NEW YORK- In a summer of blockbusters with superheroes, a rampaging monster and a wicked fairy, The Fault In Our Stars, the film adaptation of John Green's bestseller, is a heartrending story of young love that could become a box-office hit.
Green's 2012 young adult novel has sold 10.7 million copies worldwide, providing a ready fan base for the film that opens in Singapore on June 19.
The Fault In Our Stars - the title is based on a Shakespeare quote - features Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort, who last appeared together in Divergent.
"It is a movie that celebrates life and is incredibly hopeful," Woodley, 22, said in an interview. "It is about falling in love for the first time and the beauty of being in love, and all the trials and tribulations and glory that come from that."
Woodley and Elgort play smart, witty teenagers who begin a romance after meeting at a cancer support group.
"I fell in love with the story and the relationship between Augustus and Hazel," said Woodley, who wears a nasal cannula and wheels around a portable oxygen tank throughout the film.
"I also loved that, at the age of 16, Hazel understood that you don't need to live a long life to lead a meaningful life."
Hazel and Augustus, who lost a leg to the disease, are fun-loving and never let their illness define them. Although cancer is the backdrop, Elgort said, it is not the focus of the story.
"What it does do is put a clock on things, which makes things interesting because I think it allows both characters to live in the moment," the actor, 20, explained.
Academy Award nominee Laura Dern (Rambling Rose) plays Hazel's protective mother, Frannie. Nat Wolff is the couple's friend, and Willem Dafoe, who won Oscar nods for Platoon and Shadow Of The Vampire, is the elusive Peter Van Houten, the author of Hazel's favourite novel.
Perplexed by the book's unsatisfactory ending, Hazel and Augustus travel to Amsterdam to meet Van Houten and learn the fate of the book's characters.
Early reviews of the film, shot in Pittsburgh and Amsterdam, have been overwhelmingly positive. It is expected to bring in US$36 million (S$45 million) in US and Canadian ticket sales during its opening weekend, according to Boxoffice.com.
For director Josh Boone (Stuck In Love), the film was always about two young people in love. "To me it just seems like I hadn't seen a movie like this before, done this way, with characters like this, with a love story like this. It was a fascinating backdrop to talk about illness and death and life and family," he said.