Welcome to Ansel Elgort Fan, your best source for American actor and DJ, Ansel Elgort. You may recognize Ansel from his roles in the "Divergent" series, "The Fault In Our Stars," "Men, Women & Children," and more. Ansel will soon star in the films "November Criminals" and "Billionaire Boys Club," and "Baby Driver." The site aims to provide you with all the latest news, photos, media, and more on Ansel and his career. Please take a look around the site and visit again soon!
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A year ago, he was a teenager—a city kid with no interest in college but a thing for acting and EDM. Two enormous movies later (Divergent and The Fault in Our Stars) and Ansel Elgort is suddenly enjoying a rush of mega-popularity that guarantees one thing: By this time next year, you’ll have trouble remembering the day you didn’t know his name

Here in Amsterdam, the third week of October marks several totally cool occasions for Ansel Elgort. It is, for example, one year to the day since he and the cast of his fame-making movie, The Fault in Our Stars, wrapped production in the Dutch capital—a moment that signaled an end to his old life and the onset of the very public existence he’d spend the rest of this year growing into. The week that I find him back in Amsterdam, he’s here not as a newly anointed Hollywood sensation but as his side-hustle persona, Ansølo, an electronic musician playing a big-time music festival. Last year, he was fanning out in the crowd; this year, he’s opening for some of his heroes, and his name is on the flyer.

More telling evidence of the difference between this year and last can be found at the canalside bench here in town where Ansel’s high-charm cancer-surviving character in The Fault in Our Stars broke some very rough news to Shailene Woodley. Today the spot is a pilgrimage site for young fans—the sort of thing that might’ve happened in 1997 at the bow of the Titanic, had it not been built on a soundstage. That’s actually a useful analogue: The Fault in Our Stars has done for Ansel what Titanic did for an early-twenties Leonardo DiCaprio, vaulting him to a measure of un-obscurity that’s difficult to comprehend if you don’t have a teenage niece or follow his social-media feeds.

While the inconveniences that attend this kind of fame are familiar—a teen-throb like Ansel, for example, has to enter and exit through the kitchens of hotels, anticipate mobs of young women prowling locations from which he just posted Instagrams, and avoid certain neighborhoods in his hometown, New York (the ones with schools and tourists)—not every actor chooses to handle that fame the same way. Ansel seems to regard his new normal as a seasoned swimmer does a riptide. Fight it and it’ll wear you down until you drown. But go with the flow (or rather, take lots of pictures and be the nicest guy ever) and the universe will respect your chillness.

By way of a place-specific example, here’s something that happened in Amsterdam earlier this week. Ansel meets a girl, and they make a plan to grab waffles. By the time they’re done eating, a mob of fans and photographers has gathered out front. Ansel’s idea is to head outside and take pictures with every last fan and then ask them to disperse. It’s become his standing operating procedure, and it works today, too. He and the girl hop in a cab, but after a block or two, Ansel notices a photographer following them: “I’m pretty good with faces, and I recognize him from last year, when he was hanging around the filming of The Fault in Our Stars. And so I ask the driver to pull over, and I get out of the car and go up to the guy and say, ‘Hey, man, how have you been? Listen, I know you have a job to do, but I’m with this girl, and we’re on this date, and we’re just trying to go to some park to hang out some more, and I don’t think we’re gonna be able to do that if you follow us.’ I was basically saying, Can you find it in your heart not to cockblock me? And you know what? He got on his scooter and turned around.”

Ansel is good at Amsterdam.

There is an explanation for what happened with all those fans and the photographer on the moped, and it is that people are filled with an infinite reservoir of reasonableness if you’re willing to appeal to them on that level. This is pretty much Ansel’s theory of early fame. Be open, give a little, smile a lot. His is a social fluency not uncommon in some kids raised in New York City to parents with fancy friends. (Ansel’s father is fashion photographer Arthur Elgort; his mother is opera director Grethe Holby.) Through the runoff of cocktail parties, a child can emerge as a young adult who knows how to find a suit that fits and make a casting director giggle. For Ansel, that confidence and that high-idle charm are qualities that glow beneath the skin of his movie characters—even those who aren’t confident and charming. There’s a self-possession (or maybe it’s just his height) that seems primed to serve dividends for a 20-year-old who hopes he’s “acting till I’m 80.”

