Ansel Elgort to play piano prodigy Van Cliburn

  • Bang Showbiz
  • 24 June 2014
Ansel Elgort

Ansel Elgort

Ansel Elgort will star as Tchaikovsky International Piano Competition winner Van Cliburn in a new Cold War drama

Ansel Elgort has signed on to play a piano prodigy in 'Van Cliburn'.

The rising star - who has made a name for himself with roles in 'The Fault In Our Stars' and 'Divergent' this year - has landed the titular role in the biopic based on Howard Reich's book about the real life 23-year-old pianist who emerged from nowhere in 1958 to win the Tchaikovsky International Piano Competition in Moscow.

Set in the middle of the Cold War nuclear arms race, the film will explore how the musical contest was organised by the USSR as a way to lord the country's superiority over America in the wake of Sputnik's launch.

Van Cliburn's unorthodox musical style eventually won over the judges for both the superpowers, despite attempts to knock him from the competition. The pianist, who stopped performing in 1978, died last year from bone cancer.

Deadline has also revealed that Andrew Stern is adapting the script, but no director is yet attached.

Wyck Godfrey and Marty Bowen, who worked with Elgort on 'The Fault In Our Stars', are producing with Ari Daniel Pinchot and Robert M. Johnson acting as executive producer.

Elgort, 20, is a keen pianist himself and a graduate of LaGuardia High School of the Performing Arts, the school 'Fame' is based on.


  • 2 stars
  • 2014
  • US
  • 2h 19min
  • 12A
  • Directed by: Neil Burger
  • Cast: Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Kate Winslet

In a dystopian future where people are assigned to different factions of society based on their talents, Tris (Woodley) discovers that she's dangerously multi-talented. The story seems over-familiar, director Burger takes too long to set things up and despite appealing performances from Woodley and James, there's little…

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