Ansel Elgort, who played Augustus in The Fault In Our Stars and Caleb in Divergent, is branching out from YA-lit movie adaptations: Deadline reports that Elgort has been tapped to play the title role in an upcoming biopic about late classical pianist Van Cliburn.
Harvey Lavan “Van” Cliburn was a lanky 23-year-old Texan when he won the first International Tchiakovsky Piano Competition in 1958, held in Moscow. Still in the early years of the Cold War, the competition took place during a time of international tension—six months after the U.S.S.R. launched the Sputnik satellite, and seven months before Khrushchev demanded that Western forces withdraw from West Germany. Van Cliburn’s win earned him both Soviet and U.S. fans, and was heralded as a kind of Cold War bridge, with Time magazine giving him a cover showcasing Van Cliburn’s bouffant hair and a banner proclaiming, “The Texan who conquered Russia.”
The film will be based on the Howard Reich book Van Cliburn, and although no director has been named, Andrew Stern (Disconnect) will write the screenplay. Elgort, who attended LaGuardia High School Of The Performing Arts, has trained both as a dancer and pianist.