In this limber moment of famous-but-not-too-famous-ness, he lives in a Williamsburg apartment with another DJ and kicks around with what you could call a diverse crowd: high school friends, EDM fiends, miniature-model enthusiasts (more to come). It’s still a workable private life. Concurrently, he’s carved out a public space of his own design—highly active in social media, attentively tuned in to the vaguely inarticulate obsession of the mobs of fans, and yet indifferent toward the sideshow.

“What’s changed is: ‘Oh, you can go to this restaurant,’ or ‘You can go to this nightclub,’ but I’m not really interested in that,” he says. “I don’t really care that some trashy girl, like, now all of the sudden wants to fuck me. That’s not really that interesting to me. What’s interesting to me is the fact that creatively I can do anything now and people will pay attention, and if I suck, hopefully they will stop paying attention very quickly, but if I’m good, then I have my foot in the door, and people have paid attention, and I did a good job, and people are like, ‘Oh, wow!’ That’s sweet!”

He seems most content working, making stuff. Music, movies, miniature models. Acting is a good way to spend time, but the press that accompanies it “is bullshit, because you’re not creating anything.” Until a few years ago, a breakout star who loved nothing more than spending time mixing tracks in a windowless basement might have run a risk of limited exposure. But Ansel seems to possess an organic aptitude for social media that feeds fans without blowing his own budget for time and energy. It’s important for business, but it’s also important to keep him out there without having to physically be out there—projecting just the right persona, “a persona that’s distinct and compartmentalized from, like, the person who’s a DJ, or a friend, or a boyfriend, or a son. It’s weird if that’s all the same person.”

Though “there wasn’t really another actor I looked at as a model—that I was like, ‘Yeah, they use social media well,’ ” Ansel knew it wasn’t a venue for “airing your dirty laundry to millions of followers on Twitter…. I think celebrities that just tweet diarrhea from their mouths, that just tweet it in all caps, getting mad at things—those people are so, so sad, and they think that they deserve the voice.”

Still, it was important to have a voice. It gets him fired up that “the quote-unquote cool people in Hollywood” turn their nose up at social media, feel it can’t do any good, worry that it smudges their image. There are people who insist on making it a thing with him.

“I had this long, drawn-out argument with Kate Winslet about it [while shooting Divergent, another of his 2014 films]. Just disagreed, disagreed, disagreed. Some people just think it’s going to affect me and ruin who I am.”

Even if he’s not always in lockstep agreement, he appreciates the way the people who have been around look out for him. He trusts the seasoned members of his management team—”who are, like, 50″—to make the right calls about scripts and roles and readings. He seems to have the sort of patience you find only in the exceptionally young (who have all the time in the world) and the particularly inveterate (with only so many pops left, you’ve got to make each one count).

“I’m not really too worried about what I’m gonna do next, because I just think of my career as, like, having sixty years ahead of me,” he says. “I still have my entire twenties to make movies. I’m in no hurry. I know I’m going to work. I’m not antsy. There’s no reason to be in five mediocre movies a year when I can be in one great movie.” What about television? “I hadn’t really thought about it. But if it was like five episodes on Game of Thrones, then fuck yeah.”

It’s easy to let the fact slip from mind that this is coming from someone who’s acted in just four films. Sure, his have been vaulting roles in breakout vehicles that have resulted in a bevy of swoony teens (Gus, from The Fault in Our Stars, is basically a manic pixie dream girl, but a guy, and one who lost his leg to cancer) and the high regard and well-placed expectations of moviemakers and critics—yes, all that. What I mean is, it could be a very different Ansel speaking at the end of Year Two.

It’ll be interesting to see how the give-of-himself approach is holding up by the time he comes to Amsterdam next October—after the release of Insurgent (a sequel to Divergent) and the filming of what he hopes to be “a big one, with one of the big guys, Scorsese or Spielberg or someone like that—that’s a major goal for next year.” By that point, maybe Ansel’s convictions about fame will seem quaint—a vestige from that innocent phase of a fledgling career. Or maybe the theory will continue to work—an improbable solution to the shittiness of fans and photographers, a win for impervious idealism and smooth-talking 20-year-olds everywhere.

