The Paper Towns author is well on his way to seeing all—or at least most—of his books adapted for the big screen
The New Yorker dubbed him “The Teen Whisperer.” One headline described him as “Teenager: Aged 36.” And his name has become synonymous with a phenomenon in young adult fiction — the so-called “John Green effect” — which describes a trend toward honest, relatable characters he’s said to have inspired (though some have argued his share of the spotlight is disproportionate).
With five books to his name (one co-authored with David Levithan), John Green is riding the young adult fiction train to the bank, to the hearts of teens everywhere and, perhaps most notably, to the movies. His first book-turned-movie, The Fault in Our Stars, published in 2012 and released in theaters in 2014, was an instant sensation, helping to propel several of his years-old titles onto bestseller lists. Produced on a $15 million budget and grossing more than $300 million in ticket sales, that adaptation thrust Green from best-selling author and Internet personality to king of the YA box office.
Many of the moviegoers who cried their way through The Fault in Our Stars will return to theaters this weekend when the adaptation of Paper Towns, Green’s 2008 novel about a teenaged boy searching for his elusive dream-girl gone missing, lands with a highly anticipated star turn from model/actress Cara Delevigne.
With those two adaptations under his belt, that leaves just three more to make Green to YA movies what Nicholas Sparks has been to the romance genre. Here’s the status of the rest of Green’s novels vis-à-vis silver screen reimaginings:
Looking for Alaska (2005): Paramount Pictures bought the rights to Green’s first novel, about a teenaged boy who leaves his boring life for boarding school and meets an enigmatic young woman, the same year the book was published. The project has cycled through a few different screenwriters and directors, but the latest reports suggest that the script will be penned by Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber, who also wrote Fault and Paper Towns, with emerging director Rebecca Thomas at the helm.
An Abundance of Katherines (2006): Green announced in a 2007 vlog that a small production company, East of Doheny, had optioned the rights to his second novel, about a boy consistently dumped by girls named Katherine, and asked Green to write the screenplay. Ultimately, the movie didn’t come together with East of Doheny, but Green reports on his website that he is working with a different production company now, though the actual movie is “a long way off.”
Will Grayson Will Grayson (2010): Green’s novel with Levithan is the only one of his books that has not been optioned for a movie. Though there doesn’t appear to be any kind of grassroots campaign to make it one—surprising, given the fervor Green’s fans feel for his work—the story of two teens who share a name did at least get the spin-off treatment. In March, Levithan released Hold Me Closer, a musical novel which offers fans the full script of a musical one of Grayson’s characters is writing in the book. Levithan didn’t release sheet music with the script, but said he hopes fans will share their own renditions of the songs online.
Bonus: Fox 2000 Pictures announced this week that it has entered into a first-look producing deal with Green. The details of the deal are vague at best, but it will apparently allow Green to collaborate with Temple Hill Entertainment, which produced The Fault in Our Stars, on several projects. At 37, Green shows no signs of slowing his roll — and may well give us reason to write a variation of the very same article, a decade from now, about his next five books.