Based on a popular John Green novel, The Fault in Our Stars, which opens on Friday areawide, centers on Hazel (Shailene Woodley), a 16-year-old cancer patient who falls in love with a 17-year-old amputee Augustus (Ansel Elgort). Struggling to cope with the uncertainty of their health, they quickly form a bond that gets tested when they travel to Amsterdam to meet their favorite author, the curmudgeonly Peter van Houten (Willem Dafoe). Woodley and Elgort, who also starred together in Divergent, were in town last month as part of a promotional tour. The morning after their appearance in front of some 3,000 fans at Tower City, they talked about their respective roles and what they love about Green's novel.
"There's so many universal messages," says Woodley from a conference room at the Ritz-Carlton as co-star Elgort sits by her side. "I think right now in the world there's so much fear based around the future. There's so many unanswered questions and right now it feels like a critical time."
Elgort says he was attracted to the script for similar reasons.
"It's really hard to appreciate the moment when you're really worried about dying because you're going to hurt the people you leave behind and you're worried what's going to happen to them afterwards," he says. "So I think that both characters have a big struggle that is sort of like the common struggles that human beings have. That's why everyone can relate to them so well."
Director Josh Boone (Stuck in Love) keeps things from getting too sappy. Early buzz surrounding the movie suggests it'll be able to compete with the big summer blockbusters that have been raking in millions at the box office.
"I think the reason why teenagers love [the book] so much is because teenagers are fucking smart," Woodley says. "This book deals with topics that are important and it's funny and it's realistic and it also treats teenagers with a respect that most young adult novels don't. I think this movie really pays homage to adolescence in that way."