Now is a good moment to introduce what I believe to be a competing theory of fame, which helps explain much of the above: the mature feelings about role selection, the relative lack of tetchiness about following up TFIOS with a big hit (“Maybe I’ll never be in a movie that makes as much money or does that well again”), the general calm about his acting career. That theory is a theory of diversification, and in Ansel’s case that theory manifests itself in a thing called Ansølo.

Ansølo is his twin existence, and Ansølo is in town for the Amsterdam Dance Event, an annual city-wide five-day festival. If I had to sum up Ansel’s interests based on our brief time together (time admittedly weighted by the context of a giant EDM festival), it would be electronic music up here and everything else (acting, friends, street ball, the Knicks—maybe not in that order, but possibly) right about there in the middle. At a dinner with some other DJs before a show, he says a lot of stuff like:

“I’ll work thirteen hours at a time producing a new track. Not a lot of people understand that—not girlfriends, friends, family. But these guys do.”

“Me and my roommate are both producers. We have a studio in our basement in Brooklyn. If I didn’t live with someone—someone who understands this stuff, in particular—I might get a little lonely.”

“Being accepted into this group, doing a show like tonight or Electric Zoo, that’s the ultimate for me.” He is careful and sensitive about his perceived credibility; he doesn’t want to be thought of as just some actor who wanted to play music in a club. “I’m not DJ Paris Hilton. These other guys were playing my records before they knew who Ansølo was, just because it was on a big record label. And the record label signed me before they knew who I was.”

Finally, and most instructively: “I never felt fanboyish about acting, about actors, about movies. I’m a fanboy with music.” For Ansel, getting invited to perform at the Amsterdam Dance Event was the sort of thrill an actor might feel winning “an Academy Award and seeing Meryl Streep clapping for you.”

One of the other DJs asks him how he’s still alive, knowing how hard Ansel’s been running all over town, night after night. “Are you kidding?” Ansel says. “I’m 20 years old—this is the best week of my life.”

At the venue, Ansel is first up—meaning 12 a.m. instead of 4 a.m.—but it’d be hard to describe his set as merely an opening act. Everyone seems ready without much heating up. The crowd of 600 has a ratio that’s about seven dudes (here for the music) to one female Ansel Elgort fan. A great-looking Dutch brunette, six feet in flats, screams “You sexy beast!” at a lull in the set. Ansel had been having a good time at dinner dropping apparently super-good impressions (actor!) of the dancing styles of certain DJs, which is even more amusing now that it’s revealed that Ansel moves with such a limited regard for looking cool. His enthusiasm is unwavering.

Ansel is six-four and occupies more of the booth than some of the other guys. At times, in the small space, doing a little penguin wave or hopping so his head nearly hits the plastic lights flashing on the low ceiling, he looks like someone trying to dance his way out of an airplane bathroom. His fingers play air synth at synthy parts. He nods along with a scrunched-up bad-smell face—but a bad-smell that’s also kind of good. He grabs a CO2 gun and sprays the crowd. International headliners Afrojack and Nicky Romero stop by to show support. (Ansel’s been hanging out with them all week; Afrojack makes Ansel take out his eardrum-protecting earplugs.) Every once in a while, Ansel grabs the mike and says something he’s heard other DJs say, like, “Yo, Amsterdam, make some fucking noise!”

He gives so much to his hour of music, such pure earnest devotion, that it actually drifts beyond the make-fun-able right through to the edge of the spectrum that’s just plain endearing—to a place that should make anyone feel good, or at least feel bad for being the kind of person who might hate on someone who tries really hard.

It’s tough to imagine Ansel having a better time than he does during his set, but then he gets to watch everyone else’s set. There’s no “backstage” at the venue, and so it’s every DJ and all their guests onstage. Ansel’s been wearing a prominent flat-brimmed SIZE hat (his label) all night the way a rookie displays his new team’s colors on Draft Day. Upon closer inspection, the hat shows itself to be signed by other DJs. When one DJ’s set transitions into the next, the departing one leaves a song for the next to pick up on, passing a relay baton so that the music never stops, and Ansel never falls off the beat, hour after hour, sustaining this thrilled little groove until five in the morning, when suddenly it’s over and it’s back to New York and more producing and thinking about music and maybe, if his agent really thinks it’s worth his look, reading a script.

