Last week I had the chance to attend BookExpo America and BookCon. One of the special events panels at BookCon featured the author, cast, and crew of the upcoming Paper Towns movie: John Green, Jake Schreier, Michael H. Weber, Nat Wolff, Justice Smith, and composer Ryan Lott (of Son Lux).
Photo credit to Publishers Weekly
Here’s what we learned about the Paper Towns movie and its cast:
As John has already made clear on the internet, he wants the movie to be a good story and focus on capturing the themes of the book. Being an exact copy of the book is not important to him as long as the movie captures the important ideas.
While it’s set up to be a fun summer movie, there is a deeper theme at the core of Paper Towns: showing the difference between putting someone on a pedestal and recognizing who they are as a real person. Quentin sees Margo as some kind of a miracle, but John feels it’s unfair to ask Margo to live up to so many expectations. Nat pointed out that, in a way, Margo is the miracle, because she teaches Q that the grass isn’t really always greener on the other side.
When casting, director Jake Schreier looked for people who would be honest to their characters and deliver heartfelt performances.
On set, all of the actors easily fell into their characters. John said that everyone taught him something new about their characters.
Paper Towns is Nat’s favorite book written by John.
Fun fact: while filming The Fault in Our Stars, a producer mischievously told Nat that he should read Paper Towns. Six months later, he called Nat and asked if he wanted to play Quentin.
Justice Smith, who plays Radar, has no cool facts online, according to the moderator of the panel. To remedy that, we were told that his favorite ice cream is mint chip: “I just want you to know that I love mint chip.” Nat interrupts: “He’s lactose intolerant but would sneak cheese nachos on set.” Justice’s response? “I love cheese.”
The first day that Justice filmed, John was feeling nervous about him playing Radar. Before the scene, John noticed that Justice was doing actual high school level chemistry on set and thought, “Oh good, he’s the right guy. We’ll be fine!”
Two notes on the movie soundtrack: composer Ryan Lott uses some strange items to make his music, including bowing the strings of a piano with dental floss. The soundtrack will be released June 16th!
One hugely important fact: the director confirmed that John Green’s cameo is still in the movie. John responded by hugging Jake and telling that audience that “I feel like I delivered a…usable performance. I’m so EXCITED!”
Director Jake Schreier shared that the Paper Towns community on set was so fantastic because everyone was in it for the right reasons. They wanted to live up to the book and wanted to make a great movie.
You can even watch the whole panel online thanks to Penguin Random House:
Paper Towns hits theaters July 24, 2015!