Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Casting Re-Call: The Fault in Our Stars

Rarely do I take the time to read any books:

I don't usually read my textbooks for school.

It even takes serious discipline for me to read my Bible on a regular basis.

I mean, I like to read for pleasure, but watching movies is so much more efficient, right?...

If you frequent my blog, none if this information comes as a surprise to you. However, you might be surprised to know that I, Tanner Jones, read The Fault in Our Stars about 1.5 years in advance of the film's release date! Personally, I believe I'm entitled to some sort of award or cash prize, but everyone keeps telling me no...

The truth is that I am a huge fan of John and Hank Green's Vlogbrothers channel on YouTube, and, while it may be a bit teenagery of me, I believe you should check out their videos: here. If you did not know, John Green actually wrote The Fault in Our Stars, and, as it gained in popularity, I gained interest in reading the book. Actually, for the record, I read the book before it was such a big deal... I'm just saying...

Not only did I fall in love with The Fault In Our Stars, but, as a result, I have actually read two more of John's books over the past year, An Abundance of Katherines and Looking for Alaska. While Katherines was not the best, Alaska had me hooked, and I would suggest it to any reader looking for a good YA novel. Again, however, I am no book critic, so take these comments with a grain of salt!

Now, when I read a book, I like to picture the characters as whatever actor/actress I believe would/should play them in a film version of said book. I know, that's very un-readerlike and un-imaginative of me, but I really don't care. That's how I roll! And, until The Fault in Our Stars, my methods never caused any problems, because I never read books that were turned into movies (aside from classics). However, because I loved The Fault soooo much and because I read the book before the casting decisions were made, I reeeeeeally wanted the characters to be played by the actors that I had imagined as I read through the book. Of course, as could be predicted from thousands of miles away, not a single one of the actors that I longed for actually made it into the film. At first, I was frustrated. Then, I got over it. Then, the trailer came out, and I started freaking out a bit (in a bad way).

Luckily, after watching the trailer like 10-15 times (I really am excited about this one), I've gained a sense of peace about the actors that were chosen for their respective roles. Nonetheless, I refuse to believe that any of them are ideal! So, in an effort to express my opinions, I have been inspired to create a new segment called Casting Re-Call, where I go back and re-cast an entire film. Hopefully, this post will be well-received, and I can use this same format for other films in the future. I could even re-cast films that were poorly cast, after watching them, which is what I actually planned to do with this post. But, since I've already read The Fault in Our Stars and know who I wanted to see, I figured I would share with you beforehand. So, here it is... my ideal cast for The Fault in Our Stars:

Character: Hazel Grace Lancaster
Actor Chosen: Shailene Woodley
Ideal Actor: Mae Whitman
Why?: Unfortunately, after watching the trailer, Woodley's portrayal of Hazel appears waaay too ditsy and girly. In the book, Hazel was quite opinionated and strong-willed, which I believe could have been amazingly portrayed by Mae Whitman. I think Woodley will do alright, but, ideally, Whitman would have landed the role (although she would not pull near as big of an audience).

Character: Augustus Waters
Actor Chosen: Ansel Elgort
Ideal Actor: Evan Peters
Why?: The character of Augustus Waters is undoubtedly the key to making this story work, at least in my opinion. I'm not going to condemn Ansel Elgort, considering he hasn't had much of an opportunity to be analyzed. However, I do know that Evan Peters would have been AMAZING as Gus! No doubt in my mind! If you've seen American Horror Story: Asylum, that's the Evan Peters I'm talking about! Fortunately, we still got to see Peters in X-Men: Days of Future Past. Unfortunately, The Fault in Our Stars may suffer in his absence.

Character: Isaac
Actor Chosen: Nat Wolff
Ideal Actor: Michael Cera
Why?: Getting Michael Cera to come on board for a minor role would have been a difficult task, and I must say that I do like Nat Wolff. Actually, I watched Wolff a lot in The Naked Brothers Band when I was too old to be watching The Naked Brothers Band. Regardless, I think Michael Cera could have brought a certain likeability to the character (think Juno) that Wolff may not be able to bring.

Character: Patrick
Actor Chosen: Mike Birbiglia
Ideal Actor: Jack McBrayer
Why?: I don't know that much about Mike Birbiglia, but I have seen a few of his sketches, which was enough to make this casting choice completely baffling to me. Now, I haven't seen how the character is portrayed in the film yet, but I think anyone who has ever heard of Birbiglia can see the massive contrast from him to Jack McBrayer. In my opinion, nobody could have pulled this one off like McBrayer, whose comedic range is quite small. That's saying something!

Character: Peter Van Houten
Actor Chosen: Willem Dafoe
Ideal Actor: Hugh Laurie
Why?: Next to the Patrick character, the casting of Willem Dafoe as Peter Van Houten is the second most baffling to me. I thought of many different people who could have played Van Houten (Bradley Whitford, Jim Broadbent, Michael Douglas), but Willem Dafoe just seems a bit too dark. In the end, I settled on Hugh Laurie, who I think would've been absolutely great. You can be the judge when the film hits the theater.

Character: Lidewij Vliegenthart
Actor Chosen: Lotte Verbeek
Ideal Actor: Frances McDormand
Why?: While this role isn't of the utmost importance (made obvious by the only no-name actress on this list), I thought Frances McDormand would have brought with her a lot of unique possibilities. Then again, I'm no casting expert!

Character: Mr. Lancaster (Hazel's Father)
Actor Chosen: Sam Trammell
Ideal Actor: Jeff Garlin
Why?: Jeff Garlin is one of the funniest, most likeable comedic actors that I've ever seen, and Hazel's father is meant to be likeable. Of course, I always like to throw a little humor in with my drama, and I just don't see that coming from Sam Trammell. But, we will see...

Character: Mrs. Lancaster (Hazel's Mother)
Actor Chosen: Laura Dern
Ideal Actor: Kate Walsh
Why?: Kate Walsh's motherly figure from The Perks of Being a Wallflower just seemed perfect for this character as well. While I do love Laura Dern, she is just a little too likeable. Hazel's mother is supposed to be a pretty strong woman, and I just don't get that strength when I look at Dern. And, Jeff Garlin could totally snag Kate Walsh... right???

Thankfully, John Green was happy with the cast (as far as we can tell)...
And, that's all that really matters!

So, there it is... My first ever Casting Re-Call. I certainly hope you enjoyed. After the movie, come back, take another look, and give me all of your great opinions! Look for this segment to pop back up in the future. Also, go read all of John Green's books. He is the man!


  1. Nice write-up here, Tanner. I only recently got around to TFIOS, which I thought was decent, and is actually the same conclusion I have about his other two books I've read prior (Paper Towns and Will Grayson, Will Grayson). Not bad by any means, sure, but my overall opinion of John Green as a writer is that he's just very much OKAY. But eh, that's just me at least, haha.

    I'll still see the movie, though what I got from the book didn't necessarily leave me NEEDING to see it played out in a cinematic form, but alas. As for your casting choices, hell, I'd LOVE to see Hugh Laurie in that part (though Willem Dafoe should still be good. Didn't even realize he was cast for the part, heh).

    1. Thanks for the thoughts, Chris! This post was a lot of fun to write.

      As for John Green's writing abilities, I'm not really a good person to judge. Really, I just know that I was entertained during Alaska and TFiOS. I'm actually going to read Paper Towns, as soon as I finish the book I'm currently reading. Actually, I've been doing a really good job of reading, this summer. Maybe I can keep it up!

      I agree that the book doesn't need to be made into a film. However, I'm stoked about it anyway! Glad you liked the Hugh Laurie call. Hopefully Dafoe will do ok.