The film will tell the story of the 23-year-old pianist who came out of nowhere to win the Tchaikovsky International Piano Competition in Moscow in 1958, as the U.S. was deep in the Cold War with the USSR. Cliburn’s performance won over the judges, but he was only awarded the prize after President Khruschev was called in to intervene.
Fresh from his portrayal of teenager Augustus ‘Gus’ Waters, a boy who finds love in a cancer support group, Ansel Elgort will play the title role in a Cold War biopic based on the life of pianist Van Cliburn.
As well as his acting credits, Elgort is also a keen musician – and already knows how to play the piano. He trained at the LaGuardia High School of the Performing Arts in New York, and DJs under the stage name Ansølo.
Wyck Godfrey and Marty Bowen, who worked with Elgort on The Fault In Our Stars, will produce the film along with Daniel Pinchot. The release date is yet to be announced.