An interview with John Green on the Pittsburgh set of 'The Fault in Our Stars'



My daughter Margot, like many 13-year-olds, became a fan of the writer John Green from the videos he makes with this brother, Hank, as the Vlogbrothers. All spring, she kept asking me to bring home his novel "The Fault in Our Stars," which I kept failing to find among the newspaper's free review copies.

When we came upon the book on the rack in a tourist shop during vacation this summer, I paid full retail and watched with pleasure as she devoured it over the next few days. I picked up the book, too -- and, like everyone, found myself brought to tears more than once by this multilayered and literate story of wisecracking teens who happen to be dying of cancer. By the end of the vacation, she owned all of John Green's books.

When we learned that the movie version of "The Fault in Our Stars" would be shot in Pittsburgh, Margot declared: "I want to interview John Green for the Post-Gazette." Like any dad, I said, "Yes, honey, that's a good idea." But like a good reporter, she badgered me until I found a way to make it happen.

Author talks about 'Fault in our Stars,' filming in Pittsburgh

John Green, author of "The Fault in Our Stars," talks with Margot Allison about his book, his influences and his experiences on the set of the movie, which is being filmed in Pittsburgh. (Video by John Allison; 10/11/2013)

Author talks about 'Fault in our Stars,' filming in Pittsburgh

John Green, author of "The Fault in Our Stars," talks with Margot Allison about his book, his influences and his experiences on the set of the movie, which is being filmed in Pittsburgh. (Video by John Allison; 10/11/2013)

Thanks to the willingness of 20th Century Fox publicist Michael Umble, we got hold of the author for 10 minutes in the production offices of "TFIOS," the night before he was leaving Pittsburgh for his home in Indianapolis, and then on to Amsterdam to watch the filming there. While I had coached Margot briefly on how to conduct an interview, all I did was turn the camera on and off.

Readers of "The Fault in Our Stars" know that John Green has an uncanny ability to describe the inner workings of a teenage girl's mind. My goal in pursuing the interview was to let Margot be a proxy for all the teenagers who want to ask him a question or two.

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John Allison: jallison@post-gazette.com, 412-263-1915 First Published October 11, 2013 1:38 PM


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