That Time I Got To Interview John Green About TFIOS Movie & Made A Fool Out Of Myself

 

TFIOS-banner

OKAY, so if you follow me on the Twitter (you should because then we can talk ALWAYS) you know I got the opportunity to be a part of a phone interview with about 8-10 other bloggers from around the interwebs and JOHN GREEN about The Fault In Our Stars movie. I love his books, FINALLY just read The Fault In Our Stars, enjoy his videos and I thought he was super nice the time I got to meet him 2 years ago! SO I WAS A WEE BIT EXCITED. It was an opportunity I was grateful for and definitely is one of the coolest things I’ve been asked to do and I’m super excited for The Fault In Our Stars movie (out June 6 from Twentieth Century Fox!) so I couldn’t wait to hear what he had to say regarding the movie and of the buzz. Seriously, who else is ready to bawl their eyes out??

But you know me, readers, and you know somehow I have a knack for THINGS to happen that make an ordinary story into a Jamie Story. I don’t know how these things happen to me (my family members and friends had messages of “omg only YOU” when I told them) but they do. So I’m going to share the interview highlights with you and then leave my story at the end! THE SUSPENSE. (I’m trusting you not to scroll down, friends!)

I wish I could just show you guys the WHOLE interview because there was so much GOOD said but it would be very long. I loved the questions and his answers were so thoughtful and genuine. It was a great conversation and made me very optimistic about the movie. I’m going to share the parts of the conversation that were most interesting to ME and I hope you’ll find them to be interesting as well!

JOhn Green

1. We shall start with my question first because why not!

My question: I know you were nervous to ever give up rights for TFIOS to be a movie because it was so personal to you…what was your biggest fear in doing so?

John Green: “Well, I think it’s really hard to make a movie that’s serious or about serious topics without sentimentalizing it. And so, I guess my fear was that it would become a sentimental story, which is what I most didn’t want. I was trying really hard to write as unsentimental and straightforward a story as I could. I was also worried that the characters would be defined by heir disability, instead of having disability be part of their lives but not the defining feature of their lives. But, the people who ended up getting the rights at Fox 2000 and the producers, Wyck Godfrey and Isaac Klausner, they just promised me that they wouldn’t do that. That was the first thing they said to me when we met, and I believed them. I took it seriously, and they kept every promise. They really did.”

 

egg throwing scene TFIOS

—> I loved what he had to say about this because I am always afraid, especially in the case of TFIOS, that when a book goes to movie that they will miss the spirit of the story. And TFIOS was most definitely not a sentimental story and it was NOT about them having cancer. I HAVE HOPE THEY WILL GET IT RIGHT.

 

2. John on some “behind the scenes” aspects of making the movie:

 

    • On if important dialogue in the book made it to the movie: “Almost every line of dialogue is from the book.  If anything, I was like, “Guys, don’t feel so married to the book.”  But, they were.  They were also very conscious of what lines were important to readers, thanks to the gifts of Tumblr and Twitter and everything else.  They saw what people were responding to, making art about, and it was important to them to keep it in….There were a lot of lines I wanted to preserve if we could make them sound movie-ish and, you know, normal.  But I think they did an amazing job.  I think everything that fans want to hear they’re going to hear.”

thoughts are like stars quote

  • On his role in casting and if he SAW the characters before casting: “I’m really bad at looking at faces and understanding faces, I think.  So, I don’t really see faces that clearly when I’m writing. Almost immediately, even when she was auditioning, Shailene became Hazel for me.  Hazel just looked like Shailene and talked like Shailene talks as Hazel.  In terms of casting, I had a voice.  You know, I’m not a casting director.  I didn’t direct the movie, so it wasn’t my decision, certainly. But, I definitely got to share my opinion, and I was lucky that, in the end, the cast that I dreamt of is the cast that we got.  I think Gus was the hardest role to cast for.  When Ansel was with Shailene, he just became Augustus to me. “Gus and Hazel TFIOS
  • On how often he was there during filming & his role: “I was there for almost every day.  I would say at least 80% of the time.  I usually went home on Thursday night so that I could spend a few days with my family.  But, yeah, I was there most of the time. I didn’t have a role.  But, I think it’s nice to have somebody on a movie set who’s not doing anything, because everyone else is so busy and they’re working so hard and they’re talking about, “Did we get this coverage or that coverage,” and, “Did we get it this way?  Did we get it that way?  Did the light change?”  And I could just be like, “Hey, everybody, hold on for a second.  This is awesome.  Let’s take a step back and realize how ridiculously awesome this is….I was professionally excited on the set.”

