The Fault in Our Stars might be a small-scale story – a tale centered around Hazel and Gus, two teenage cancer patients and their bittersweet love story – but it has still managed to capture the imaginations of millions of readers and cinemagoers the world over.
Laura Dern, who plays Hazel’s mother in the big screen adaptation, says that’s because the film isn’t actually that far away from the big action blockbusters it’s competing with.
“They say there’s a trend right now of superheroes… I would say Hazel and Gus are the ultimate superheroes if you think about it,” Dern told RadioTimes.com.
“They’ve learned to live in the moment. That’s the superpower I want – and if anybody’s teaching me how to get there it would be John Green.”
“John Green strikes the ultimate chord in all of us,” says Dern of the movie, which is a close and sympathetic adaption of John Green’s young adult bestseller – “we tried to stay true to John and his words.”
Green’s is a sad story – that will have its audience members sobbing by the closing credits – but it’s one that is littered with moments of lightness and laughter, too.
“Its tone is sort of finding the humour in a very broken or sad place,” says Dern, adding: “I’ve always been driven to be part of [movies that] have an irreverence to them and a wit that comes from sadness.”
But that clever balance means that, although it deals with a dark subject matter, The Fault in Our Stars is ultimately an uplifting experience – and one that will leave you questioning the way you live your life.
It “absolutely” made me ponder the big questions in life, says Dern. “Reading the book did that, working on the film did that, without question. It’s a gift to all of us really.”
The Fault in Our Stars is in UK cinemas from 19 June.