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Snapchat: iJustine
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Justine: John, thank you so much for sitting here and chatting with me about what is, I think, the best movie that I've ever seen.

John: Oh my gosh! Thank you, Justine! You're only saying that; we have been friends for a long time. Lots of people don't know that, but, like, Justine has participated in almost every Project for Awesome ever, um, you've built, like, wells around the world...

Justine: I did! There's still a few that are due to be built in the next couple years...

John: Awesome, that's-

Justine: So I'm really exited.

John: So cool.

Justine: Now, but it's so crazy 'cause, like, I still see you as a YouTuber, so...

John: I still see myself as a YouTuber.

Justine: Yeah, I know. But, like, seeing your Instagram start popping up at, like, the MTV movie awards... For you, what has this whole thing been like?

John: It's been very weird, because I still love, like I love YouTube-

Justine: Yeah!

John: I love my YouTube friends, and Hollywood is cool, but that's where my heart is.

Justine: Mmm hmm.

John: Um, but it was amazing at the MTV movie awards. I was sitting 7 seats away from David Hasselhoff.

Justine: (laughing) Oh my gosh.

John: Yeah. It was about the highlight of my life. I couldn't watch was was happening onstage because I was so busy watching Hasselhoff watch what was happening onstage.

Justine: And what was it, well, I mean, that's kind of amazing, and what was he watching? Like, what was his reaction?

John: He was a very, um, I don't- I got the feeling that maybe it wasn't the most excited day of his life.

Justine: Yeah. Well I think he's had a really exciting life.

John: He has, you know, so like, for me I was like, this is as good as it gets! And, for the Hoff, I think it was just another awards show.

Justine: For, like, the YouTubers at home, like, watching, I mean, they've been here throughout this whole process. I mean, how do you think the nerdfighters are gonna, kind of, take to the movie?

John: The great, I mean, the good thing about the movie is that, uh, they really worried about Nerdfighteria, like, they were really scared about the fans of the book... Which is good, um, because I think that's part of why the movie is so good. I think that they had a healthy fear of displeasing people who love the book. And I was on set almost the entire time, and I care about the book a lot, obviously, and I just thought they did a great job.

Justine: They really did. 'Cause I, usually...

John: You've seen it!

Justine: I did, I saw it! And I had no idea, I showed up at the screening thinking it was one of those screenings where they shove you in a room, you're alone. So I- I rolled out of bed, go to the screening... I was like, oh my God, there's like hundreds of people, you guys, the whole cast was there! I was like well, alright! Let's- let's-

John: She looked fantastic!

Justine: Well, thank you!

John: You did, you did.

Justine: (laughs) But it was so cool! And Shailene did such a great job. Honestly-

John: She's an amazing actress!

Justine: I couldn't believe it. I've never actually seen her play a role like that.

John: No. I mean, well- I don't think there are a lot of roles in Hollywood like that where, you know- she's wearing a cannula in her nose for almost every frame of the movie. And um, she's just brilliant in it. She just- you know... When you're writing a book, you hear the characters' voices in your head, and they have a very particular way of speaking. And I worried a lot about that on the set, of, you know, this is gonna be weird for me, I'm gonna have to shut up, and not say like "no, no, no, she says it like this!" (Justine laughs) But with Shailene and Ansel, who plays Gus, like, they just sounded like Hazel and Gus to me from the very beginning.

Justine: They did. And it was so cute in- like, hearing people watching the movie. Any time they'd hear their favorite lines, they would go (inhales sharply). (John laughs) Like, I would hear little sobs and little gasps! I honestly cried throughout the whole movie. And something you said, when somebody asked you something about the book, I don't remember what the question was, but you said, you wrote the book and then you gave it to them. Like, it was theirs. And I thought that was awesome, because each person in that theater, I feel like, they were watching the movie, but for them, they were feeling something different, and relating that to something in their life. That's- do you think that's sort of the case? 'Cause it was for me, at least.

John: Yeah, I think that like- I think that books and movies- and YouTube stuff too, like... It has to be a gift.

Justine: Mmm hmm.

John: You know, it has to be something that you make for someone and then you let- you say to them like, go and- take this, and if it can useful to you, great. I hope it can be. I worked really hard on it-

Justine: (laughing) Yeah!

