Ansel Elgort: Romance, Getaway Drives, and Music
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With only a handful of feature films to his name, Ansel Elgort has quickly risen to the top. With his latest feature Baby Driver, as well as an upstart music career, the now-turned 24-year-old actor/musician is establishing his place in Hollywood’s driving seat. Four years ago, Elgort became something of a teenage obsession when he and Shailene Woodley came to our screens as terminally ill cancer patients in the romantic adaptation of John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars. His role as Gus is theatrically cool with an over-the-top aura – a character which Elgort portrays as an ordinary guy, just like any real person who has a public face, as much as one which they keep to themselves. Comparable to a Romeo and Juliet romance, the maudlin narrative had obvious appeal to teenagers seeking to turn their struggles with first love into definitive hard luck. With this film, Elgort becomes a young generation's hipster ideal: a guy who looks like a model, is talented, and is paid like a movie star – but is truly committed to his craft. However, while he is notoriously known for his work in the YA genre, he intercut this with other complex roles, following TFIOS with an additional starring role in the Divergent franchise (the first film being released 2 months before TFIOS), a film which reached a demographic beyond the teenager audience of TFIOS. Elgort's portrayal of the lead character's brother, Caleb Prior, in Divergent differs greatly from his interpretation of Augustus; they are different people, in different worlds, acting out different motives. Caleb isn’t a leading man, and his complicated and morally-twisted story arc allows the audience to develop complex feelings towards the character, and thus greatly distinguishes Elgort's performances so early in his career. In these two performances, he announced to audiences that he was not going to be typecasted.
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