Picture Supply: Getty / Rodin Eckenroth
John Inexperienced is understood for writing advanced and unhappy tales about youngsters, and Wanting For Alaska is not any totally different. After years of ready, the 2005 novel is lastly being tailored for the small display with Hulu’s new miniseries, which premiered on Oct. 18. Although the present consists of fairly just a few nods to the e-book, it additionally expands extra on minor characters, together with Chip’s girlfriend Sara, performed by Landry Bender.
We not too long ago had an opportunity to speak with the 19-year-old actress and he or she dished on every part from her “crazy” audition course of (she really auditioned for 2 different characters initially!) to how the collection reveals an entire new facet to her as soon as “one-dimensional” character.
POPSUGAR: The variation of this e-book has been within the works for fairly a while. What was the audition course of like?
Landry Bender: It was actually attention-grabbing. Our producers and showrunners have had this for 15 years, and so they’ve been growing it, and my character was clearly actually small within the e-book. I began auditioning for the present final October. I auditioned for Alaska and wasn’t a match for it, after which I auditioned for Lara, and I did not work for that both. However our casting director, Patrick Rush, was like, “I want you to come back in for Sara. It’s a role that they really want to expand on.” So that they reworked it in the course of the auditioning course of and made [the character] what she is within the collection. I principally received solid every week earlier than, so I flew into Louisiana for 5 months on the week’s discover. It was loopy.
PS: Did you learn the e-book earlier than the audition?
LB: I did. I would really owned the e-book since I used to be about 15, however I simply had by no means gotten round to studying it. I had learn three of [John Green’s] different books and was such a giant fan of him and the way he form of formed my teenage years in a means. I received round to studying it in the course of the auditioning course of and actually, actually related with it.
PS: You talked about you initially auditioned for Alaska and Lara. Was there a selected character that you simply felt actually related to whenever you have been studying the books?
LB: Weirdly sufficient, I feel Miles is the one I associated to probably the most. Simply having that first expertise of getting on the market into the world and exploring, and being younger and harmless, however realizing that there is a lot on the market and that there is a lot you need to discover. I am undoubtedly outgoing and bubbly, however I feel plenty of Miles’ inner dialogue is much like mine.
PS: For some time, the e-book was really being thought-about for a movie as a substitute of a TV collection. Why do you assume that it really works higher as a present?
LB: I feel a few of the suggestions I have been getting from individuals who have watched the present was that it nearly watches like studying a novel, which is one thing I’ve by no means heard earlier than. There’s a lot that the e-book covers, and a miniseries is a very cool idea. As a result of if it was a movie, there is not sufficient to cowl, but when it is a collection you are nearly going overboard. So it was a very nice eight-hour encapsulation of the novel itself.
PS: One factor I discovered actually attention-grabbing concerning the present is that it is really set in 2005, just like the yr the e-book got here out. What was making doing that as a substitute of getting it set in modern-day?
LB: To start with, they needed to remain as true to the e-book as attainable. But in addition, it is so totally different from the place we’re proper now, however it’s additionally so related within the ways in which youngsters talk with one another and their depth. So that they actually needed to have the ability to experiment with not having social media, and form of being on this desolate surroundings of this boarding college and simply having us speak on payphones and determine issues out. It was only a actually cool means to try this. Plus, in a bizarre means, it is a interval piece. In order that was tremendous enjoyable to be in.
PS: The e-book’s creator, John Inexperienced, was additionally an govt producer for the collection. Was he very hands-on throughout filming?
“[John Green] really trusted us with the story and handed it off to us in a way, which was a big honor.”
LB: Sure and no. When plenty of us signed on, we received letters [from him]. I do know Charlie [Plummer] and Kristine [Froseth] talked to him just a few instances after which he was there for taking pictures on and off. However he actually trusted us with the story and handed it off to us in a means, which was a giant honor. There have been scenes that have been very impactful to him that he flew in for and relived in a means from writing them. That was actually trippy. It was an honor that he trusted [us] all a lot.
PS: Did he provide you with any particular suggestions in your character or did you search any recommendation from him about the right way to play Sara?
LB: After I first met him, he was on set for a really emotional day within the e-book and the present. I will not spoil something, however it was probably the most weak I’ve ever seen an individual. So, we simply shared the largest hug and we talked a very long time. That was an honor. It was extra like, “Hey kid, you’re doing great. Thank you for being a part of this,” which is all I might have ever requested for.
Picture Supply: Hulu
PS: In what methods would you say your character differs most from the books? How did you attempt to make the character your personal?
“You see her flaws but also her depth. The way she was raised impacts how she treats other people.”
LB: Within the books she’s undoubtedly very one-dimensional, simply because she’s extra talked about than even in sure elements of the books. So I used to be nervous about that going into [filming] as a result of I undoubtedly did not need her to come back throughout that means. However because the episodes go alongside you see her flaws but additionally her depth, and the issues that make her up, and the truth that the way in which she was raised impacts how she treats different individuals. I used to be grateful that our producers wrote to that, and added extra, and gave me the chance to develop on the form of one-dimensional-ness of her character.
PS: Sara and Chip’s relationship may be very advanced. Not solely do they arrive from two very totally different backgrounds, however additionally they combat so much. Regardless that they do not have an ideal relationship, they’re each very harm by their breakup. How do you assume that performs into the story’s most important narrative of grief and loss?
LB: Denny [Love] and I actually on the front-end needed to just remember to noticed the love and care that they had earlier than the breakup occurred, to the purpose the place they added some stuff simply to just remember to noticed that closeness between the 2 of them. However it’s actually attention-grabbing to see the dynamic of two individuals who have actually grown up with the precise reverse expertise, however are mentally on such the identical web page.
So I feel simply so far as the grief and loss goes, these are two individuals who have formed one another and can all the time care about one another, and possibly past the collection it is not the top of the 2 of them collectively. However it was very a lot the place they wanted to be at that time of their lives. In order unhappy because it was, it is particular, and I feel that it is clever past their years in phrases of their relationship.
PS: What was your favourite half about working with Denny?
LB: Oh, gosh. It is loopy to me to assume that it is the very first thing he is ever completed as a result of his knack for comedic timing is in contrast to something I’ve ever seen. He jogs my memory of a teenage Kevin Hart. Our first chemistry learn it was simply very straightforward on digicam. I couldn’t think about anybody else enjoying that character.
PS: Whereas Wanting For Alaska is a miniseries, how do you assume that the story would proceed past the finale if it received picked up for one more season?
LB: We have all talked about this so much. I do not know the reply to that. I feel this season undoubtedly tells a very particular story. There are plenty of different angles and avenues to discover. I would go away that as much as our producers and writers. I feel it explores a gaggle of actually deep, layered children. So there’s plenty of methods you possibly can go along with that in the event that they needed to.