One of the first characters you meet in John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars is Patrick, a sanctimonious cancer survivor who leads heroine Hazel’s regular support group meetings. Always infusing the conversation with effusive expressions of pious gratitude, Patrick starts the story off as one of the protagonist and narrator’s least favorite regular contacts, used as a subject of mockery by her and her fellow attendees. But there is more to Patrick than the jokes at his expense — he’s a character with heart. Spirit. Charisma. A character that, in regards to the developing film adaptation of the novel, deserves an actor who can uphold all of these qualities, who can grate on the main character’s nerves and still earn a spot in our hearts. Ladies and gentlemen, Mike Birbiglia.
Yes, he’s known foremost for his standup comedy rather than his acting, but Birbiglia is likable, and irreparably so. It was author John Green himself who tweeted the news that Birbiglia would be joining Josh Boone’s adaptation. Adding to a résumé already consisting of Sleepwalk With Me and Your Sister’s Sister, this move is encouraging to Birbiglia fans hoping to see him break into new sorts of material and also to Fault in Our Stars fans who have high expectations for the Shailene Woodley-starring feature. Pretty much everybody wins.