LOS ANGELES, June 23 (UPI) -- Ansel Elgort has landed the title role in Van Cliburn.
The film is based on the Howard Reich biography of the same name, and stars the 20-year-old Fault in Our Stars actor as pianist Van Cliburn. Fault producers Wyck Godfrey and Marty Bowen will produce the movie with Robert M. Johnson as executive producer and Andrew Stern as screenwriter.
Cliburn was born in Shreveport, La., in 1934, and attended the Juilliard School for piano at age 17. He came to fame at age 23 when he won the first quadrennial International Tchaikovsky Piano Competition in Moscow during the height of the Cold War in 1958. The competition was meant to demonstrate Soviet cultural superiority, but Cliburn's renditions of Tchaikovsky's "Piano Concerto No. 1" and Rachmaninoff's "Piano Concerto No. 3" blew the judges away and earned him an eight-minute standing ovation.
The pianist signed an exclusive record deal with RCA Victor, and would perform for royalty, heads of state and U.S. presidents in subsequent years. He enjoyed untold fame and success for a classical musician, but retreated from public life in 1978. Cliburn died of bone cancer in February 2013.
Elgort will next appear in Men, Women and Children, and will reprise his Divergent role as Caleb in Insurgent in 2015.