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Ansel Elgort for Cold War pianist role

1 of 1 Ansel Elgort
Ansel Elgort

Ansel Elgort of The Fault in Our Stars will play Van Cliburn, the 23-year-old American pianist who became caught up in a Cold War incident during a piano competition in a new film.

Van Cliburn won first prize in the Tchaikovsky International Piano Competition in 1958, but his performance was marred by superpower pettiness at the height of the Cold War. 

The competition had been staged as a show of Russian cultural supremacy and the winner being a 23-year-old Texan, didn't wash well. President Khrushchev had to intervene before Cliburn got his due recognition.

However, the US media milked the win for its propaganda value, with Time magazine dubbing Cliburn 'The Texan Who Conquered Russia'. New York welcomed him home with a tickertape parade.

Cliburn basked in the relatively shortlived glory, after enduring an adolescence that he described as a "living hell". 

The young musician was intensely self-conscious because of his exceptional height.

Elgort is currently filming the sequel to sci-fi thriller Divergent with Shailene Woodley, who also starred in The Fault in Our Stars.

The fact that Elgort is already a pianist will help for the Van Cliburn movie.

The young actor trained at the LaGuardia High School of the Performing Arts in New York.

He also makes electronica  under the name Ansølo, and big name DJs like Steve Angello and Danny Howard have supported him.

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