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Ansel Elgort Describes the Impact ‘Fault in Our Stars’ Had on His Career: ‘I Got Lucky’

The 2013 remake of “Carrie” marked a number of firsts for Ansel Elgort. It was his movie debut, after having survived seven auditions to play Chloë Grace Moretz’s unlucky prom date. “They said they wanted someone like Alex Pettyfer for the role,” he says. “Somehow I ended up getting it.”

Mark Williams & Sara Hirakawa for Variety

The Toronto shoot was the first time Elgort lived away from home, an experience that resembled college. “They gave me a little apartment. I got to go grocery shopping myself.” And he learned the secret language of a movie set. “People talking about craft, I thought they were talking about mac and cheese,” he says. “I didn’t know any of the terms.”

Now 22, Elgort could graduate with a diploma in movie stardom. In the last three years, he has appeared in a studio franchise (“Divergent”) and the drama “Men, Women & Children,” directed by Jason Reitman. But the movie that changed the trajectory of his career was 2014’s “The Fault in Our Stars,” a weepy love story about two cancer- stricken teens that grossed $307 million in collective bawling sessions around the world. Elgort even cried the first time he saw the movie, and again at the premiere. “We also cried a lot while we were making it,” he notes.

Overnight, studios around town started to see Elgort as a sensitive leading man. “The Fault in Our Stars” was the rare commercial hit anchored by layered performances, uncommon for an industry run by comic-book reboots.

“Young actors never get that opportunity,” Elgort says. “Otherwise my big commercial success would have been me being … ‘Oh, you’re the brother in “Divergent,” right?’ There’s like no weight behind that character. I got lucky. And now a studio and a director will be able to say, ‘We can finance a movie with you in it and also you’ll do a good job.’”

Mark Williams & Sara Hirakawa for Variety

Among his upcoming projects are the drama “Billionaire Boys Club,” the comedy “Baby Driver,” and the thriller “Jonathan,” in which he’ll portray twins. It might be an apt role, because Elgort is also playing dual parts in his career: He not only acts but also performs as DJ Ansolo, and recently launched his first single, “Home Alone.”

Growing up in Manhattan, Elgort wanted to be a Broadway musical star. His family would sing along to soundtracks on car trips, and he still harbors dreams of performing on Broadway. But for now, he likes the creative energy of writing and producing his own songs, and he can do that between breaks on a movie set. ­

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