‘Looking for Alaska’s John Green, Cast & EPs on Bringing the Book to Life
In 2005, John Green‘s first novel Looking for Alaska debuted, but it sat on the sidelines as his future books, The Fault in Our Stars and Paper Towns, went on to become feature films. Alaska remained on the periphery, earning interest in its own onscreen adaptation many times over the years, but it wasn’t until Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage stepped in that it actually happened.
“It’s been really, really gratifying,” Green tells us of the project finally coming to fans through the medium of television. “The cast is so wonderful. They brought these characters to life in a way that is so special for me, and feels like a wonderful gift to me and to the book.”
“It’s been a 14-year process,” he continues, “so it’s been a long time waiting for this moment and there’s been some heartbreak along the way, but I just feel really grateful that it happened now with these people.”
“These people” he’s referring to are Kristine Froseth, Charlie Plummer, Denny Love and Jay Lee, who embody Culver Creek Boarding School’s students Alaska Young, Miles “Pudge” Halter, Chip “The Colonel” Martin and Takumi Hikohito.
Looking for Alaska tells the story of Miles, a teen looking to gain a deeper understanding of life. Along the way, he falls for Alaska and meets a loyal group of friends. When tragedy strikes, Miles and his friends attempt to make sense of the situation.
“She kind of puts up this front to protect herself,” Froseth says of her titular character. “She doesn’t trust herself enough. And so people … they kind of envy her, almost — I do, at least.”
“Deep down she’s really struggling, and she’s just trying to find her way like everyone else,” the actress adds of her layered character.
Meanwhile, Plummer says, “Miles is basically walking into this story in the same way that I think most of the audience hopefully would be walking in. Which is just with really wide eyes and ready to experience this whole new world around him.”
The young actor was more than thrilled to partake in the project, telling us, “I remember when I was 15 and I wrote in my journal, ‘These are ten things I want to do before I die,’ and one of the first on that list was Looking for Alaska,” so in many ways this role is a dream come true for the young star.
Love was less aware of the source material that inspired the show. “I immediately went and got the book from Barnes and Noble, I think I read it in a day,” adds the star, who shares he hadn’t heard of the book prior to getting his audition for the role. “And after I read the book I was like, this is unlike anything I’ve ever read before. I just knew it was something special.”
And it certainly was something special to Schwartz and Savage, who have been trying to bring the title to screens for years. “So many young people are grappling with the issues that these characters are grappling with. Life and death, understanding the importance of friendship and that your friends could slip through your fingers if you don’t take care of people,” Schwartz elaborates to us. “I think for a lot of kids it makes them feel heard and less alone when they read the book and hopefully when they see the show.”
“John’s book really speaks to its audience in a very respectful way that honors the validity of what they’re going through,” Savage says, “and so we’ve tried to keep that up.”
And if you’re still unsure whether the show will hold up to the novel, take Green’s words as a good sign. “I am strictly the delighted recipient of this gift.”
Don’t miss the series when Looking for Alaska premieres on Hulu.
Looking for Alaska, Series Premiere, Friday, October 18, Hulu