1. Van Houten in Hazel’s car
I swiveled around and screamed when I saw Peter Van Houten sitting in the backseat.
“I apologize for alarming you,” Peter Van Houten said over the rapping.
After all the sadness of Gus’ death, there is this totally unexpected and somehow funny twist in the story, in the shape of Peter Van Houten appearing in Hazel’s car. I am really curious to see what an amazing actor like Willem Dafoe (“The Grand Budapest Hotel”) can do with a character like Van Houten.
In the beginning of the novel, Van Houten is Hazel’s literary hero. She feels like he is the only person (besides, of course, Gus) who really understands what it feels like to dying, to be finite, and is desperate to meet the writer in person. So Gus decides to make Hazel’s wish come true and takes her to Amsterdam to meet Van Houten. Unfortunately for Hazel and Gus, Van Houten turns out to be an old, broken and bitter drunk, with no interest in meeting them or answering their questions at all. He then turns into the sort of villain of the story, because he is such a disappointment to Hazel.
I think that Dafoe is going to be amazing as Van Houten in “The Fault In Our Stars”. He is great in portraying villains that are not quite villains. For example, in “The English Patient,” Dafoe plays this character that, unintentionally, has become villainised, because terrible, terrible things have happened to him. In a way, Van Houten is the same – he has been broken by the death of his daughter. He may be the biggest disappointment in the novel, but I expect Dafoe to be everything but in the film.Continue Reading Issue #2