3. John on GreenLit & all the other buzz around him vs. other YA lit because of TFIOS movie

 

 I was really happy another interviewer brought up the recent GREENLIT and some of the ridiculous things that have been printed about YA and John Green as the buzz around The Fault In Our Stars movie has begun. It’s been a topic discussed all over Twitter and blogs and so I was very interested to hear what he had to say about it. 

  • On the Hollywood Reporter article saying he has done things Judy Blume never has: “Right, which is ridiculous. Blume has achieved a lot that I haven’t.”   <—  I loved this succinct response.
  • On the misconceptions that John is ushering in contemporary YA: “I can only–every time I’m asked that question, like “Oh, this is such a departure from dystopias or vampires,” I’m like, “Not really,” because really the world of contemporary realistic young adult fiction is very old and very well established.  And I am but one writer and not the best, not even near the best, I don’t think, in the world. And also that I think part of what makes YA so strong is that there’s a longstanding conversation between and within genres.  You have sci-fi books and fantasy books interacting with and responding to realistic fiction and mysteries, and one of the things I really love about YA is all that stuff sharing a shelf. I try really hard to talk about that in interviews, to talk about the way that it looks very different to us from inside the world of YA, that it isn’t about one book or one story, and that there’s hundreds and hundreds of books every year that are read by at least 10,000 teenagers.  And that, to me, is the real story about YA, is its diversity and breadth, and finding way to preserve and grow that diversity rather than celebrating single titles.  But, right now there’s going to be a lot of attention on my work in association with the movie.  And I’m trying to answer the questions as best I can, but there is a story that people want to tell.  And they’re going to tell that story, a lot of times regardless of what I say.”

 4. John on how the movie has made him look at his own book differently

 

“When I was writing the book, I saw the world through Hazel’s eyes.  I didn’t imagine the world through Gus’s eyes or the world through Hazel’s parents’ eyes as much.  I mean, I guess I connected a lot to Hazel’s dad, so maybe there was some empathy there.  But, I was trying to stay narrowly in Hazel’s mind and seeing the world as Hazel would see it. And so, seeing the movie, I thought very differently about Augustus and about Hazel’s parents, and even about Van Houten.  Each of those actors brings to their performance a realness, a sense that they are the center of their own story, just as anyone is. It helped me to think differently and I guess more broadly about Gus, the challenges that he’s been through before the story begins, how that’s given him confidence but how also that confidence is real and it’s earned because he has integrated this disability into his life.  But, it’s also a way of protecting himself.  It’s also a way of protecting himself against the things that are harder for him now, or the way that his life has been changed, physically and emotionally by his disability.”

 

A Fault In Our Stars

5. John on the final outcome of the movie:

  • “They (the producers) were absolutely 100 percent committed to making a movie that would honor the story and that fans of the story would care about and respond to.  And I believed them…And I think they did a really good job, and I think that’s why, for me, at least, it’s such a special movie, because it’s so hard to do that well.  It’s so hard to take a tone that’s in a novel and put it into a movie.  It’s such a different format.  They were just so committed to doing that that I think it worked.  I think that was their priority, and it really–at least for me, it really did work….I genuinely love the movie.  I feel so grateful to the people who made it, because it’s one of the most faithful adaptations I’ve ever seen.”
  • I wish I could tell you about all the things that I’m unhappy about (re: the movie), but I’m really not. Well, except for the sort of mainstream media coverage that The Fault in Our Stars is the only young adult novel ever published.”  <— LOLS. I’ll tell you. He had me laughing a lot during the whole interview.

