New Outlander Featurette from Starz

OutlanderIn this new video from Starz, author Diana Gabaldon, showrunner Ronald D. Moore, and stars Caitriona Balfe, Graham McTavish, Lotte Verbeek, Sam Heughan, and Tobias Menzies talk about their experiences making Outlander. Not for the first time, Moore makes a point of saying he’s not trying to ruin the source material, which is an interesting touch and perhaps a nod to the very enthusiastic fanbase. Outlander premieres on August 9th.

Movie Thoughts: The Fault in Our Stars

The Fault in Our StarsI finally saw The Fault in Our Stars last night – I would have gone opening weekend, but I was with a friend celebrating her birthday and she didn’t want to celebrate her birthday with TEARS, which, fair enough – and thoroughly enjoyed it (though, actually, I didn’t quite cry). Let me say up front that I don’t have a lot of critical distance from this one: I know John Green (the author of the book on which the movie’s based) and want good things for him, but more relevantly, I feel like the media roar and debates within the YA community surrounding all this have been so overwhelming that I feared I wouldn’t be able to put all that out of my mind long enough to appreciate the movie for its own sake. Luckily, the movie was transporting enough to let me almost forget all that while I was watching.

Overall, I thought the movie was much better than I feared it would be. The book walks a fine line between authentic emotion and sentimentality, and it would have been all too easy for the movie to have become Generic Uplifting Teen Cancer Movie. But while the movie felt a bit more along those lines than the book – which was probably unavoidable – it managed to keep its distinctiveness via its sense of humor and insistence on not insisting that everything will be okay. And above all, I think the movie worked because it felt like the cast totally committed to the story and the characters. Shailene Woodley was great as always, and Ansel Elgort did a fine job and managed to mostly keep up with her – and, most importantly there, their chemistry was believable. Laura Dern and Sam Trammell were heartbreaking as Hazel’s parents, and Lotte Verbeek as Lidewij was a quiet delight.

There’s been a lot of discussion about Augustus – whether he’s a real character or a Manic Pixie Dream Boy, whether the way he talks is at all believable. It worked for me, because yes, he talks in an artificial way at times – but it’s artificial not (just) because he’s a fictional character, but because that’s the way a lot of pretentious, intellectual teenagers (and, alas, some adults) talk. And this ties into the larger issue of whether the movie feels “real” or “true” enough, which I think somewhat misses the point. The Fault in Our Stars is not presented as a documentary or as coming from some detached, objective third person perspective. We’re seeing Augustus, and everything else, through Hazel’s eyes. She’s a smart, funny, hyperverbal, fairly isolated kid, and she’s narrating her story.

TV & Pilot Casting: Arrow, Outlander, Hemlock Grove & More

Has the font of my posts randomly changed today, or is it just my display? Is it readable for you guys?