'Paper Towns' Star Cara Delevingne on Meeting John Green, Being Inspired By Meryl Steep and Embarrassing Auditions
"In Hollywood, it's all about the look as well. If you don't look the part, they don't see you in it. It's terrifying in auditions."
Cara Delevingne is trading the runway for the big screen, starring in her first major role in the film adaption of John Green's coming-of-age novel Paper Towns. Appearing opposite of Nat Wolff's Quentin Jacobsen (also known as Q), Delevingne plays the mysterious and adventurous Margo Roth Spiegelman, Q's neighbor and longtime crush, who suddenly disappears.
The Hollywood Reporter caught up with the 22-year-old actress — whose upcoming film credits include Tulip Fever, London Fields, Kids in Love, Pan and Suicide Squad — to chat about her audition, meeting Green for the first time and the stars she admires most in the industry.
Tell us about your audition.
I went into my audition after reading the script and reading the book and falling in love with Margo's character and really wanting to know everything about her — like, I wish she was my friend in so many ways. I remember being extremely nervous and getting called back for the chemistry read with Nat, which was very surprising because I thought it didn't go very well. I was very nervous, and in auditions like that I like to embarrass myself a lot and take off my shoes and dance around. I did the audition, and I think me and Nat had really great chemistry. And then it went from there.
Which scene did you audition for?
The last scene, which changed drastically by the time we actually shot the film — the last scene when they leave each other.
Where were you when you found out that you got the role?
I think I was in a hotel room by myself. I got the call. I always have to make sure it's not a joke when someone tells me something like that, trying to cut off my leg. I got really quiet and then screamed and called my family. But again, I never really believe it's happening until I'm actually on set shooting because there's been so many times when a movie is going to happen and then it just falls through. So I'm never really sure of it until I'm in front of a camera filming it.
You mentioned that you like to embarrass yourself during auditions. How do you feel about auditions?
I don't think I've met anyone who feels very comfortable with auditions. There are some better auditions than some. It's a bit nerve-racking, and you would kind of hope that your idea of the character is the same as the people doing it. But again, in Hollywood, it's all about the look as well. If you don't look the part, they don't see you in it. It's terrifying in auditions.
Who do you find most inspiring in Hollywood?
Meryl Streep is one of my favorite actresses. She's so versatile in so many different roles and every character she plays is kind of 3D and so interesting. She's someone who I look up to. Angelina Jolie, as well, her career, especially her trajectory in becoming a director.
What was it like when you initially met John Green and Nat?
I didn't meet John until we started filming, and we all met at the same time — the rest of the cast. It was lovely. I mean, it was kind of amazing to meet the man behind the book and after reading it and wanting to ask him so many questions. He was not how I expected; he was so lovely and sweet — not that I didn't expect that — but he was hysterically funny as well. We went out to pizza afterward and I got to pick his brain about certain things and we just talked about life.
With Nat, I met at the chemistry reading. We got along really well, straight away, but I was a bit nervous. But once we started, we spent a lot of time together, just me and him, playing each other music and singing to each other.
Who would you love to work with next?
I don't know, so many people. The people I'm working with at the moment are incredible and I'm learning so much. I don't know, everyone and anyone I look up to, which is pretty much everyone.