A Fault In Our Stars

It was a seriously lovely and stimulating conversation to be honest with you. He made me laugh as much as he made me think (kind of like his books?) and I really appreciated the opportunity to be on this call and really appreciated how candid and friendly John was. Very down-to-earth guy! I’m even MORE pumped for the movie!

So before I leave you with my VERY memorable story that goes along with this call….go watch the trailer and cry a little bit. And then laugh at my story. :P

Official websites – #TFIOS

Visit the official website
Like TFIOS on Facebook
Follow @TheFaultMovie on Twitter
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About the film

Hazel and Gus are two extraordinary teenagers who share an acerbic wit, a disdain for the conventional, and a love that sweeps them — and us – on an unforgettable journey. Their relationship is all the more miraculous, given that they met and fell in love at a cancer support group. THE FAULT IN OUR STARS, based upon the number-one bestselling novel by John Green, explores the funny, thrilling and tragic business of being alive and in love.

Starring Shailene Woodley, Ansel Elgort, Willem Dafoe, Nat Wolff, Laura Dern, Sam Trammell, Mike Birbiglia, and Emily Peachey
Directed by Josh Boone
Screenplay by Scott Neustadter, based on the book by John Green
Produced by Marty Bowen, Wyck Godfrey

 

Story time:

So we all get to ask a question to John and we have been told we were muted on the call when we were not speaking. So I’m sitting in my car (super professional right?) because we have crap service in our apartment and I ask my question first and then I settle in and listen to all of the questions and his really thoughtful answers. Well, Will comes out to head to the gym so I jump out of my car, thinking I AM ON MUTE, and I run over to him and I shove the phone to his ear and I’m like, “OMG OMG LISTEN JOHN GREEN.” And then I say something else and then, “Don’t worry…I’m on mute.” And THEN, to my shock and horror, John Green STOPS what he is saying, laughs and says, “HAHA you aren’t on mute.” I was then promptly put on mute. I look at Will with only the most wide eyed look one could have and slink back to the car while giggling/cursing my luck.

National-Book-Fest-John-Green

ONLY ME, FRIENDS. But I will remember it for sure! And hey, maybe if I say, “HEY JOHN I was that girl who thought I was muted” the next time I see him…maybe he will remember me haha.

 

Any thoughts on things brought up in the interview? Are you excited for the movie? What are you anticipating seeing on the big screen??

 

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About Jamie

Jamie is a 28 year old married lady who is in denial that she's actually that old. When she's not reading you can find her doing Pilates followed by eating gelato, listening to music with oversized headphones and teaching her niece how to be as awesome as she is.

Comments

  1. You, Jamie, are the most awesome, most adorable person ever! You always compel me to leave comments even when I have negative 8 hours of time in the day. :) I absolutely love The Fault in Our Stars….at least what I’ve finished of it….I got about halfway through when the cancer story got a little too personal for me due to some sudden family circumstances in my life. I haven’t been able to go back yet, even though I desperately want to. I’m hoping to muster up the “courage,” I guess I could call it, to finish before the movie is released….but not sure if I’m ready to cry en masse with everyone else in the theater! Regardless, I loved your question and the others that you featured….thank you for sharing! LOL, and you definitely had a memorable John Green experience. :)

  2. I really enjoyed this, John Green is such a cool guy. I haven’t read TFIOS yet, I’m being a big baby about it – I don’t want to be sat in bed bawling my eyes out. But the films out soon and my Mum loved the book so I want to see the film with her but I need to read the book first.

    Is it really gonna make me cry like a baby?

    Rosie x

    • This is the fear I hear over and over and I finally convinced a few friends/family members to read it. I told them that I did cry, but only like at one or two parts (at most) but that I laughed a lot more, smiled a lot more, and enjoyed the whole story rather than being destroyed by a sad part. Also, if it helps, there is a part that I shed a tear at that others cried more on and the part I really cried on, they didn’t at all. Both move on pretty quickly and don’t spiral down into sentimentality. It’s not that kind of book. …and sure you might cry but that just means that it made you feel something and isn’t that a big reason we enjoy a really good book? Just do it.

