It’s easy to imagine most young actors spending their days fretting over their careers and their bodies. So it’s refreshing when Ansel Elgort enters the East Village coffee shop where we’ve agreed to meet and quickly verbalizes the most basic of young-people concerns: “I really can’t wait to get my own apartment,” he says. “I just graduated from high school and I’m only 18. I still live with my parents!” In Elgort’s rarefied case, his parents just happen to be Upper West Side denizens Arthur Elgort, the famed Vogue photographer, and opera director Grethe Holby. Elgort is exceptionally tall, absurdly good-looking, and has the kind of man-child movie-star looks that could read as either pouty teenager or broody twentysomething. These looks—coupled with an easy-going charisma—have served Elgort well in his short but rapidly accelerating career. Last year, while still a senior in high school, he made his Off-Broadway debut in Matt Charman’s Red Scare drama, Regrets. It was a boost that led to Elgort being cast in the ultimate young-person-with-problems movie: the Kimberly Peirce–directed remake of the cult horror film Carrie (1976) due out this fall. As Tommy Ross—the good guy whose good deed of taking the troubled telekinetic teen to the prom does not go unpunished—Elgort got to engage in the kind of tormented high-school dramatics he never actually experienced in his own life. “My high school experience was very different,” he says. “LaGuardia High School is a place of acceptance. You have every type of kid there, performing. The outcast girl would not have been made fun of in my high school.” The Carrie experience provided a variety of other important firsts for Elgort. In addition to it being his first time on a movie set, it also offered him a tantalizing taste of freedom. “It was actually my first time away from home,” he admits. “I got to live alone for three months in my own place in Toronto . . . and then I had to come home and move back in with my parents.” When he does finally leave the nest, it seems unlikely that Elgort will fly too far. As a born and raised New Yorker, the city remains his first love—the perfect incubator for an actor who spends his free time writing R&B songs on the piano, producing his own house music, and nerdishly crafting elaborate models of Hobbits in the back room of a downtown comic shop.
PHOTO: ANSEL ELGORT IN NEW YORK,JANUARY 2013. JACKET: BELSTAFF. T-SHIRT: ALTERNATIVE APPAREL. PANTS: GOODWOOD SPORTS & RACING BY BELSTAFF. NECKLACE: WERKSTATT: MÜNCHEN. BOOTS: JOHN VARVATOS. HAIR PRODUCTS: ORIBE,INCLUDING DRY TEXTURIZING SPRAY. HAIR: DIEGO DA SILVA/TIM HOWARD MANAGEMENT. MAKEUP: DANIEL MARTIN FOR NUXE MEN/THE WALL GROUP. SPECIAL THANKS: TEN TON STUDIO.