So, while John Green is probably enjoying some time away from his paternity leave attending VidCon in Anaheim, CA, Stephen Lee from Entertainment Weekly spoke with him about the anticipated production of his highly popular book, The Fault in Our Stars, which will start shooting at the end of August.
You’ve had a tough road with your books being turned into movies. Are you more optimistic about The Fault in Our Stars?
Well, I’m still really hesitant to believe that it’s really going to happen, even though at this point it’s definitely going to happen. It’s still really hard to believe. I’m totally, unambiguously excited about The Fault in Our Stars being a movie. It’s not something I could have ever said before, about my other books, and the reason I’m so excited is that Shailene and Ansel are so great and Josh Bloom [sic] is such a great director. They’ve included me in every facet of the process, and I’m just so excited. So in the past where I felt nervous and I felt like Hollywood would sort of twist or lessen my books, now I’m just really, really excited.
Is it being handled better because the filmmakers realize how much people love this book?
Yeah, that’s a big difference. The people who are making the movie are aware of how passionately the readers of the book feel, and they respect that, and they want to honor that. Like me, they are terrified of failing to live up to readers’ expectations, and I think that’s really healthy. That is something I never expected to happen in my life because I don’t write the kinds of books that make big Hollywood movies, but I’m so so grateful and excited.
Not to toot my own horn, but I predicted Shailene Woodley as Hazel back in early 2012. I like to give myself credit for making it happen.
Yes! Like, seven people had read the book at that point. You were like, “Shailene Woodley, Hazel Grace Lancaster, watch for it.” And I was like, “Oh Stephan, you’re ridiculous,” but you were totally right. You can put that in your story. “Nailed it!”
You had a strong following before The Fault in Our Stars, but how has it changed since?
It’s just vastly different. Everything is different. So many more people have read the book and read all of my other books up until now and I get stopped every day, every time I go to Target. You know, it’s surreal. It’s impossible to get my head around, impossible to understand what that means. I can’t think of what a million people looks like, you know? So I kind of just try to keep my head down and keep working and making stuff and not thinking too much about it.
Why do you think The Fault in Our Stars has been so much more successful?
One of the main reasons that I think it’s been so much more successful is that people like it a lot more. That sounds really obvious, but in the world of publishing, I think sometimes people forget that we’re trying to make books for people who love them and not just trying to target this demo or that demo. But I also think that it was a bit of a unique moment. I had amazing people working on the book and committed to selling the book and I’ve had relationships almost all of them for more than 10 years because it had been a long time since my first book came out and they saw great potential in the book, and they felt it had a much broader audience than I thought it had, and they wanted to make sure that it got to all those people. And I don’t think it hurt that I signed 150,000 copies.
The Fault in Our Stars will be directed by Josh Boone and will star Shailene Woodley, Ansel Elgort, Nat Wolff, and Laura Dern. Filming is set to start on August 26th.
You can read the whole interview at Shelf Life | EW.com.