The Fault In Our Stars actor Ansel Elgort goes shirtless for Interview magazine. You went to LaGuardia High School, the Fame school. Did you always want to act? When I was nine, I started doing ballet. That’s when I knew that I was down to keep doing it. Eventually I came into acting and LaGuardia and straight play-acting turned into movies. I always did workshops.
I would be at theater camp, doing shows, or after-school programs. Then I was doing shows in school. It was nonstop. I was never not in a show from ages 11 until 18. It was a great creative atmosphere but also a professional kind of atmosphere. When I finally went into the professional world, I felt ready. I was prepared for work.
What was the movie or play that made you want to be an actor? Les Miz and Oklahoma! I was a big musical guy. Then I got into movies, watching old films my dad had, the old Elia Kazan movies, like On the Waterfront . It was those old movies, actually, that really got me started. Marlon Brando, Paul Newman—straight-up legends.
Do you have actor role models? Paul Newman. He could play a lot of different roles, even people who were villains, and no matter what, you love him. He was always such a relatable character—the smile, the blue eyes. Brando was just really real. James Dean was always a tortured soul.
It’s cool to look at the old guys. But when I’m looking at someone’s career, I’m not trying to be, ‘Oh, whose do I want?’ I don’t really want anyone else’s. I don’t just act, and that’s really important to me. I don’t want to just be an actor forever. Right now I’m really into music. I want to score movies. I could be an actor first, but I don’t only want to be an actor.
Shailene Woodley: ‘I want to wake up every single day and be the best version of me. A lot of that has to do with Fault and meeting these 16- or 18-year-olds who had a week to live or passed away while we were filming. Doing that film taught me that there is no room for fear. Zero.’
There is just no way to justify life. Why am I here making this couple-million-dollar movie and eating a nice meal with [my costar] Laura Dern, and at the table right next to us is a 16-year-old boy with a tumor growing out of his head?
Are we going to spend life wallowing, or are we going to be stoked and laugh? We have no idea [when we will die], so it is just about living life to the fullest. Laughing feels so good. I tell you, all my older friends laugh a lot and have no wrinkles. That is the secret to good skin, I swear. Everyone has this big thing about chemicals and facials, but it is just laughter.’