The actor on groping his on-screen girlfriend, creepy painters and losing his eyesight for the role of his life
Despite running on no sleep, actor Nat Wolff seems chipper. "I was in Charlotte (North Carolina) and then I went to New York and then I, wait – what did I do? I didn’t sleep till 6am last night like an idiot because I just couldn’t, I guess jetlag." Since his steamy smooch with Selena Gomez in Behaving Badly ("She was great, it was interesting to watch somebody who was that famous. I’ve never been around that before"), Wolff has been looking to top it. In Josh Boone's The Fault in Our Stars, Wolff goes the whole hog and fondles his on-screen girlfriend. In it he plays Isaac, the best friend of Gus (Ansel Elgort) who has lost his eyes to cancer. While coming to terms with his illness, his girlfriend dumps him. To prep for blindness, Wolff experimented with an eyepatch. Here, we talk about glass eyes, groping and the Anne Frank scandal.
In the film you have a glass eye. How did you pull off acting blind?
Nat Wolff: Yeah, it’s nuts. I walked around with an eye patch to get ready to have a glass eye, and it just changed my entire body. Your eye goes in and out of focus, obviously, but then also my body totally changed with the eye in. It was like my balance was off, so strange.
Did you fall over and stuff?
Nat Wolff: I was just like off and I can see it in the movie that my body’s totally different, for the first half. Second half that I have like the contacts and I’m blind in both eyes and I’m back to neutral but the first half I’m just off balance a little.
“Josh (Boone) was just like, ‘Honk the horn!’ because in the script it says, 'Isaac honks the horn', like grabs the boob and he’s just like ‘Honk the horn!’ and I’m like, oh my god, so embarrassing” – Nat Wolff
Was it awkward to do that scene where you act all schmoozy with Monica (Emily Peachey)?
Nat Wolff: Schmoozy, yeah. It was awkward. I barely knew (Emily) but it was fun because we met up the night before. We had dinner and we came up with an entire relationship history and then I bought her like a necklace that said 'I' on it, for Isaac, and she bought me a necklace that said 'M' on it (for Monica). In the movie I rip it off when I’m pissed.
That was all your idea?
Nat Wolff: Yeah.
What about the boob grab?
Nat Wolff: That was in the script. So when we were on set, we were making out. We’d just met and Josh and I had already done this movie together so we were friends but he doesn’t know this girl at all, and he’s just like, ‘Honk the horn!’ because in the script it says, 'Isaac honks the horn', like grabs the boob and he’s just like ‘Honk the horn!’ and I’m like, oh my god, so embarrassing.
He said that on set?
Nat Wolff: On set. In front of all the studio people, it was so hilarious and embarrassing. In front of Laura Dern, who I'd just met.
What about this film appealed to you?
Nat Wolff: I just get excited by different characters. I read the script, I fell in love with the script, I thought it was awesome. I gave the script to director Josh Boone and I was like, 'You’ve got to get this job. You’ve got to be the director, they don’t have a director.' and he was like, 'I’ll never get it but I can try,' and then he got it. We'd done a movie together called Stuck in Love and he just owed me so he offered me the part.
Yeah because you’re going to be the star in Paper Towns (adapted from another John Green novel). Are you hoping you’re going to be the next teen heartthrob?
Nat Wolff: No, I’m just lucky. John Green writes great stories and I’m lucky to get to be in it, that book’s awesome. I read it while I was on set for Fault and the producers of Fault were like, you should read Paper Towns and I didn’t know why. I just read it and I loved it and I don’t think its been done before. It’s different than Fault but it’s honest and...
And then you’re going to be a heartthrob.
Nat Wolff: And then I’m going to be a heartthrob (laughs).
Did you know Ansel (Elgort) before all this?
Nat Wolff: I did. Not too well but I knew him a little bit and we’d hung out a couple of times. I went to his birthday party. New York kids. We had mutual friends, we travel in the same circles and then when he got the part we just started hanging out all the time just because we knew we were going to do the movie and we just really like each other.
There is a scene in the film where Ansel and Shailene smooch at the Anne Frank house. Did you get to go to the Anne Frank house?
Nat Wolff: I didn’t. Nobody did actually, we all went to the fake one.
What an Anne Frank scandal!
Nat Wolff: I know, it’s kind of scandalous.
Was there one day on set that was laugh out loud funny?
Nat Wolff: I loved doing the egg scene. That was so fun, it was my first day.
Would you rather get hit on by a painter or have your house egged by your ex-girlfriend?
Nat Wolff: I think get hit on by a painter.
What would their chat up line be?
Nat Wolff: Their chat up line would be, ‘Hey, we were winking at your publicist but we were actually looking at you’.
The Fault in Our Stars is in cinemas now