John Green is renowned for creating strong, female protagonists within the pages of his YA novels, from The Fault in Our Stars‘ Hazel to Paper Towns‘ Margo, so it’s thrilling to report today that a female director has finally taken the reins on an upcoming adaptation of one of his works. Rebecca Thomas, who made a splashy debut with the gripping 2012 drama Electrick Children, has signed on to direct Looking for Alaska for Paramount.
Adapted from Green’s debut novel, the film will follow a quirky teen named Miles who goes to boarding school in his junior year, where he meets the enigmatic Alaska, the school’s beautiful yet emotionally unstable wild child. Falling head over heels, Miles attempts to piece through all Alaska’s myriad mysteries.
Green’s go-to scribes Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber are penning the screenplay, as they did for Fault in Our Stars and Paper Towns. No actors are yet attached, though a casting hunt is under way.
The directing gig was a coveted one, given Green’s rabid fan base and the blockbuster success of The Fault in Our Stars (Paper Towns, which stars Nat Wolff and Cara Delevingne, is out later this summer), and in the end it came down to Thomas and Palo Alto director Gia Coppola. Michael Johnson (All the Wilderness) and Josh Greenbaum (TV’s The Neighbors) were reportedly in the mix at one point but the race was really between Thomas and Coppola, two emerging female directors with distinct visual voices. Paramount reportedly made it a priority to tap an unknown to sit in the chair and had been consciously hoping for a woman as well.
The success of The Fault in Our Stars has led to many of Green’s works being pillaged by Hollywood – in addition to Paper Towns, holiday anthology Let It Snow (the source material for which featured a short story by Green) will arrive next December, and studios are also eyeing An Abundance of Katherines and Will Grayson, Will Grayson. The question now becomes – who do you want to see play Miles and Alaska in Looking for Alaska? This author would dream-cast either Liana Liberato or Kaya Scodelario to play Alaska, and Logan Lerman or Thomas Mann to play Miles, but what say you, Green super-fans?