Esther Earl, a beautiful young girl suffering from advanced thyroid cancer, inspired John Green’s ‘The Fault In Our Stars’ after meeting him at a Harry Potter convention. Sadly, she passed away in 2010 at 16 years old.
Shailene Woodley‘s character in The Fault In Our Stars, Hazel Grace Lancaster, is loosely based off of author John Green‘s longtime friend and inspiration, Esther Earl. After the pair met at a Harry Potter convention they became fast friends, and Esther essentially became the voice and spirit of the beloved fictional Hazel Grace.
‘The Fault In Our Stars’ Real-Life Hazel Grace: Esther Earl
If you’ve seen or read The Fault In Our Stars, it will not surprise you to learn that a beautiful young spirit inspired it’s main character, Hazel Grace.
Esther Earl, who was diagnosed at age 12 with advanced thyroid cancer, even has physical similarities to Hazel Grace. From the short hair, curious wide eyes, and beautiful smile, it’s as if Shailene was created solely to portray Esther on camera.
The book’s author, John Green, met Esther randomly at a Harry Potter convention where they sat and talked for quite some time. Esther was a huge fan of John’s, and she even ran an online fansite for his books.
In a new interview, Esther’s parents, Wayne and Lori, open up about how their daughter inspired the best-selling book and #1 film.
“In the film Shailene puts a real emphasis on love and a deep connection. That is incredibly similar to Esther,” Lori explained to the Daily Mail.
“Another major similarity is she was not as concerned about herself and her own health as she was about how her illness affected others. She was so worried about how we would cope with her death.”
It bears noting that in the film, Hazel Grace travels to Amsterdam in hopes of meeting her favorite author. Sadly, he is not as kind and friendly as John was to Esther, but [SPOILER ALERT] he does come through as a good guy in the end.
Esther’s Parents Were Nervous To See The Film
Of course, it’s not surprising to hear that Wayne and Lori were hesitant to see The Fault In Our Stars on the big screen after losing Esther just four years ago in 2010.
Lori said, “I was very nervous watching the film. And I was even more nervous for our other two daughters. It took them a long time to read ‘The Fault In Our Stars,’ so I thought the film might be upsetting for them.”
However, Wayne was more nervous about Esther’s younger brother Abraham seeing the film. There was concern that Abraham might confuse his memories with scenes from the film.
“Abraham was only six when Esther died. They were very close and she would always make a lot of time to play with him. But I realized that he would undoubtedly start to associate Esther with the character Hazel Grace,” Wayne explained.
In the end, Wayne and Lori realized that even if Abraham’s memories were confused that it would be okay. They believe that Hazel Grace was so perfectly similar to their daughter, and there would be nothing wrong with their son associating his memories with her.
— Lauren Cox