Newcomer Ansel Elgort is making his leading man debut as a cancer patient in the big-screen adaptation of John Green's beloved YA novel The Fault in Our Stars. The actor is earning buzz for his emotional performance and already has a bevy of fans idolizing him.
"It's a dream come true," Elgort, 20, tells PEOPLE about his first starring role. "I'm doing what I want to be doing."
Elgort, who played Shailene Woodley's brother, Caleb Prior, in Divergent earlier this year, reunites with the actress as they play lovers battling cancer. When he first read The Fault in Our Stars, he felt an instant connection with his character, Augustus Waters.
"I was really touched by it and I cried," he says. "I can relate to Augustus. I can be overly confident at times, but with someone who I'm very close to, like with my mother, I will break down. In real life, people will find out that I'm not actually that confident and that I'm a real guy underneath it all."
The New York City native, who was named after photographer Ansel Adams, got his start doing ballet. At the age of 9, he performed in The Nutcracker at Lincoln Center. He then trained as a tap dancer and a singer and later enrolled at the famed LaGuardia High School to study acting. He also has been playing the piano his entire life. "I wanted to be a lot of things in my life," he says, laughing.
When he's not making movies, Elgort composes electronic house music and is a DJ under the name Ansolo. He has an original record called Unite, which was released in April. His other passion is painting on rocks and making miniature figurines. "I'm kind of like [Steve Carell's] character from The 40-Year-Old Virgin.
As for his loyal fans, who call themselves Anselites, "It's so weird!" he says. "When girls scream my name and start crying, I blush like crazy."
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