On Jan. 9, 2012, I waited in a bookstore until midnight for the first moment I could possibly purchase a copy of “The Fault in Our Stars” by John Green. I went home, read until early in the morning, slept a little bit, woke up and read some more, finishing it less than 24 hours after I had bought it.
The book did everything a book should do. It made me laugh, it made me cry, it made me think about “big life questions.” It made me want to sit down with John Green and talk about life. As Holden Caulfield says in “The Catcher in the Rye”, “What really knocks me out is a book that, when you’re all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it.” I wanted to phone up John Green.
Instead, I talked to my friends about the book. I recommended it to everyone I knew. I found the book coming up in conversation everywhere: in my theology class, in the halls of my dorm, with family. The book quickly became famous.
Now, more than two years later, “The Fault in Our Stars” has been adapted to the big screen, and the film will come to theatres on June 6.
For someone who first discovered John Green as a nerdy Youtube personality, seeing pictures of him on the red carpet at the MTV Movie Awards was something to get used to. His celebrity has no doubt been heightened by the success of his latest book and his first foray into Hollywood – last week he was named one of Time’s 100 most influential people in the world.
The movie stars Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort as the star-crossed lovers who meet in a support group for kids with cancer. Woodley has recently starred in the films “The Spectacular Now” and “Divergent,” an adaptation of Veronica Roth’s dystopian young adult novel.
The dedicated following around “The Fault in Our Stars” has meant a lot of hype leading up to the film’s release. The trailer has more than 16 million views on Youtube since its release three months ago.
In the month before its release, 20th Century Fox is sending Woodley, Elgort, Green and Nat Wolff (Isaac in the movie) on a tour to promote the film. Fans voted on tumblr for the locations of the tour stops, and the winning states were announced earlier this week: Florida, Ohio, Texas and Tennessee.
The interactive nature of the movie promotion shows that those in marketing understand the fan base. The fans are on tumblr, they’re watching John Green and his brother on Youtube, they’re making fan art and writing songs inspired by Hazel and Augustus, the main characters of the book and movie.
Meanwhile, the official movie website is hosted on tumblr, complete with a headline that fits right into tumblr’s vocabulary: “Bring on the feels.” There’s a place to submit fan art, to become an ambassador for the movie or to tweet about the movie. These people get their fans.
And, as fans, we hope that they get the story. John Green has been nothing but praiseworthy of the team making the film. Still, anyone that’s ever been a fan of a book that’s been turned into a movie knows that high expectations very often lead to a broken heart. Hopefully this will not be the case, and I truly hope that they do this story justice; but for now – it’s more fun to get lost in the excitement of the movie than to spend my time worrying.