John: -I hope that you like this. I hope that, you know... And that's all you can do. Um, and it's hard! It's hard to let go, because, you know, obviously you like the stuff that you made, and you worked really hard on it, but you have to be able to let it go.

Justine: What's cool about it is, you know, I was relating it to situations that I had been in, and friends that I had lost.

John: Yeah.

Justine: And I think it's cool to be able to see these characters dealing with that. And then you can kind of deal at the same time. So I don't know, it was just-

John: Yeah, I mean, we've all- we've all lost people who were important to us, and um... It's not something- you know, it's funny, like, a lot of times, people say like, "oh, you'll get over it" or "time heals all wounds" or whatever. But it's not something you wanna get over necessarily. I don't wanna stop remembering my friends. I don't wanna stop caring about them, and I wanna live with that loss. I wanna be okay with it. I wanna- I know that they would want me to go on living, but I- that doesn't mean that you wanna forget.

Justine: Mmm hmm! It was- it was just great, and I'm so excited. And another thing! You shot a lot of this in Pittsburgh.

John: Yes!

Justine: I'm from Pittsburgh!

John: Yes.

Justine: I love Pittsburgh! Everyone that's from Pittsburgh loves the city, so what did you think about it?

John: I was blown away by Pittsburgh! I live in Indianapolis. I love Indianapolis, nothing against Indianapolis, great city! Pittsburgh is like... Indianapolis plus! Indianapolis plus hills! (Justine laughs) You know?! It was actually really hard, 'cause the movie's set in Indianapolis but it was filmed in Pittsburgh, so we had to find flat streets.

Justine: And that's kinda hard to do!

John: It is! It's hard to do. Like, it's just such a hilly city. There's so much- there's so much topography. There's amazing restaurants!

Justine: Mmm hmm!

John: Really great restaurants. Shailene is a huge fan of like, farm-to-table food and like, organics and even raw food.

Justine: Mmm hmm.

John: I went to a raw food restaurant!

Justine: Oh gosh.

John: On two or three occasions.

Justine: Yeah.

John: That was a different thing for me. I'm used to- I'm a big fan of heat! (Justine laughs) Like, I think it was amazing when we invented fire. I like to celebrate that moment by eating warm food.

Justine: Well, and she has such a strict diet, so that's awesome that she was able to find places-

John: Yeah, yeah! There were all these great restaurants that she was able to find. And yeah, so I had raw- raw food with Shailene a couple times. And I have to say that like, this particular restaurant in Pittsburgh made some good raw food! Like-

Justine: That's good!

John: -good raw banana bread and- I- the whole thing was really cool! But yeah, I loved the city. I loved the people in the city! Like, almost everybody who worked on the movie- this was really moving to me-

Justine: mmm hmm.

John: um, you know, it's like, a hundred and fifty people who work on a movie. The people who, you know, drive the stars to and from their apartments, and the people who scout locations, and the people who like, build sets and everything. Almost everyone read the book!

Justine: That's cool!

John: Um. And almost everybody- um, I mean, I think everybody was there because they cared about the story. And it was just so magical. It was the opposite of, like, what an author expects a Hollywood experience to be like. Everybody was so cool - and I think it was because it was in Pittsburgh-

Justine: Yeah.

John: You know, just like- as a person from Indiana, I felt very at home there.

Justine: It is! It's a very homey city. And I mean, I have so many friends there, and everyone has been so awesome. I know there's a lot of movies and stuff that have been coming through there-

John: Yeah!

Justine: -so I think that's good, because they've prepped for that! So like, they were ready!

John: Yeah, they have a great like- they have great crew. Um, a lot of those people um, have made some of my favorite movies, like they made Wonder Boys, they made Jack Reacher, which I thought was like, (Justine laughs) Tom Cruise's best movie of the best five movie.

Justine: I actually really like that movie.

John: I do too!

Justine: I was quite impressed.

John: I'm not apologizing for liking Jack Reacher.

Justine: No, I'm not either!

John: It's not just 'cause I'm a Pittsburgh fan boy. I also legitimately love that movie.

Justine: But that's so- but that was so scary, seeing those scenes in like, places that I walked and like, grew up in.

John: Yeah, there's like a sniper!

