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Thursday, March 20, 2014

Ansel Elgort’s Star Rises With ‘Divergent’ Movie

Actor Ansel Elgort was recently named "The Next Big Thing" by the Hollywood Reporter and has roles in two of this year's most highly anticipated movies, "Divergent" and "The Fault In Our Stars." (Melissa Kuypers/NPR)

Actor Ansel Elgort was recently named “The Next Big Thing” by the Hollywood Reporter and has roles in two of this year’s most highly anticipated movies, “Divergent” and “The Fault in Our Stars.” (Melissa Kuypers/NPR)

Ansel Elgort was named “the next big thing” by this week’s Hollywood Reporter. The 20-year old-actor has two highly anticipated films coming out in the next few months.

Opening tonight in theaters, “Divergent” is based on the first book in Veronica Roth’s best-selling trilogy.

Elgort's character in "Divergent," Caleb, is pictured here with lead actress Shailene Woodley, who plays his sister, Beatrice. (divergentthemovie.com)

Elgort’s character in “Divergent,” Caleb, is pictured here with lead actress Shailene Woodley, who plays his sister, Beatrice. (divergentthemovie.com)

Then in June, Elgort stars as Augustus a movie adaptation of a young adult bestseller, “The Fault in Our Stars,” which is based on John Green’s book.

Elgort performs opposite actress Shailene Woodley in both films. He plays her brother in “Divergent” and her boyfriend in “The Fault in Our Stars.”

“Hopefully people go to the movies and they don’t even notice — or if they do, then they forget it very quickly. I mean, I know I did and I’m even the guy,” he says.

He joins Here & Now’s Robin Young to discuss his latest films and his rising star in Hollywood.

Interview Highlights: Ansel Elgort

On being forced to choose a “faction” in this fictional society

Ansel Elgort is pictured in a scene from "Divergent." (Jaap Buitendijk/Summit Entertainment)

Ansel Elgort is pictured in a scene from “Divergent.” (Jaap Buitendijk/Summit Entertainment)

“People aren’t meant to be pigeonholed into personality groups or these factions, and that’s why this world doesn’t work, and that’s what sets the conflict, and that’s what makes it an interesting story. But also, people enjoy these dystopian stories for a reason, because you have a heroine, like Beatrice, and she can make a difference, which in modern-day society, young people especially, or anyone, you know, can’t make that big of a difference. It’s hard to change a lot, so people watch these dystopian stories, and it’s inspiring and it’s fun to watch.”

On how his character evolves over the course of the trilogy

“You have that challenge within just, you know, even one story. But when you have many stories, it’s even more challenging, but it’s also helpful, because you do know where the guy’s going, so you can piece together, ‘Okay, this is the kind of guy who would go there, so that makes him this kind of guy.’ But at the same time, people don’t always — you don’t know where you’re gonna go in a month … You have to take it into account, but you don’t live by it. I don’t think Caleb knows — he really becomes an antagonist in the second story. I don’t think that he knows he’s gonna do that quite yet, especially — some great events happen in the first story, and I think he’s just in a lot of shock and he doesn’t know where he’s gonna go, and once the dust clears, maybe he starts to make those decisions.”

On the differences between his roles in “Divergent” and “The Fault in Our Stars”

Ansel Elgort and Shailene Woodley are pictured in a still from the film "The Fault in Our Stars." (thefaultinourstarsmovie.com)

Ansel Elgort and Shailene Woodley are pictured in a still from the film “The Fault in Our Stars.” (thefaultinourstarsmovie.com)

“They’re really such different people. The world is different, the characters are so different, they look different, they feel different, they talk differently. So, hopefully people go to the movies and don’t even notice, or if they do, then they forget about very quickly. I mean, I know I did, and I’m even the guy. I view Caleb and Augustus the way I brought them to life in the characters I see on screen: as two totally different people. Luckily, Shailene is, I think, she’s probably the best young actress right now around, so, you know, it was never hard with me saying, ‘Oh, this is Beatrice.’ No, it was Hazel Grace, you know?”

On his skyrocketing career

“It’s amazing. You know, just in terms of the opportunity I’ve gotten is amazing. I consider myself super, super, super lucky. But then, you never know how that can pan out, so for these opportunities to fall in my lap, and for me to be able to execute on them, I’m super lucky.”

Trailer: 'The Fault in Our Stars'

Trailer: 'Divergent'

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