Ansel lives in an apartment with another DJ, an apartment he has no interest in moving out of, except that he knows he should eventually. Or rather, he knows he doesn’t need a roommate and that he should spend more money than he’s spending (he mentions the budget rent he’s paying like any young New Yorker with a good deal does) and that the only thing he’s really interested in buying is an apartment, not because he wants to move out, though, but because it’d be cool to have something paid off in the near future so that he can just kick around and not worry about the next big movie and just feel comfortable doing Broadway or whatever.

That thing about EDM being up here and everything else kinda hanging out in the middle—that’s maybe not fair to the acting, for which he’s not just famous but (it’s worth saying, finally) in possession of depthless potential. He is the uncommon talent who projects an additional half-decade of experience. Though Ansel considers his personality to be an alloy of his parents’, his maturity certainly owes credit to growing up in New York. This is hardly unique, but things just sort of happened to him early. The sort of stuff a young actor might experience only when he moves to L.A. to start auditioning—boring. He didn’t need college to gain exposure to those sorts of experiences. either: “College never really sounded that great to me. I just knew I never really wanted to go. I knew I’d keep myself busy with all the other things I wanted to do.” Life, he’s basically saying, began on his own terms. There was no need to go to college in order to gain exposure to lots of things he already felt he had access to. “I mean, if I want a drink at a movie party, I can just go up and ask for it, is the reality of the situation. Or if I want to go to a bar, I have my brother’s fucking ID. It’s not hard…Because that’s being from New York. You know, every kid has a fake ID.”

Being from New York, every kid did not have miniature figurines. You know—tiny collectible trees and warlocks and dragons and shit. (Check George R.R. Martin’s collection for a useful visual.) But this kid did. He joined online communities, went to meet-ups, traveled with old guys to a convention in Montreal, made friends he keeps today. (“I love bringing my different worlds together—the miniatures guys into the music world, especially.”) On the lower level of the apartment is a music studio with cardboard boxes doing the work of echo-reduction panels, a Ping-Pong table he and his roommate bought off Craigslist and spent a day transporting from Queens, and a table covered in miniature figurines. He’s mentioned them the first two times we’ve spoken. The first time, I thought he was bullshitting me; we were talking over the phone, and I was still associating him with the cocksure purse-and-squint of his movie roles and the occasional shirtlessness of his Instagram feed. It’s the sort of thing a composite of those two guys might say to throw someone off their scent.

The second time, though, in the form of an extensive monologue comparing his acceptance into the world of miniatures as a teenager to acceptance into the DJ world as a 20-year-old, I began to understand it as the bedrock of his confidence, the first of many creative things to which he devoted himself fully and gained admittance into the upper echelon.

Here in Brooklyn, face-to-face with them, I realize a couple things at once. First, that this is very real. And second, that Ansel—at least the Ansel you can know in a few hours—seems to locate his truest self down here amongst the studio equipment and the miniature figurines. That is, the basement of a nerdy kid who likes to make things. Though that’s probably not precise enough. More like:

“There was always this stigma, like, ‘Oh, girls will be turned off by that kind of thing.’ But it’s totally the opposite. Girls love it when you have some weird nerdy thing in your room. It makes you look less threatening, even though I’m, like, very threatening. I’m the most threatening guy ever.”

Painting miniature figurines, immersing oneself in a community of obsessives, earning their respect—it’s all that mattered for a while before there were other outlets. When it finally happened, when the gods of that world started responding to his messages because of the credibility he’d earned in competitions, that was the first best day of his life. And though things have transitioned into a place where new best days of his life will come rapidly—but maybe not necessarily in the places he expects or for the projects he assumes—that corollary to the Ansel theory of fame holds: Diversification is the key. It’s good to have lots of things going on—not just one, but two or three things that you’d be happy doing when the main squeeze doesn’t work out the way you believe it should. If ever there comes a point when the crowds don’t disperse when he asks, when the cameraman follows him and his date to the park in spite of his appeal to universal humanity, there is always a place to go for the opposite of that stuff—an inward turn in a Brooklyn basement to the place of infinite creation, home to tiny paintbrushes and a ceaseless beat.

-Source: GQ

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