Can Cara Delevingne Pull Off Playing Margo in ‘Paper Towns’?

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The highly anticipated upcoming film adaptation of John Green’s Paper Towns was announced months ago, well before his more recent hit novel The Fault in Our Stars reached the big screen earlier this summer. But now, it looks like the project is finally picking up speed. Per TheWrap, the movie has reportedly found its female lead in British model-turned-actress Cara Delevingne.

Earlier this month, it was announced director Jake Schreier has officially been tapped to helm his latest book-to-screen conversion. The news had fans buzzing about whether the casting of the story’s main female character, Margo, would soon follow — and it looks like they were right. Green himself confirmed the casting announcement on Twitter, writing that, “Cara Delevigne’s audition blew everyone away (including me!) and she understands Margo profoundly. I am so excited!”

Green’s bestselling 2008 novel follows the story of Quentin, an Orlando teenager who has had a crush on the mysterious, cool girl next door, Margo, since they were both kids. One day, Margo recruits Quentin to help her with an all-night rampage of revenge pranks on people who have slighted her in the past. The next day, she suddenly disappears, leaving Quentin a series of clues that he must solve in an effort to try and find her.

The movie adaptation reunites much of the team that worked on this year’s tearjerker flick The Fault in Our Stars. As previously announced, screenwriters Michael H. Weber and Scott Neustadter will be returning in the same capacity, while Green will once again produce alongside fellow TFIOS producers Wyck Godfrey and Marty Bowen. Meanwhile, Nat Wolff, who played the supporting character of Isaac in TFIOS, has long since been signed on for the lead role of Quentin. Now, it seems the movie is finally beginning to round out the rest of its team, with Delevnigne’s addition putting another key element in place.

Though this will mark Delevnigne’s first major lead role in a film, the popular model (who has appeared in ads for Topshop, DKNY, Burberry and more) has been slowly transitioning to acting in recent years. She had a small part in 2012’s Anna Karenina, a supporting role in the Amanda Knox-inspired drama The Face of an Angel, and is soon set to appear in Warner Bros.’ upcoming Peter Pan prequel, Pan.

Still, the choice has already spurred a strong reaction among fans of the book, who have long since been wondering which actress could bring the role to life on the big screen. As those who’ve read the novel know, Margo is a complicated character — partly because, as Green once said, Paper Towns was written as a means of combating the “manic pixie dreamgirl” trope in YA fiction. Lily Collins, Mary Elizabeth Winstead (Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, Final Destination 3), Zoey Deutch (Vampire Academy), and Mae Whitman (The Perks of Being a Wallflower) have all been previously name-dropped in connection to the part. With the new casting in place, fans are questioning whether Delevnigne has the acting chops to pull off the part, particularly because she isn’t particularly similar appearance-wise to the character.

Regardless of what you think of the choice, it’s clear Delevnigne will have very high expectations to meet, as will director Schreier, who is relatively new to the world of feature films. Though its storyline is very different, TFIOS set the bar for Green adaptations pretty high, becoming both a critical and commercial success and grossing more than $286 million worldwide against its budget of $12 million. With the returning screenwriters and producers, input from Green, and a noteworthy cast, fans are now hoping that Paper Towns will be able to replicate some of that same magic.

Paper Towns is scheduled to hit theaters on July 31, 2015.

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