Ansel Elgort on Gus and Hazel's "meaningful love story" in The Fault in Our Stars

The 20-year-old star of John Green's movie adaptation talks the film's surprise success, seeing past sickness and being a teenage role model

Written By
Ellie Walker-Arnott

Ansel Elgort, the baby faced 20-year-old who has captured the hearts of girls the world over, is talking the surprise phenomenon that is The Fault in Our Stars.

And I say surprise purely because you could never have guessed a slow and low-key love story about teenagers dealing with cancer would appeal so strongly to the Hunger Games generation.

Elgort, though, isn’t fazed by the film’s success. “I’m not surprised that people like it so much because it is really, really good,” he says.

“You can never expect something to do this well – box office wise or whatever – but the response it’s got from individual people… I’m not surprised because I love it too and I think it is this good.”

The Fault in Our Stars, which is based on the bestselling young adult novel of the same name from American author John Green, sees Elgort play Augustus Walters, a charming former basketball player who lost a leg to cancer. His character meets fellow cancer patient Hazel Grace (Shailene Woodley) at a support group and a playful, yet bittersweet, love story ensues. 

Hazel and Gus have become something of a modern Romeo and Juliet. Tumlbr is teeming with gifs and photos of the two of them. You can even buy t-shirts, necklaces and key rings adorned with quotes like “I fell in love the way you fell asleep; slowly, and then all at once” and “Maybe okay will be our always.” Merchandise that is reportedly selling out at record speed.   

But despite that, Elgort doesn’t see himself as a role model for teenage boyfriends.

“No, I don’t think so,” he laughs. “Everyone’s love story can be different… You shouldn’t have to try and copy what Hazel and Gus do to have a meaningful love story.”

And a meaningful love story is ultimately what The Fault in Our Stars is about, says Elgort.

“Ideally… when you think back on it you remember Hazel and Gus’s love story and not their sickness - not Gus’s leg and not Hazel’s cannula - and that’s what makes the movie special.”

“John Green always says, and it’s really perfect, so many movies… are about healthy people and a sick person in their life who teaches them a lesson when they die. This is not about that because everyone’s life is important. It doesn’t matter if you’re sick, it doesn’t matter how long you live. I think that’s what this movie says – that’s one of the most important messages.”

The Fault in Our Stars is in UK cinemas from 19 June