  3. OH MY GOSH JAMIE :D :D :D THAT MUTE STORY AHGHHGGHG :D
    i was literally clasping my hands over my mouth and making strangled noises when i read it, because – i feel you!!! that could be a me thing as well hahahahaha
    oh my goodness :’D

  4. That interview is fantastic! And that would totally happen to me too. I HATE all the crap he is getting because his book is popular. There are a lot of bloggers and people on twitter putting the blame on him, even though he is always promoting diverse books, other contemporary authors, and responds to those nutso articles in the way he did in this interview.

  5. How exciting Jaime that you were able to interview John Green! It sounds like it was a very memorable experience (especially that mute story)! It’s really interesting to read his thoughts on the movie and his story, especially this, ” But, it’s also a way of protecting himself. It’s also a way of protecting himself against the things that are harder for him now, or the way that his life has been changed, physically and emotionally by his disability.”

  6. Haha your story, that would be me too!!

    I love this. I love John Green. I love Hank. I love vlogbrothers. I love all the Green things. And when people start to talk like John asks for any of the massive amounts of praise and attention he gets, I GET MAD. It’s not like he’s all “hey, little people, I am your YA savior, bow down to me.”

    The casting looks great so I have faith in the movie. You can usually tell by the time they cast a movie if it sucks or not (cough*vampire academy*cough*spectacular now*cough*etc) and I think they nailed this.

  7. OMG the mute story! Hilarious!

    I loved his answers and I can totally hear JG’s voice in my head saying these things which is kind of weird, lol. What a fun story! Am I the only one that wants to know the “something else” you said while not on mute??

  8. Oh gosh! I probably would’ve had an equally embarrassing moment.
    There’s something so real about how John Green responds to his fans. He doesn’t try to sound too professional or pretentious, and he never seems like he’s looking down on his friends, even the awkward little teenagers (like me).

    • Lol. That’s supposed to say fans not friends. I need to remember not to text and comment on blog posts at the same time.

  9. He is hilarious and very witty. I’ve loved his books since college. In 2007, I was able to go with a professor to meet him at a book signing. My professor told me to ask him what made “Looking for Alaska” banned – which I didn’t know why at the time… and then he proceeded to dog ear two pages and circle the blow job scene. It was SO embarrassing! He was laughing the whole time. (and my professor!) It’s so awesome to see him being so successful!

  10. Great interview! I am adding TFIOS to my MUST READ list now, because I need to read it before I see the movie!

  11. Christina R. says:

    This is such an awesome awesome post!!

    YOu totally didn’t make a fool of yourself!! The questions were awesome and as usual John Green is a gentleman!!

    Thank you :)

  12. Hahaha, something like that could also happen to me. I can be a little.. clumsy like that, but hey, like you said, you now have a line for him that makes him recognize you :D

    I have a good feeling about this movie :)

  13. Thank for sharing your interview. I’m so jealous that you had the opportunity to interview John Green. I thought the book was beyond amazing and now I’m excited to see the movie.

  14. I loooooved reading these interview answers! I liked John Green’s videos before I ever read one of his books, so I just genuinely enjoy him as a person. Then I read TFIOS and fell even more in love! I can’t wait to see the movie. I’m so happy you finally read the book too :)

  15. I was on Twitter when that happened, and I remember laughing because you were freaking out! (Not that I wouldn’t have lost my mind, lol) I definitely think he’ll remember who you are now at least. And don’t worry, at least you didn’t say anything inappropriate! On a more serious note, that was a great question you asked him. I’m really hoping the movie is going to be as good as everyone has been saying!

  16. Oh, Jamie. Never stop being you. I was giggling the ENTIRE time!

    I might be exiled from the Internet forever for saying this, but I honestly have no interest in reading his stuff. THAT SAID, my youngest sister – who doesn’t read at all – asked me for TFiOS and read half of it in a single day. That alone makes me love the man.

    As for the movie itself, I probably won’t see it, but Pittsburgh is doing something awesome. The movie was filmed in town and June 5 there will be an advance screening with all proceeds going to TWO cancer charities! :) How fantastic is that!

  17. This is a great interview – John Green seems like an awesome guy. LOL to your mute story. You’ll never forget it, that’s for sure! I still haven’t read this book, but I want to someday soon!

