How Nat Wolff Balances Blindness, Comedy and Raw Eggs in 'The Fault in Our Stars' (Video)
Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort may be leading The Fault in Our Stars, but supporting the love story of Hazel Grace Lancaster and Augustus Waters -- and constantly cutting their tear-jerking tension with hilarious one-liners -- is fellow terminally ill teen Isaac, played by Nat Wolff.
"This is probably the hardest character I've played because it seems so simple," the 19-year-old actor tells The Hollywood Reporter of Isaac, the one-eyed, lovestruck best friend of Augustus who loses his sight completely in the film. "How am I gonna make it so he's a super-funny character who's not the butt of the joke? I met with a lot of blind people, and they said, they're very offended by [portrayals of blind people onscreen] -- people who are walking into stuff, making fun of them.
"So what I tried to do was find the edge behind the humor," he says of his character's sarcastic jabs and one-liners -- most of which, director Josh Boone says, were completely improvised, especially throughout the bittersweet trophy-trashing scene in Augustus' basement. (Boone and Wolff previously collaborated for Stuck in Love and will do so again in The Stand.) "It's like he was using humor as a defense."
For practice, Wolff walked around his home and town blindfolded, alongside his mother, who made sure he didn't hurt himself and accompanied him to a meal at a local restaurant. And while filming, he did all he could to minimize his eyesight on set. "I didn't want to have to fake being blind if I didn't have to, so I put these two contacts into my eyes that made it so I really was blind -- they were completely black," he explains. "Once I went blind, I always had blackout contacts and black glasses so no one could see my eyes."
Wolff noted that though it took some time to adjust, "When I watched the movie, I was like, 'Why is my body language different?' It's because of my contacts, and I didn't even realize it at the time -- the initial 'bumbling' around on set was worth it. It made it so scary, and so real to the point where that eulogy scene -- I was blind during that scene -- something about it just freed me up, because I wasn't self-conscious. I didn't see the camera, I didn't see any of the people. It was nice."
Another major scene that leans on Isaac's lack of eyesight is when he eggs a sports car from across the street (pictured above) -- and ends up hitting the target repeatedly. Wolff reassures he stayed in character: "I was throwing them blind!"
The Fault in Our Stars hits theaters June 6. Watch the scene below.