"I like nerds much more than I like popular people," author John Green, the driving force behind last year's biggest tearjerker, "The Fault In Our Stars," told a packed theater at AMC Kips Bay in New York City Wednesday night (March 18).
Green, director Jake Schreier and actress Halston Sage were on-hand to introduce the first trailer for "Paper Towns" (due out July 24) as well as two clips from the latest Green novel to get the big-screen treatment.
"You guys are going to be the first people to see the trailer other than, like, us," Green told the frenzied crowd.
"That is going to be public in, like, 14 hours," Schreier said of the trailer. But the clips had more exclusivity. "What you're about to see isn't going to be public for, like, four months. I literally just came from the editing room."
While the first clip rolled, the trio huddled against a wall to take it in as a group. "Sorry, we really wanted to watch that together," Green told the crowd as they took their seats again.
During a Q&A with the fans, moderated by MTV's Josh Horowitz, we learned what everyone really thinks of Sage ("You're a huge nerd," Green said lovingly), what star Cara Delevingne's most Margo Roth Spiegelman-esque quality is ("painful intensity"), how the cast passed time on set (singing Taylor Swift) and the likelihood that the cameo Green shot would actually end up in the movie (73 percent, according to Schreier, much better odds than the "Fault" cameo that ended up on the cutting room floor). The fans, as fans tend to do, went wild.
"It was great, it was great," Green said of the enthusiastic crowd after the trailer screening. He, Schreier and Sage sat at the front of a totally empty theater with the lights up, following a second showing of the trailer.
"It's always weird to be in a room full of people who saw it for the first time," Green added. "It was amazing to hear the screams and the laughs and the awws. It was pretty cool."
Asking which scenes they're most excited for fans to see when the full film is released in July quickly turns into a laundry list of key scenes.
"There's a scene where Ben pees in the back of a minivan that is pretty great, pretty hilarious," Green said. "I'm excited for people to see Ben peeing. And the beer sword and the bathtub scene, I'm excited about and Radar and Angela have an amazing scene together that I'm excited for. The whole prank night with Margo is exciting."
"The SunTrust building, I'm excited for that," Schreier said.
And that's not even mentioning the infamous World's Largest Collection of Black Santas, which, yes, did make it into the film.
"We have a lot of black Santas," Schreier said. "I promise that every single black Santa that was procurable in the United States was procured."
The cast and crew all received gifts of black Santas during the production, and each is different. Sage described hers as being "mid-hip thrust" while Schreier's is a "fairly typical Norman Rockwell Santa."
Tomorrow, when the trailer hits, you'll likely find Green and the cohort scrolling Twitter for your reactions, so be kind. And if you don't meet them in cyberspace, you might still see them in person: all three said they planned to head to theaters to see the trailer on the big screen in coming days.
And then it was time to go and face the crowds again, dashing down the stairs beside the group's escalator and stopping for selfies every few feet once they reached the bottom, all the way to the waiting car outside.
"DFTBA!" one fan shouted after. I had to look it up, but once I did, the acronym, a catchphrase of fans of Green and his brother, Hank Green, seemed fitting: don't forget to be awesome.
"Paper Towns" hits theaters July 24.