Passionate fans of John Green’s best-selling novel The Fault in Our Stars got their first glimpse at the big-screen adaptation starring Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort when the trailer debuted on Jan. 29. Swooning ensued: The clip quickly became the leading trend on Twitter and Facebook, as well as the most watched and shared trailer on YouTube with a whopping 8.7 million views and counting. (The novel also regained the No. 1 spot on the New York Times young-adult best-seller list.) “The outpouring of support for the book has been so overwhelming, but this? This takes it to a whole new level,” Green tells EW.
If you’re one of the few who aren’t yet familiar with the love song of Hazel (Woodley) and Augustus (Elgort), The Fault in Our Stars tells the story of two teenagers who meet in a cancer support group and fall in love. (The movie, directed by Stuck in Love‘s Josh Boone, hits theaters June 6.) But as any devoted reader will tell you, no mere plot summary can convey the story’s depth, poignancy, and humor. “It’s difficult to say to people, ‘Go see this movie that’s about sick kids — you’re going to have a really good time,'” Green says. “But you are. I think the answer is to make something that, even when it’s sad, is not depressing. The great thing about the trailer is that you emerge from watching it feeling invigorated and encouraged.” Indeed, the clip is one of those wondrous pieces of promotion that manage to leave major plot points unspoiled while still hinting at key moments. (Dinner in Amsterdam! Egging a car! First kiss!)
Green, 36, who was a regular presence on the Pittsburgh and Amsterdam sets last year, hadn’t seen any footage until he watched the trailer about a month ago. “I couldn’t even let myself feel anything other than anxiety till that last frame,” he says. “Then it was like, Yeaaah! It was everything I wanted it to be.” He has since seen the full film and says he is equally pleased. But for the next few months, audiences will have to make do with watching the trailer on infinite repeat — not unlike one of the film’s stars. On the day of the clip’s release Elgort tweeted, “watching the trailer for the millionth time today. yes im just like you.”