Justine: I'm like, oh my gosh. Any time I even drive through the bridge, I'm like okay, I'm a little nervous (laughs).

John: You're fine, you're fine!

Justine: Did you have that experience? I don't know which way you were coming from, but when you first drive through the tunnels-

John: When you come out of the tunnel and you see the city!

Justine: It's amazing. Like, you can't even explain that. If anyone has ever seen that- it's just like, the coolest thing ever.

John: I mean like, one of the reasons it is worth going to Pittsburgh is for that experience.

Justine: Mmm hmm!

John: I also went up this uh, the Duquesne incline-

Justine: The incline!

John: Yeah.

Justine: Yes!

John: Which- I have a terrible fear of heights. (Justine laughs) And my son was three at the time, and we were going up the Duquesne incline with my son and my wife, who was pregnant, and um, nope! Just kidding. We had a second baby.

Justine: okay!

John: I just- she was outside of the body! (Justine laughs) Yep!

Justine: Real fresh!

John: I remember that now. (Justine laughs) Super fresh! Could have been inside, could have been out - that young! So anyway, we're going up the Duquesne Incline, and Henry was like "this is so fun!" and I was having an actual panic attack. And he was like, "Daddy, look out the window!" and I was like-

Justine: Uh uh!

John: it was like, "Daddy, what's wrong with you?!" And I was like "nothing. Nothing. Nothing's wrong with me, man. Nothing." And he was like, "Daddy's scared to look out the window, Mommy." And I was like "I'm not scared!" and he was like "look out the window!" and I was like "I don't wanna look out the window!" He made me three again.

Justine: I mean- and that thing's like a vintage cart.

John: Oh no, I was convinced that I was in the last five minutes of my life.

Justine: The scariest thing ever!

John: Yeah, totally.

Justine: So another question at the screening, but I was too busy crying my eyes out (John laughs) and I couldn't talk! What was the casting process like? Because obviously you have these characters in your mind, so did you sit on the casting, and...?

John: I didn't sit in. Like, I didn't uh, go to the auditions. But they sent me the audition tapes. So um, I saw more than a hundred tapes for Hazel. But then Shailene auditioned late in the process and they sent me Shailene's tape, and I think everybody agreed that it had to be her.

Justine: I mean, whoever did the casting, you guys did a great job! Because-

John: Yeah! Ronna Kress. She did an amazing job. The whole- I mean, Willem Dafoe was amazing as Van Houten, Laura Dern as Hazel's mom.

Justine: Biggest Willem Dafoe fan.

John: I am too!

Justine: When I found out that he was going to be in that movie, I mean...Boondock Saints? It's a very good-

John: Yeah, no. Willem Dafoe has been in so many good movies. Also, his parents grew up ten houses away from me in Orlando, Florida...

Justine: Really!

John: Yeah, so I like, when I was walking my dog when I was a little kid, when I was like eight years old, I would see Willem Dafoe, like at his parent's house for Thanksgiving.

Justine: Oh my gosh.

John: And so for him to be in my movie-

Justine: He did such a good job. Everyone did such a great job.

John: I know, the performances are amazing, I'm so proud of everybody who worked so hard on that movie.

Justine: I'm so happy for you. Like, honestly, like, it's, I think this is just, it's, just, I'm speechless. Honestly.

John: Thank you, Justine. You're--it's--I--I'm so glad, too, because you've been, you know, like, we've been doing this thing together for so long, um, and it's been so wonderful to watch your life take all of its turns and your career go so wonderfully--

Justine: Thank you.

John: --and um, yeah, I just feel really grateful that I have all of these amazing people in my life who are my friends who are also like, supportive of my work, it means a lot to me.

Justine: And I think that's what kind of goes back to the original YouTube community, you know?

John: Yeah, it is! And it's still there. We are still a community. There's a lot of other stuff happening on YouTube and that's fine, but we are still a community, and that's so important. 

Justine: It is. We love you guys.

John: We do. Genuinely.

Justine: Umm, let's see, I don't know how much time, I can sit here for like, three hours, so, I don't know.

John: We could do that.

Justine: Okay.

John: We could just do a sit.

John: You're smiling, I was giving my serious face. You were being super cute. You don't even have a serious face.

