'If It Was Scary For Cara She Didn't Show It' John Green and Nat Wolff Talk Paper Towns
The Debrief: Plus, the Paper Towns actress talks about what's up next for her
It’s set to be one of the biggest teen films this year (dystopian literature cinematic adaptions permitting) and it sparks a real turning point in the model-to-acting career of everyone’s favourite model Cara Delevingne as she goes from heading campaigns for major fashion houses to leading lady.
Paper Towns, originally a book by the phenomonally successful YA author John Green (that’s the guy who made you cry super hard with The Fault In Our Stars), is about a boy called Quentin (Nat Wolff) who, kind of a loner, grows up across the street from the bewitching Margot Roth Spiegelman. Friends when they were younger, their relationship soon turns into him admiring her from afar as she becomes the most notorious and popular girl in the school, the kind of girl that’s the subject of urban myths, and the kind of girl that sparks teenage obsessions.
Margot recruits Q for one night of madhat revenge on the boyfriend that cheated on her before disappearing completely the following day. Q, unable to forget her, starts off on a mission to find Margot and bring her back to him.
A lot of people are making the connection between the films of 80s filmmaker John Hughes (The Breakfast Club, Pretty In Pink) and the cinematic adaptions of John Green’s novels; is that something he sees? ‘Oh that’s HIGH praise,’ John tells us when we met him and star Nat Wolff in London a few weeks back.
‘I mean I love John Hughes movies. I see your point but, and I’m not saying this out of modesty; John Hughes is quite a lot more important than I am, comparisons to him make me nervous because I’m going to look so poor next to him.’
The press tour for the film has been well documented in John, Nat and Cara’s Instagrams. Are the three best pals now? ‘Nah, it’s all fake for the camera,’ John jokes. Do they have a group message they text each other on? ‘We actually do,’ says Nat. And what was the last text they sent? ‘I don’t know if I can say it out loud,’ says John. ‘It was a hippo’ says Nat.
‘Yeah, Nat sent me a hippo that had escaped from the zoo,’ explains John. ‘And I was like, how jealous are you of this hippo right now?’
Nat says: ‘It was just like an overjoyed hippo in like three inches of rain on a street just being like “FREEDOM”’. FYI hippo fans, we’re pretty sure it was this hippo they were talking about.
The film revolves around the transition from high school to university; when teenagers are freaking out about the next step in their lives. Was this something John remembered well? ‘The two hairiest life transitions I’ve made were from high school to college and then the first two years of what was called “adulthood”, even though I felt totally unqualified to be an adult in every way.’
And how did he get through it? ‘I spent a lot of time at the laundromat and I would always try and bring a notebok and write encouragement to myself like, “You're going to be OK, things get easier”. And they do. I mean, for the vast majority of people life does get more stable but those were very hard years for me.’
Obviously, Cara is better known for her modelling than her acting thus far although judging from the rave reviews she’s got for Paper Towns so far it won’t be long before it’s the other way round. So, was she as mad on set as she seems to be in real life?
‘Ha ha, there was one time Nat was doing a scene with Cara and she started to deliver her line and then she saw a water slide in the distance and at lunch she bought everyone tickets to the water park it was at. As well as rooms at a hotel, so we spent all weekend at this crazy water park!’
That’s so nice! Was she nervous on set? ‘If it was scary for her, it certainly didn’t show,’ says John. ‘In fact, in the audtion the thing that impressed me the most was that she... there’s a great line in Philip Roth’s book The Human Stain where he said the thing isn’t about your owning the person, the thing is about having a contender in the room with you and Cara was a contender in the room.
‘Nat's a really good actor and it’s hard not to be intimidated by him and I think Cara was a contender in the room in the aution and throughout the process of making the movie. She never seemed intimidated.’
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