Ansel Elgort is classic in black and white for the latest edition of the Just Jared Spotlight photo series.
The 20-year-old actor stars as Caleb Prior in the new movie Divergent, which hits theaters with late night previews TONIGHT (March 20) and will be everywhere this weekend.
Ansel made his film debut just last year in the remake of Carrie and will next be seen as the male lead in the highly anticipated book-to-screen adaptation The Fault in Our Stars opposite his Divergent co-star Shailene Woodley.
In our interview with Ansel, he told us about working on Divergent, his thoughts on the star-studded cast, going to school for ballet, getting a record deal, and starring alongside Adam Sandler in the upcoming movie Men, Woman & Children.
Click inside for our complete exclusive interview with Ansel Elgort…
Ansel Elgort Interview – JustJared.com Exclusive
Just Jared: What was your most memorable scene to shoot on Divergent?
Ansel Elgort: Chasing after the train when we escape from Dauntless – after they mess up Jeanine (Kate Winslet). It was my first time doing some action!
JJ: What was your favorite prop from set?
AE: They designed these cool new futuristic guns. I mean, the whole set, from costumes to props and everything, they made all this new stuff.
JJ: What was your favorite off screen moment?
AE: We went to a nice dinner with pretty much everyone including Maggie Q. After that, we the whole cast got pretty wild dancing at some random place. Then we went to some jazz bar. Also, I spent a lot of time with Tony Goldwyn, and the last three days, he was on set before he wrapped, we went to dinner like three days in a row.
JJ: Describe your castmates in one word. Shailene Woodley.
AE: First thing that comes to my mind is “cool” but she’s more than that.
JJ: Miles Teller.
JJ: Theo James.
JJ: Kate Winslet.
JJ: Jai Courtney.
AE: Bad-ass. Again!
JJ: Zoe Kravitz.
JJ: Maggie Q.
AE: Cute. Again!
JJ: Ashley Judd.
JJ: Tony Goldwyn.
JJ: You went to the School of American Ballet. Could you tell us about your ballet experience?
AE: I went from age nine to fourteen – for five years. I never really was good at dancing too much. I was good at dancing, but I never was really good at ballet. But what that did for me was teach me about performing, and it made me aware of it and how much I wanted to do it. When I was nine, I did my first show ever was The Nutcracker, at Lincoln Center. And being at School of American Ballet, they put me in the show my first year, which was in front of three thousand people. That was sort of like, “This is what I want to do.”
JJ: Did you pursue other kinds of dancing after ballet?
AE: Yeah, then I did tap, jazz, hip hop, I just danced in every way I could. And then I got into musical theater, singing and dancing. I went to theater camp for musical theater. I did A LOT of musical theater. And then I got into acting at age 14 and I pretty much realized I wanted to just act. But I want to do everything. You know I do my music too. I want to do musical theater, I want to do Broadway plays, I want to tour as Ansolo, I want to score movies. There’s nothing really that I don’t want to do as an artist. Ideally, when I get older, a funny goal I’ve set for myself, is to win an Oscar, a Grammy, an Emmy, a Tony, everything.
JJ: You recently got signed to a record label as Ansolo?
AE: We had two offers. There’s one bigger dance music label and there’s a smaller one. And the smaller one is Tom Staar’s label. Tom Staar is a UK DJ – someone who is really highly respected in his country. I just decided to go with him because he loved my record, he already started supporting it and played it on his radio show and in his club sets. It’s called Unite. Now we have three other songs that are in the pipeline. We’re trying to get a big vocalist for it. And I’m signed with CAA for music too, so that helps so much. I can get my music to big vocalists who can feature on a song. It’s surreal.
JJ: I may or may not have talked to Kaitlyn [Dever] before playing Missy Elliott‘s “Work It” song during your photo shoot. Is there a story behind that special song?
AE: Me and Kaitlyn D were on the set of Men, Women & Children. Every time she would play it on her iPhone, it was her ringtone. And then she would start playing it on her iPhone and I would get on the toes of my shoes and walk around. That’s the dancing coming back in. It was so funny.
JJ: I heard that Billy Madison is one of your favorite movies, and you got to work with Adam Sandler on Men, Women & Children, what was that experience like?
AE: I played basketball with Adam Sandler for like an hour, just one on one. He beat me because he’s good, he plays every day. We played one on one and I went up 4-0, and then I kind of wanted to let him back in, I didn’t want to kill him. I thought I was going to kill him. And I kind of let him back in the game and all of a sudden (snaps finger) he went off and hit a bunch of shots in a row, and he won. That was surreal, but I didn’t tell him about that I was obsessed with Billy Madison.
JJ: Do you have a story about finding a basketball court during filming of Men, Women & Children?
AE: It was me, Timmy [Chalamet], Will Peltz, and all three of us are New York boys. You would think you could Google Maps “basketball court”, walk there, and it’s going to be fine. We walked to one 20 minutes away. We start walking toward the basketball court and the area gets sketchier and sketchier. At the entrance, there was a guy wearing a cowboy hat and boots, yelling in Spanish with a bottle of Jack Daniels in his hand. It was a little scary at first but then they started to like us and we had a fun time.
JJ: Any plans for your upcoming 20th birthday?
AE: I turn twenty, yeah. I don’t know. I think I might be on the road doing Divergent press.
JJ: Maybe something with the Divergent cast?
AE: Yeah, maybe. Or if not, I’ll try to get home. I don’t know. I’m not that big into celebrating my birthday. I feel like there’s so much pressure, you know? I’d rather just have a quiet night with my best friend or something.