Everyone's newest crush talks movies, Shailene and why he prefers little love gestures.
'It boy' is the only way to describe 20-year-old Ansel Elgort. With two of this year’s biggest YA film adaptations under his belt already, Divergent and Fault in Our Stars, he’s shot through the fame stratosphere and landed firmly alongside the likes of Liam Hemsworth and Robert Pattinson.
In fact, as Ansel’s star rises, so too do the comparisons to the Twilight star – and his fan base. “It’s nice that a lot of people know who I am,” says Ansel. “I know that Robert Pattinson is doing a lot of different things now. So yeah, I hope to have a long career and I think having a fan base can be really helpful.” You know who else hopes you have a long career, Ansel? Us!
Is it true you cried when you first saw The Fault in Our Stars?
“Yeah, definitely. I cried a lot when I saw the film. Actually the first time was difficult because I was watching myself for so long and I’m not really used to that because I’m so new to movie acting. It was definitely weird to see it. Then the second time and third time and fourth time I’ve seen it, I’ve enjoyed it more and I’ve been able to really feel it emotionally.”
Augustus Waters is such a well-loved character from the novel. What were the joys and challenges of taking him on and what has the reaction been like from fans so far?
“Taking on Augustus Waters was definitely a challenge to me. He’s definitely complex, he has a lot of different colours. He’s not just a one-sided guy. He starts off in a position of power and his journey goes from strength to weakness, which is not usual for characters. Usually characters rise from weakness to strength. It was important to me to bring him to life the way people had envisioned him. I just really wanted to make sure to pay homage to the book.”
Other than reading the book, what else did you do to research the role?
“We spent some time with kids going through cancer, who’d had it or still had it. I spent time with a kid who lost his leg in a hunting accident but he still went through the process of getting a prosthetic leg. That was important because that’s part of who Gus is, you know, he had to lose his leg due to cancer and then he got a prosthetic leg and everything.”
There are some very hard-hitting scenes which must have been quite draining. How did you cope with that at the end of the day? How did you switch off?
“It wasn’t too bad. At night you go home and it was like you went through therapy for the day and you’d cried out all your tears and you were able to really have a good night’s sleep.”
Shailene Woodley is fantastic in this. You worked with her in Divergent, where you played her brother, and now you are playing her love interest. Did it feel weird kissing your ‘sister’?
“No, because she’s not my sister! [Laughs] Yeah, if she was my sister it might have been weird. But she’s not actually my sister in real life. That’s the thing that no-one seems to understand. [Laughs]”
Your character is a romantic. Would you call yourself a romantic person?
What’s the most romantic thing you’ve ever done?
“Romantic things are not necessarily the big things, but the little things like nice moments you have with someone who you love and share, like, random experiences that maybe aren’t so grand and Hollywood.”
Aside from acting, it also says on your Wikipedia page that you’re a model, DJ and music producer. How have you managed all that at only 20 years old?
“The whole music thing has been a big part of my life for a while. I just want to clarify, I don’t know why on Wikipedia it says I’m a model, but I’m not a model. I’m 6’4”, so I guess maybe I could be a model, but I’m just an actor and I’ve been in magazines recently because they put me in there. My dad’s a fashion photographer and he told me when I was young that whatever I did I was not allowed to be a model. So, you know, I’m clarifying for everyone that I’m not a model for my dad right now. I’m not a model, I’m an actor and I’m an artist and that’s, you know… but yeah, the whole music thing… I’m ‘Ansølo’. ‘Ansølo’ is… I produce electronic dance music. I’ve been doing that for a few years now.”
You’ve also got more than a million fans on Twitter…
“I try to be as good to them as I can and take pictures and respond on Twitter and stuff, but it’s getting harder and harder because the fan base is growing so much. It went from like half a million to a million very quickly and it’s just growing exponentially. It’s a good thing. Fans are good and these fans in particular, a lot of them are nerdfighters, a lot of them are just big fans of Fault in Our Stars– so they’re intelligent young people.”
How do you cope with all the attention you’re getting right now? How do you stay grounded in all that?
“I think that you just have to busy yourself with what you love and that’s one reason why I do make music and go rock climbing with my friends still and I just go through my normal life. I haven’t changed my lifestyle since all this has been happening.”
Do you still live at home?
“No, I moved out of my house earlier this year. I live in Brooklyn, I have a roommate, I try to live a normal lifestyle. I think people get in trouble when they start only partying and thinking that now they are the top of the world they can do anything, but I want to keep it normal.”