Shailene and Ansel: The Fault In Our Stars
By: Lynn Barker
Shailene Woodley, outspoken, outdoorsy and outshining many of the young actresses in her “category”, is making wise and interesting choices in roles. She gained teen fans with the TV series “Secret Life of the American Teenager” and then wowed critics and filmgoers alike as the spunky, rebellious daughter of George Clooney in The Descendants. She is heroine Tris in the Divergent film series based upon the popular YA novels and now takes on another fave YA story as she plays Hazel, the cancer cursed young woman dealing with first true love in The Fault in Our Stars.
Ansel Elgort played the Tris character’s brother Caleb in Divergent and the doomed Tommy Ross in the last film version of Carrie. He’s quickly getting a rep as a “go-to” young actor for depth as a leading man. Playing Hazel’s guy Augustus only added fuel to that fire. Check out what Shailene and Ansel had to say about getting to know each other before shooting The Fault in Our Stars and their romantic adventure making the movie.
Q: One of the taglines of the film is “One sick love story”. The leads have cancer so how does this romantic comedy reinvent this type of story?
- Ansel: That is meant sort of cheeky and thrown away. Not meant seriously.
Q: What scene are you most excited to see on the big screen Shailene and Ansel?
- Shailene: I really love the love scene because it’s very different than most. It’s treated with integrity. I think oftentimes our society looks at teenagers and discredits their love or “It’s cute. It’s puppy love. They don’t know what real love is”. You could look at adults and say “Are you actual happy? Is that real love? That’s not what I want”. You look at young people who are in love and the older we get, the more in our heads we get.
- We’re not really available for others as much. When you’re younger, love is so pure. Also, teenagers are incredibly passionate and I love that in the intimate scene, they’re passionate with one another and a little bit awkward and uncomfortable but not too much. I just thought it was handled with such care. I thought it was special and unique.
- Ansel: I love all the Amsterdam stuff so much… It’s when Augustus tells Hazel that he is in love with her. I love the way that scene came out. It’s so magical. We really needed Amsterdam. It’s the payoff.
Q: What was it like filming in Amsterdam?
- Shailene: It really was pretty magical. There is something romantic about the rain when you are huddled up together and it’s foggy. Fog wakes you up slowly so there’s a romantic nature to it.
- Ansel: It rained a lot. Less people are outside and the city feels more yours. As Hazel and Augustus, we rode in a boat down the canals and there is a scene of us just looking around and taking in the city and that was a really amazing moment for me. There, arm around Shailene, one of my really good friends and it was the last day of shooting. It’s such an amazing moment to think that’s where (my acting) journey has taken me. I’m in Amsterdam going down a canal with Shailene. I can’t wait to go back there. It’s a magical place.
- Shailene: And they have great pancakes too!
Q: If you could sit and chat over pizza or pancakes with one character, who would it be?
- Shailene: I feel like I resonate more with Gus when I was that age. I felt like there’s something to do in the world. How am I gonna change the world? What’s my mission gonna be? I think that’s a very common theme at that age; trying to figure out who you are and what you’re going to do with your life to be remembered and be important.
- I was so moved by Hazel and her ability to recognize at a young age that it’s just not about that. She’s the least narcissistic person I’ve ever met in my life which is why, maybe that she doesn’t actually exist (laughter). I would love to sit down and have a conversation with her.
- Ansel: I want to sit down with my girlfriend who dumps me and say “What the hell?”
Q: How did all the emotional stuff in the film affect you?
- Ansel: I probably cried and laughed the most during those few months of my life. During the day I’d be crying my eyes out on set and be so emotional and at night I’d be sitting in my apartment with (co-star) Nat (Wolff) crying of laughter because he’d make the most absurd joke ever. Or, we’d be at dinner and he’d make a joke. One night I went underneath the dinner table to compose myself because I was laughing so hard. The restaurant was a little bit disturbed.
Q: Shailene. Ansel has played your brother (in Divergent) and boyfriend in this. Is that weird at all and which was best?
- Shailene: It’s not weird because I’ve always kind of wondered what it would be like kissing my brother (laughter). That’s the beauty of being an actor. You get to explore different relationships and different colors of yourself but how you exist with different people. There’s something really beautiful about working with someone again and again because the more you get to know somebody on a personal level, the more free you feel artistically. I think that if Ansel and I hadn’t known each other from Divergent, our relationship in this movie would not be what it is because we didn’t have to go through the rehearsal phase of getting to know and feel comfortable with one another.
- Also, when you love someone a lot, you tend to push them away or communication isn’t as strong and we were very honest with each other throughout the movies. There would be times when we’d disagree and if we didn’t know each other, we might not say that we disagree because there is that lightness. We were very open with one another when something wasn’t going as we had envisioned. Now we get to spend the next four years together which is rad. It’s this experimental documentary (we’re involved in).
Q: Shai, do you have a fave thing about Ansel?
- Shailene: One of my favorite things is that I feel like Ansel, every single day, looks at the world with a new set of eyes. It’s like “Wow, there’s a world out there and what am I going to taste or experience or laugh with or find out about or learn or teach today?” He’s one of the most creative people I’ve met. This dude is not only a music producer but he is an amazing pianist and he paints miniatures and wins contests. It’s insane, he’s a ballet dancer. I’m constantly inspired by him.
Fault In Our Stars is in theaters June 6th!