So as many John Green followers already know, Variety announced that model Cara Delevingne has been cast as the lead role of Margo Roth Spiegelman in the film adaptation of Paper Towns, Green’s third insanely successful young adult novel. Paper Towns is about two estranged childhood friends, Quentin and Margo, who reunite for a night of debauchery when Margo, dressed as a ninja, creeps into Quentin’s room and insists he come with her to enact vengeance against those who’ve hurt her. The next morning, she’s disappeared: and Quentin, driven by his infatuation with his mysterious neighbor, sets off to track her down.
If you’ve been following Delevingne’s career, this casting choice is probably no surprise: she’s the talk of the modeling world, the newest “it girl”, and has recently begun nabbing acting roles. There’s no denying these John Green adaptations are – let’s put it gently – lucrative: so far The Fault in Our Stars has garnered an exorbitant $300 million worldwide. Considering the massive money attached to these teen blockbusters, it’s no wonder they’d want to attach one of the hottest names in the entertainment industry to the film – but the casting choice has so far proved a bit controversial. So what are the pros and cons of the Cara Delevingne casting choice, beginning with the not-so-positive?
She’s inexperienced: She’s acted before, but most of her projects (Pan, Tulip Fever) have yet to be released! Basically, no one actually knows whether she’s as capable in front of the camera as she is on the runway.
She doesn’t fit the character physically: It has to be addressed that the character of Margo was described explicitly as curvy – and model Delevingne certainly doesn’t fulfill that qualification. Fans who were hoping for a beautiful and bigger protagonist in the adaptation have every right to be disappointed, and Hollywood is once again demonstrating that it’s not exactly a haven of body acceptance. But hey, in the end, having the part be well acted is the most important thing!
She’s British: This isn’t a bad thing! But Emma Watson has been perfecting her American accent since she was a child, and she still got mocked for slipping up in The Perks of Being a Wallflower. Delevingne is set to portray a teenager from the suburbs of Orlando, Florida – it doesn’t get much more American than that.
She’s so cool: There’s a reason Delevingne is “all that” right now – beyond being gorgeous, she’s generally the coolest person ever. She’s a drummer, she’s openly dated Michelle Rodriguez, she makes goofy faces hot, and she’s got the strongest eyebrow game in the modeling industry. She gives off the “I don’t care what you think vibe” better than any other model today – and that’s saying something.
John Green has complete faith in her: The author has posted on multiple social media sites about the decision so far, promising on Tumblr that, “Like everyone involved in the film, I was blown away by her audition. She really, really, really gets Margo”. Considering Margo is Green’s character, we have to have faith he knew what to look for in the auditions better than any fan would!
Let’s not miss the point of the book itself: At its core, Paper Towns is about not assuming things. It’s about a kid who realizes that he’s infatuated with the idea of a girl, not the girl herself. That’s the point of the book: that you can’t project a fantasy onto a real person. So let’s not be too critical of this choice – after all, questioning the casting choice is letting preconceived notions of Delevingne – as a model and larger than life personality – cloud our perceptions before they’ve even started filming.
Point is, there’s now a Margo Roth Spiegelman and a Quentin Jacobson (Nat Wolff of Nickelodeon and Fault in Our Stars fame), and the movie is happening. That in itself should be enough to put a smile on any Paper Towns fan’s face!
At least until Looking for Alaska’s cast list inevitably comes out, and we do this all over again.