  18. So This sounds amazing. I still do not think I can see this in public. I believe my friends and I have retitled it TFiOS: Ugly Crying in Public.

  19. That’s awesome! Thanks for sharing.
    And I have to confess most of my stories about meeting authors usually include me being a little silly.

  20. that is so cool that you got to interview him. And now you have the perfect way for him to always remember you!

  21. Christina R. says:

    LOVE what he said that seeing the movie and the actors gave him a different view of his own book!!

    He’s such an awesome person and author :)

    Thank you so very much :) It was a wonderful interview!! :)

  22. Hahaha, that’s really funny! I’m pretty sure we all have embarassing moments like that in our lives… at least it wasn’t a work call that you mistakingly thought you were on mute for!!

  23. Haha, that is so great. I bet he will remember the girl who wasn’t muted! I’m interested to see if the movie actually is straightforward, instead of overly sentimental. (That would be awesome!) John has said so many good things about the actors and producers that I have pretty high hopes for the movie. :)

  24. What great interview questions and answers! What a great opportunity! And at least it’s even more memorable now! lol

  25. Haha. Sounds like you had a really fun interview with John Green! :) I also can’t wait till the movie~ It looks so good. Great post!

  26. OMG I would have made a fool out of myself if I had that opportunity — how could you not!?! Awkward book girls unite :) I love your story, because wouldn’t it be cool if he DID remember, haha!

    Also, you are absolutely adorable. <3 LOVED reading this post!

  27. I love the story behind your interview. =) I think it’s good for authors to see our genuine excitement. I’m excited for the movie so my husband can see what the book is about (he’s not much of a reader). I actually think he’ll like it more than me. Haha!

  28. That is so coll that you got to talk to John Green. I’m very happy he has had such a big role in the movie, hopefully it will stay true to the book. That was what bugged me so much about Divergent, while it was a good movie, it was not very close to the book. Let’s hope that The Fault in Our stars does a great job!
    Beth Anne Nilles/Dollgirl4

  29. Kristal says:

    Literally CAN I BE YOU!! ugh I can’t even imagine what I would ask John Green if I was given the opportunity. There’s so much I want/need to know. But I can totally see me doing something like that. My life is one big awkward moment but I embrace it :)

  30. Kristal says:

    Literally CAN I BE YOU!! ugh I can’t even imagine what I would ask John Green if I was given the opportunity. There’s so much I want/need to know. But I can totally see me doing something like that. My life is one big awkward moment but I embrace it :) Can’t wait for the movie!!

  31. Thanks so much for this interview, Jamie – I love listening to John Green talk about pretty much anything. He’s incredibly thoughtful, and I think he thinks about things in a way that is beautiful and unique. Loved your question – it’s the question I had, too.

    I TOTALLY would have done what you did with the mute. Will must have been dying laughing. =)

  32. I love this post, I can’t believe i have to wait until June 20th until i can watch The Fault In Our Stars damn uk :(
    I agree with John Green, Shailene Woodley is exactly the Hazel that I would have picked and so happy she is in this!

  33. What an awesome opportunity! And a fantastic interview. He sounds like a really cool, down-to-earth guy. I can’t wait to see the movie! And bawl my eyes out. I’m dragging Phil with me and he’s already complaining that he doesn’t want to listen to me sob the whole time. I told him he doesn’t have a choice. :)

    OMG Jamie. That’s so hilarious. I feel like something like that would totally happen to me and I would be mortified for the rest of my life. Lol.

  34. Hey!
    Omg, that is absolutely hilarious. He probably would remember you, as that is something that probably doesn’t happen.. ever.
    Loved this interview. John seems like such a down to earth, funny guy. His answers seem honest and like he is thankful for everything he has. Vlogbrothers videos are hilarious.
    I also love how much he was apart of the film. I can’t wait to see it.. I am going to The Night Before Our Stars.. it is a 3 hour long simulcast across Canada and the US.

  35. That is SO awesome that you got to interview John Green!! He sounds really great. (just like his books) And I loved the movie, everyone involved did such an amazing job. (:

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