Welcome to the YA Movie Countdown, our resident expert’s biweekly guide to young-adult book-to-film adaptations.
It’s time to get to know and love the team behind The Fault in Our Stars because after what’s expected to be a huge Friday, June 6 start, the talent involved will have loads more to come.
In case you missed author John Green’s New York Times best seller, The Fault in Our Stars features Shailene Woodley as Hazel Grace Lancaster, a teenager suffering from stage-four thyroid cancer with metastasis in her lungs. Even though her mother insists she try to make friends, attend support groups and have some fun, Hazel can’t help but to look at herself as a grenade that’s bound to explode and hurt everyone around her. However, when Hazel catches cancer survivor Augustus Waters’ (Ansel Elgort) eye, he falls for her so hard, he won’t even entertain the idea of them being apart.
Yes, The Fault in Our Stars will require you to invest in a serious stock of tissues, but director Josh Boone earns every single tear. With comedic support from Nat Wolff as Hazel and Gus’ eye-cancer-stricken buddy Isaac, they manage to deliver a movie that’s part coming-of-age fun and part sob fest, and while the combination will leave you puffy eyed in the end, it’ll also send you on your way with an intense appreciation for what you have and what you have to look forward to.
People will be talking about The Fault in Our Stars and also about the talent involved, so let us help you get to know them better.
Where You’ve Seen Her: Woodley starred in ABC Family’s The Secret Life of the American Teenager for the show’s full five-season run. She received a Golden Globe nomination for her work in Alexander Payne’s The Descendants and an Independent Spirit Award nod for her performance in The Spectacular Now. Her latest release, the book-to-film adaptation of Divergent, scored a $54.6 million domestic opening and has accumulated over $266 at the worldwide box office so far.
What’s Coming Up Next: With the success of Divergent, Lionsgate and Summit are pushing forward with the franchise. The second film, Insurgent, just went into production and Allegiant – Part 1 and Allegiant – Part 2 are bound to follow. Magnolia Pictures will also release Woodley’s Sundance Film Festival entry White Bird in a Blizzard later this year.
Why You Should Keep an Eye on Her: Woodley is no longer a star on the rise. She’s sitting pretty right at the top. She delivered exceptional work in The Descendants and The Spectacular Now, proved she could carry a franchise in Divergent and she’s about to solidify herself as top talent yet again in The Fault in Our Stars. Woodley is undoubtedly here to stay.
Where You’ve Seen Him: Even though Elgort is still a newcomer, he’s managed to fill his resume with an impressive list of titles. He first hit the big screen in Carrie as Tommy Ross, but it’s his portrayal of Caleb Pryor in Divergent that really skyrocketed him to the top.
What’s Coming Up Next: Caleb doesn’t get all that much screen time in Divergent, but if Insurgent sticks close to the narrative of the second book, that’s going to change big time. On top of that, Elgort also has Jason Reitman’s latest, Men, Women & Children, on the way as well.
Why You Should Keep an Eye on Him: Call it cliché, but this kid’s the next big thing. His role in the Divergent series will grow, The Fault in Our Stars is tracking very well and he’s fantastic in it. His effortless portrayal of Gus’ confidence and charm is so magnetizing it’s hard not to wish the guy were real so you could befriend him yourself.
Where You’ve Seen Him: Wolff became a household name for the Nickelodeon crowd when The Naked Brothers Band movie spawned a TV show in 2007. The series earned Nat and his brother Alex quite the following and now both brothers are pursuing film careers while continuing to make music. And don’t let the Nickelodeon roots fool you. Nat and Alex have a brand new album arriving just before The Fault in Our Stars on June 5 and based on the prerelease samples, they’ve got a very mature sound now.
What’s Coming Up Next: Wolff completed principal photography on Behaving Badly with Selena Gomez and the film is expected to hit theaters in August. He's also set to lead Green’s next feature adaptation, Paper Towns, and he has a role in the big-screen rendition of Stephen King’s The Stand, too.
Why You Should Keep an Eye on Him: There’s a reason Wolff is locking all of these roles. He’s good! The March 2013 release Admission didn’t gain much traction, but Wolff still delivered an appealingly awkward, amusing and heartfelt performance in it. He strikes a unique and highly effective balance in The Fault in Our Stars, too. His character’s circumstances are grim, but Isaac also serves as a source of comedic relief of sorts. There’s a palpable despair, but embedded within a powerful sarcasm and wit.
Where You’ve Seen Him: Green’s first novel, Looking for Alaska, scored him a Michael L. Printz Award from the American Library Association. Green’s third novel, Paper Towns, made it onto The New York Times best sellers list for children’s books and, soon after that, his fifth novel would achieve the same feat – The Fault in Our Stars.
What’s Coming Up Next: Shortly after Paper Towns’ release, Mandate Pictures snatched up the rights to turn it into a film, but those have since been passed along to Fox 2000, the company behind The Fault in Our Stars.
Why You Should Keep an Eye on Him: If Green continues to deliver chart-topping cinematic books, there’s no doubt the film industry will keep adapting them, but Green is also a showman himself. He doesn’t just let his work speak for him; he speaks for himself, too, and very frequently at that. Green shares a YouTube channel with his brother Hank Green, and is also particularly deft at using all forms of social media in a way that makes his fans feel part of his endeavors.
Where You’ve Seen Him: Boone’s feature directorial debut, Stuck in Love, played at the Toronto International Film Festival, Phoenix Film Festival and Newport Beach International Film Festival before rolling into theaters last July.
What’s Coming Up Next: Boone’s got three potential projects in the works, but it’s unclear which will shoot first. There's Pretenders with Imogen Poots, Dianna Agron, Michael B. Jordan and Anton Yelchin attached as well as two Stephen King adaptations, Lisey’s Story and The Stand. There hasn’t been much movement on Pretenders or Lisey’s Story in quite a bit, but Boone has mentioned The Stand in recent interviews suggesting that could be next.
Why You Should Keep an Eye on Him: Any book is bound to change when being brought to screen, and Boone manages to do that in a way that’ll open the source material to newcomers while respecting the longtime fans’ original experience.
The YA Movie Countdown runs here on Movies.com every other Wednesday.
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