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Ansel Elgort signs on to play pianist Van Cliburn

Ansel Elgort will play American piano prodigy Van Cliburn
Photo by Rick Diamond

Ansel Elgort has been cast to play the title role in Van Cliburn.

The exclusive news brought by Deadline reports that The Fault In Our Stars actor has signed on to play Cliburn, the Texan piano prodigy who went on to win the Tchaikovsky International Piano Competition in Moscow, which is credited for bridging the Cold War gap.

Van Cliburn tore down cultural barriers years ahead of glasnost and perestroika, transcending politics by demonstrating the universality of classical music. Cliburn, who began to play the piano at the age of three, continued to play in several cities in the Soviet Union after his successful win at the Tchaikovsky International Piano Competition. He toured the Soviet Union between 1960 and 1972.

Cliburn performed for Mikhail Gorbachev with an invitation from President Ronald Reagan in 1987, went on to receive many honorary doctorate degrees, provided scholarships for many schools including Julliard, his alma mater.

Van Cliburn is based on the novel by Howard Reich, and is being penned by Andrew Stern. Wyck Godfrey and Marty Bowen of Temple Hill will produce the film alongside Crystal City Entertainment.

Godfrey and Bowen previously worked with Elgort on The Fault In Our Stars.

Elgort is best known for his roles as Tommy Ross in the Carrie (2013) remake, Caleb Prior in Veronica Roth’s dystopian film adaptation of Divergent (2014), and most recently as Augustus “Gus” Waters in John Green’s fan favorite adaptation of The Fault In Our Stars (2014), both alongside co-star Shailene Woodley.

He can be seen next in Jason Reitman’s comedy-drama Men, Women & Children alongside Adam Sandler, Emma Thompson, Jennifer Garner, Rosemarie DeWitt and Judy Greer, and reprises his role as Caleb in Insurgent, the sequel to Roth’s Divergent, which is currently in production.

Elgort, who is also a music producer and dance DJ under the name of Ansolo, will play the piano himself.

Elgort is repped by CAA and Brookside Artist Management’s Emily Gerson Saines.

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