Justine: I do, when I'm--when I have no emotion, I'm just sitting--

John: Show me your emotionless face. You do kind of a mean emotionless face.

Justine: I look so mad, people are like, are you mad, I'm like, no!

John: My--we--there's a woman who works at my office who has a very mad normal face.

Justine: Yeah, it's awful, because people always think I'm upset or angry, I'm like, no, no, I'm perfectly fine.

John: This is just my face.

Justine: This is just my face, like, I can't help it. Oh, I did have one other question. Umm, what would be a question that no one asked you while on tour that you were like, I can't believe nobody asked me this.

John: No one ever asked me about Willem Defoe and it's--I mean, I never talked about him--

Justine: Really?

John: It was--I felt bad, because I was like, I'm sure Willem Defoe doesn't watch like, uh, Access Hollywood or whatever, but like, I was like, I feel like I should be talking about Willem Defoe. Umm, what's another question that no one asked me--

Justine: Alright, I will talk about him all day long, because he's one of my favorite people.

John: He's so cool.

Justine: And I, like, when I was--

John: He's also, I mean, he so often he plays like, these terrible, terrible people, including in Fault in Our Stars, but um--

Justine: He's really good at it.

John: Yeah, but he's a lovely man and extremely professional and focused, like, he came to Pittsburgh prepared. Like, so ready and that was really impressive to me because he's obviously a very famous, well-established actor but he was good. Like, he is good at his job. It's always amazing to see people who are really competent, 'cause I'm not, you know, like I'm kind of an incompetent person in general so I'm always like, astonished by peoples' competence.

Justine: Yeah, you're like, high five for you, buddy.

John: Anybody who can like, like, change a doorknob or change the oil in their car.

Justine: Ehh, I can't do that either. But we can make YouTube videos! We've got that down!

John: We're pretty good at editing.

Justine: Yeah.

John: Justine's better at editing than I am.

Justine: I mean, well, I don't know about that.

John: No, it's true. It's true. I can only do one kind of edit, it's called the jump cut.

Justine: That's all you need to know, it's the start, that's where you start and then you just make some transitions.

John: Nope. After eight years, still just the jump cut.

Justine: Did you ever think that, when you first started making YouTube videos that any of this would have ever happened?

John: No, I mean, I'm sure that you're in the same boat. When we started making YouTube videos, it never occurred to us that this could be a job. It was just a thing that I liked doing. It's a chance to talk to my brother and other people I liked. 

Justine: Yeah. And here you are. A crazy movie, oh my gosh.

John: Here we are, in your real living room, your beautiful real life living room.

Justine: Yeah! They asked me like, what set would you guys like to be sitting at? I was like, I dunno, a wall, I don't care.

John: Well, we've got a really nice. 

Justine: We had the option of a bar, and I was like, ehhh, maybe not.

John: That's a little weird, yeah.

Justine: We're just in a living room.

John: I wish that our um, I wish that the wall in my actual house looked like that.

Justine: I don't have a single piece of art in my house.

John: You don't?

Justine: No!

John: My wife is an art curator.

Justine: Really?

John: She will help you. She will give you great art very cheap. 

Justine: Great! 

John: Yeah.

Justine: The only thing that I have, and it's still not even framed, is the original Mac logo, that Susan Kare designed, and she has prints of it, so that's the only thing that I have.

John: That is a cool piece of art though. You've gotta frame it.

Justine: I know, it's rolled up. I'm like, trying to do something with this.

John: Oh my God, Justine, this is not acceptable. 

Justine: I know! Well, thank you so much for chatting with me. Is there anything else you wanna tell them about the movie that you haven't told anybody?

John: Uhh, it comes out on June 6th. Go. Go see it. Or not, it's up to you. But um, I just wanna say thank you. It's so nice to see you, I'm such a big fan of yours, so it's fun to hang out.

Justine: I'm your biggest fan. Oh my gosh. OH, and the soundtrack is really good, too!

John: Yeah, the soundtrack isn't bad!

Justine: I pre-ordered it. Oh, it's really good.

John: Yeah. I also pre-ordered it.

Justine: Oh, well good. Well, that's it, I love you guys, we love you, go see the movie, and let us know what you think of it!

John: DFTBA.