“The Fault In Our Stars” celebrates the power of young love in all its magic, power and complexity where Elgort takes on the role of Augustus ‘Gus’ Waters, a teenager who is in remission from his osteosarcoma who met Hazel (Shailene Woodley) at a cancer support group in their community. Based on the bestselling novel by John Green, the movie is the story of two remarkable teenagers who fall in love and embrace life despite the strong odds against them. Both are smart, funny and sarcastic. When they meet at a support group, Hazel Grace Lancaster is instantly smitten with Augustus Waters. The feeling is mutual. Despite dealing with serious health concerns on a daily basis, health doesn’t dominate life for Augustus and Hazel. Far from it. They are normal teenagers, excited about first love and getting to know each other. It’s clear from the start that there is strong chemistry between this attractive pair. They don’t see eye to eye on everything, but their connection is powerful and they both have a great sense of humor about their circumstances.
Gus, played by Elgort, is someone who believes in big, heroic gestures. He’s brash and tough, but also possesses an appealing intelligence. According to John Green, Hazel and Gus’ attraction to one another stems from the fact they possess a similar wit and intelligence. “There’s a line in the Philip Roth novel The Human Stain, where a character says, ‘The pleasure isn’t in owning the person. The pleasure is this. Having another contender in the room with you.’ I think Hazel is someone who doesn’t have a lot of contenders in the room with her, and when she meets Gus she realizes, ‘Oh, this guy can hang with me.’ For Gus it’s the same thing. He’s used to being able to attract women, but he’s never encountered someone like Hazel before.”
Gus is a complicated figure: he’s a former high school basketball star, and his favorite book – until meeting Hazel – is based on a videogame. At the same time, he’s an intellectual who enjoys giving long, thoughtful monologues.
Ansel Elgort already had a connection with Woodley, with whom he stars – as her brother – in Divergent. Woodley notes that this previous onscreen pairing was “a blessing for our work together in “The Fault In Our Stars” because we already knew each other and had this on-screen chemistry, so it was easy to connect as Hazel and Gus. Ansel’s like my brother; he’s so curious about the world and everything excites him.”
“With love stories it’s all about chemistry,” adds producer Wyck Godfrey. “Shailene dominated many of the actors we had tested with her, because she has that kind of intimidating strength of character. But then Ansel came in and he had this charisma, exuberance and energy that put Shailene back on her feet a little bit, which is exactly what you want her to feel.”
For Elgort, Gus was exactly the part he was looking for. Like so many others, he was a fan of the novel. “Above all, the book is full of beautiful ideas that make you think about life and love,” he notes.
“The Fault In Our Stars” opens June 5 in cinemas from 20th Century Fox to be distributed by Warner Bros.