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4 Things We Learned from John Green’s Reddit AMA

Celebrities often have a transitory relationship with Reddit: they arrive hawking their latest project, they answer a few questions during an ask-me-anything Q&A session, then they leave, often never to return. But The Fault in Our Stars author John Green is after a more genuine and lasting relationship with his fans and readers — he pops in threads from time to time — so he’s planning to do one AMA every month until the release of the Paper Towns, the second film adaptation of one his novels. Here are four things we learned from his first session: If he had to choose between video blogging on YouTube with his brother, Hank, and turning his books into movies, the choice is clear: If I had to pick between YouTube and movies, I would pick YouTube. This would be a financially counterintuitive choice, for sure, but I love online video and love working with my brother. Don’t tell my brother I said that, though. There are three main reasons he likes writing for and about teenagers: [1] They’re experiencing so much stuff for the first time–love and loss and grief and individual sovereignty and driving cars and, in the case of nonredditors, sex. Because those experiences are new, they are extremely intense, and it allows me to think about that stuff in a heightened way that doesn’t need to be cut by irony […] 2. Teens are extremely intellectually curious, and I love the straightforward way they consider the biggest questions […] 3. Publishing as a YA author also has many, many benefits. A line in his book Looking for Alaska was inspired by his wife: My wife and I went to high school in Alabama together, but we did not know each other in high school. Years later, we became reacquainted in Chicago, where we were both living. The first time we had dinner together, I told her a story from high school about sitting on a porch swing and thinking about all the things that might happen to me, and how I never thought I’d end up in Chicago across a table from Sarah Urist. And she said, “Imagining the future is a kind of nostalgia,” which I put in my book Looking for Alaska. He worries Paper Towns newcomers who see the trailer might think the movie reinforces the Manic Pixie Dream Girl myth instead of challenging it: I’m not in control of the marketing of the movie obviously, and I might market it a little differently, but I also understand that you have to set people up with a world they think they know if you’re going to point out what is demented and evil about that world. That’s what the book (hopefully) does, and what the movie (hopefully) does. But that’s hard to do in a trailer for a movie, because you don’t want the trailer to tell the whole story. You don’t want the trailer to deliver the punch that hopefully comes at the end of the movie when Q finally acknowledges that Margo is not a thing to acquire or a miracle but rather a person. Paper Towns hits theaters July 24. […]

The Fault In Our Stars Could Top Box Office This Weekend

The Fault in Our Stars, a love story of two teens battling cancer, is on pace to take the top spot at the box office this weekend, raking in $8.2 million on Thursday and an expected $20-23 million on Friday. The film, which earlier this week broke pre-sales records for a romantic drama, could make over $40 million in ticket sales this weekend and has a strong shot at edging out its main competitor, Edge of Tomorrow, according to Deadline. The Fault in Our Stars is based on a best-selling novel by John Green, who probably contributed to the box office earnings when he quietly watched the film at an Indianapolis theater. […]

