Anything goes in Amsterdam, but what heartless wretch would steal the iconic bench from the film The Fault in Our Stars?
According to the Associated Press, the green bench upon which star-crossed lovers Hazel and Gus, played by Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort, coo and bill in the hit summer film has gone missing.
Situated on the winding Leidsdegracht canal, the bench featured in Stars is virtually identical to hundreds of other benches in Amsterdam and city officials have admitted that its absence has gone unnoticed for at least a month.
“It’s a bit embarrassing, because we do keep good track of them, but it’s gone all right,” Amsterdam city spokesman Stephan Van der Hoek told Associated Press. In it’s place is a large flower pot.
Suspects in the bench’s disappearance include Fault in Our Stars fans looking to own a piece of movie history, Amsterdam citizens unhappy with fans swarming around the landmark or common household-variety vandals/pranksters.
Then again, it’s also possible the Amsterdam works department simply took the bench away for repair or refurbishing. The city doesn’t seem to keep close tabs on such matters.
The breakout success of The Fault in Our Stars – which is currently nearing the $200-million (U.S.) box office mark – has also spiked tourist traffic to Amsterdam’s Anne Frank House museum, despite the fact that the scenes that appear to be filmed inside the building were actually shot at staged set in Pittsburgh.
“We do get visitors asking about the film,” said Anne Frank House spokesperson Annemarie Bekker.
But of course it’s far easier to steal a bench than a house and van der Hoek thinks the bench was likely taken away intentionally. As The Independent points out, movie memorabilia can be sold with a hefty price tag. In 2005, the ruby slippers Dorothy wore in The Wizard of Oz, estimated to be worth approximately $1-million (U.S.), were stolen from the Judy Garland museum in Minnesota. And there have been numerous cases of private collections of swords, jewellery and maps from the Lord of the Rings films being stolen from private homes.
“Keep your eyes on eBay,” van der Hoek suggests.