Ansel Elgort plays the heartthrob at the centre of the year’s biggest movie weepie but he’s more than just eye candy for the one million plus twitter fans who follow his every move and the throng of young teens who have greeted him at every public event he has made in the UK.
He plays Augustus opposite Shailene Woodley’s Hazel Grace in The Fault In Our Stars which has been a box office sensation in the US and looks set for similar success here.
The film’s based on John Green’s best-selling novel about eighteen-year-old Hazel Grace who has metastatic thyroid cancer and Augustus who has osteosarcoma.
‘It’s about two people who become best friends and they have sex because they love each other on a friendship level’, he said, adding bluntly, ‘They don’t just have sex’.
Ansel, 20, said that some adults have been patronising about such a union.
‘They go, “This isn’t the real thing.When you get older you’ll know what love is”. But just because you’re younger it doesn’t mean you can’t have a meaningful relationship.’
There’s also the usual condescending comments from some who, Ansel told me, hint that people with illnesses aren’t as important as well people. ‘There’s sometimes this wall and there shouldn’t be. It happens in movies and in life.’
This particular film though is enormously moving and it doesn’t hurt that Ansel and Shailene burn up the screen.
Ansel’s career has been launched in pretty spectacular style.
He and Shailene played siblings in Divergent before appearing in The Fault In Our Stars and he hopped back to the U.S. to film Insurgent, the second of four instalments.
But he doesn’t just belong to the big screen. He studied ballet and most other forms of dance, from tap to hip-hop body popping. He has been in an off-Broadway play and he performed in musicals at high school.
He plays piano, guitar and composes electronic dance music (EDM) in his Brooklyn apartment. He’s still close to his photographer father and dramatist mother but they live way over on New York’s Upper West Side.
As much as he loves acting he’s just as passionate about his music.
‘I sit on my bed with my Apple computer and compose’, he told me when we lunched at the newly opened Ham Yard Hotel in the Piccadilly end of Soho.
He has several of his compositions on SoundCloud and they’re all EDM. He spends weeks creating a score and building it up and often hires people to add vocals.
‘You don’t have to leave your bedroom or your apartment. You load up your computer with the right programmes and you make music. It’s the new way. This is how probably in the Seventies and Eighties every kid had a guitar trying to be a rock star. Now every kid has a computer,’ he explained.
I like to compose and play basketball, says Hollywood’s newest young talent, Fault In Our Stars’ Ansel Elgort