How to Turn a Great Book Into a Movie That Isn’t Terrible

Fans of John Green’s beloved bestseller The Fault in Our Stars have been waiting just two years for the film adaptation on June 6 — but for devout followers of the book, it’s felt like much longer. Thanks to the author’s on-set social media teasers and extensive marketing from FOX, the amped-up-anticipation turned into a fan frenzy, which all weighed heavier on the imminent question: Will the film live up to the book? MoreWhen a Very Pregnant Amy Poehler Met Rising Star Jon HammThe Problem With Wanting to Know Your Baby’s Sex Before BirthFantasy ‘Slender Man’ Meme Inspires Horrific Wisconsin Stabbing NBC NewsMen Charged With Toppling Ancient Rock Formation Avoid Jail Time Huffington PostComet Outlives Predictions Weather.comAfter all, it’s difficult to trust Hollywood, and it’s not just fans who are often disappointed. Bestselling writer Jodi Piccoult has voiced frustration over her books being made into movies, telling TIME: “It’s really hard to have people in Hollywood lie to you. What’s really upsetting is when a fan says, ‘Why did you let them change the ending?’ As if we have any say in the matter.” Stephen King, similarly, was vocal about disliking Stanley Kubrick’s adaptation of The Shining. Popular Among Subscribers The Transgender Tipping Point Subscribe The Man Who Guards The PlanetSaving PreemiesWhile the book-is-always-better mindset persists, a new dawn is near: as Hollywood continues to look to books tied to a preexisting fan base, screenwriters continue expressing a desire to stay true to the original work. The lucky job of pleasing Green’s fans went to Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber, the dominant screenwriting duo behind 500 Days of Summer; next, they’re set to tackle book-club favorite Me Before You. The story for The Fault in Our Stars follows Hazel and Gus, terminally ill teens who fall in love after meeting in a cancer support group. Though some changes did have to be made, Neustadter and Weber stumbled on the book as fans and wanted to preserve the heart of the story as much as possible. “Our attitude resembled the fans who thought this might get screwed up,” Weber says. “We were, like, someone is going to do this the wrong way.” The task at hand wasn’t easy, Neustadter explained. “Your job is to figure out how to take something that people read over a week and do it in 100 minutes.” The difficulty of capturing that essence can be alleviated, though, when authors have a hand in the screenplay. That collaborative effort is becoming increasingly common, and worked well for Michael Mitnick, the screenwriter for Lois Lowry’s The Giver, premiering in August. Weinstein Company/Everett Collection/Cineplex“We were very lucky that Lois was very accessible and supportive,” Mitnick says. “Whenever we needed to make an alteration to something simple, she provided an answer.” He and the Weinstein Company used Lowry’s advice to keep The Giver from becoming a trendy movie about a dystopian society, full of sex and violence. “When you have a writer whose voice is everything, you lose that in a movie,” film critic Stephen Whitty explained during a Rotten Tomatoes adaptation panel at BookCon, a book lover’s convention in Manhattan. But those who’ve been privy to early screenings of The Fault in Our Stars seem pleased with the results. The substance of Green’s voice and the tear-jerking storyline is still very present. Approval from devoted fans has already begun to trickle in on social media — plus Green’s own endorsement, which he explained at a separate BookCon panel dedicated to the film’s release. “There were parts [of the script] I was infuriated by,” he said. “But it’s because it was so much better. They captured the tone, the feel, the kind of vibe I wanted to book to have.” The process, of course, is no easy feat. Though there’s a common perception that Hollywood will ruin a book, the trend is starting to shift, with studios working to preserve the original text’s integrity as much as possible, even if that means waiting years — or decades — to get it right. For Lowry, whose The Giver was published in 1993, it’s been a 20-year journey to get it to the screen. “It was probably optioned in 1995, and I’m aware of five screenplays having been written,” she says. “It was frustrating in periods, but in retrospect it’s probably good that it took so long.” The patience for the right screenplay stems from the obvious fear of disappointing fans, who don’t shy away from picking apart every detail the studio releases. The Giver fans tweeted and blogged their concerns about the first trailer being in color, as opposed to the black and white shades the main character sees in the book — only to have their fears allayed by The Weinstein Company’s black and white featurette that was later released. Screenwriters are lucky if they get to work closely with authors, but some choose to do the heavy lifting themselves. Jonathan Tropper’s adaptation of his own 2009 novel This Is Where I Leave I Leave You will be released in September, starring an ensemble cast that includes Tina Fey and Jason Bateman. But authors aren’t always the best people to do the adapting. JoJo Mayes tried to write her own script for Me Before You, but the job ultimately landed in the hands of Neustadter and Weber, who could give it a more cinematic, less novelistic feel. Tropper, on the other hand, worked closely with director Shawn Levy at refining the script, even though it took five years of development and nearly 40 drafts. Jessica Miglio—Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.Tropper says the stakes are high when you’re trying to please a new audience in addition to the existing fans of the book, especially with the omnipresent risk of studio interference — and unlike some others, he was fortunate. “I was really lucky in that no one I worked with was too interested in straying too far from the book,” he says. “Adapting your own book is tricky. It’s like doing surgery on your own kid.” […]

Charli XCX Goes “Boom” On The Fault In Our Stars Soundtrack: Listen

Charli XCX is currently in the middle of something resembling a punk-rock makeover, but the songwriter behind Icona Pop’s ubiquitous “I Love It” sounds just like her old self on a new song from The Fault in Our Stars soundtrack. “Boom Clap,” which premiered Friday, is a welcome slice of moody, warehouse synth-pop that would have been right at home on her stunning, year-old debut, True Romance, and it’s a fitting choice for the film about two terminally ill teenagers falling in love. In the trailer for The Fault In Our Stars, an adaptation of John Green’s bestselling young-adult novel opening in June, Hazel Grace (Shailene Woodley) warns Augustus Waters (Ansel Elgort), “I’m a grenade, and one day I’m going to blow up.” With its dramatic drumbeat and pulsing keyboards, “Boom Clap” is almost as explosive. Get More: Charli XCX, Charli XCX videos […]