A few months ago, I had the pleasure of hopping on a plane from freezing New York City to the slightly less chilly North Carolina to visit the set of Fox’s Paper Towns, the latest adaptation from novelist John Green. We were able to spend the day walking through sets at the sound stage, chatting with John Green in between scenes at a local high school, and even sit down with John, Justice Smith (Radar), and briefly with Nat Wolff (Quentin).
With Paper Towns being John’s first return to the world of film production, you can imagine memories coming to mind from the last time he was on set for The Fault in Our Stars. It can be easy to see Nat Wolff, who played Isaac in TFIOS and miss Ansel and Shailene. “I just saw them a couple of days ago,” said John. “I miss them a lot. I miss Laura, Ansel and Shailene a lot but this place is different, the community is different.”
“It does feel different because we have a very different group of people. There’s no adults besides directors and producers, there’s no grown ups. It’s a different vibe but it’s still family oriented and love, I think that starts with Nat Wolff. The first time I ever hung out with Nat, I said goodbye, I gave him a hug and said it was really good to meet him and I was excited to work with him on TFIOS and I was so glad that he was Issac. He got in the elevator and as soon the doors were closing he said ‘love you!’ and I was like “what?” But now, I just know that’s Nat and he means it. It’s really special.”
During our set visit, we were able to visit the sound stage and watch scenes be shot at the high school, which you can read about here. We asked John if he could describe what was being shot as well.
“We shot Ben, Q and Radar having the conversation about where Margo might be and the beginning of their search for her after her disappearance. We shot a scene where Margo, Q and Ben are at school at their together deciding to skip school so, they can go to this weird mini mall that Margo seems to be leading them towards. We also shot the scene with Q and his mom, where she drops him off at school and now we’re shooting the scene where Q is walking down the hall. It’s incredibly exciting, wow, such hall walking. Nat Wolff, he’s a brilliant actor especially when it comes to walking down the hall. It was a nice moment with him and Jase.”
When asked what it’s like filming at a high school that was currently in session, John said, “Weird, super weird because there’s a lot of real teenagers here. Many of them like the book or are excited about the movie which is fun and I will say the school and everyone involved in the school and the students have been incredibly generous and respectful. You know, they have to give up large slots of there already full school in order to let us do this and I really appreciate it. They’ve been great. It’s fun, it’s weird for me to be back in high school because I find these places were terrifying…every day I walked into school I was scared, I felt like my gut was going to fall out and it’s impossible not to get back to that emotion.”
Stay tuned for more exclusives from the Paper Towns set coming soon.
Paper Towns hit theaters everywhere July 24, 2015.