WEIRDLAND: Ansel Elgort and Miles Teller: Romantic Coolness

Friday, August 25, 2017

Ansel Elgort and Miles Teller: Romantic Coolness

Baby’s need to insulate himself at all times through music is given some narrative justification (he has tinnitus stemming from a car accident in childhood) but it’s also a metaphorical condition. Socially passive and perpetually plugged-in, he’s easily pegged as a Millennial stand-in; in a world of adult role models who are either corrupt (Doc), grotesque (Jon Hamm, Jamie Foxx, and Eiza Gonzalez as criminal confederates), or else benevolently helpless (CJ Jones as Baby’s foster father), Baby’s refusal to engage is akin to a state of grace.

The guiding formal conceit of Baby Driver is that its hero, Baby (Ansel Elgort), an ace getaway driver indebted to Doc, a vicious Atlanta crime boss (Kevin Spacey), uses pop music to insulate himself from the reality of his criminal activities. Each time he takes an assignment, he makes a new iPod playlist whose contents serve simultaneously as rhythmic inspiration and a means of moral and intellectual detachment—he puts himself in a trance. Baby marks the time between his crew entering the bank they plan to rob and their emergence with satchels full of money by rocking out to the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion’s “Bellbottoms;” even with the car in park, there’s a delirious sense of movement timed to the sweep of windshield wipers. The song’s stop-start propulsion carries Baby through the ensuing high-speed chase, beautifully assembled; working in bold, primary colors and cutting purposefully on movement—not only within the frame but also in time to the music—Wright mounts an action-cinema ballet. He then extends the conceit through a credit sequence that features Elgort traipsing blithely through downtown Atlanta, lost in a headphone reverie.

That the only person to really coax him out of his shell is pretty diner waitress Deborah (Lily James) is in keeping with the story’s fairy-tale arc, but it also means that Wright is swapping out one wish-fulfillment scenario for another. Baby’s dawning realization that he’s not only being exploited but also actively participating in terrible, violent crimes, cues us for an ambivalence that never quite arrives. Instead, the film buys fully into the male fantasy of an outcast inspired and finally redeemed by the love of a cute, steadfast girl whose defining trait is her interest and patience in his traumatic backstory.

Elgort's performance for the entire movie is a kind of slightly outré cuteness, as it was in Scott Pilgrim, which kidded indie-rock navel-gazing and managed to make it seem like its protagonist’s self-actualization came from somewhere inside him (expressed through the video-game image of Michael Cera pulling a sword out from his own chest cavity). The hyperbolic but totally bloodless carnage in Scott Pilgrim suited the low-stakes solipsism of its downtown Toronto milieu. Baby Driver’s gradual and unsettling drift into brutal urban violence gives the impression that Wright is, for the first time in his career, truly out of control, or else oblivious to the signals he’s giving off. And Baby’s dawning realization that his actions actually have consequences that can’t just be drowned out doesn’t mean much when the script doesn’t ever really have him get his hands dirty. A crime-doesn’t-pay coda on the way to total, unsullied redemption, embodied by a woman who’s just happy to ride shotgun. —Adam Nayman (Cineaste Magazine, Vol. XLII, No. 4)

Shailene Woodley, Ansel Elgort and Miles Teller are the best thing about the Divergent saga. The few scenes in which the trio appear are far and away the films’ best; they share a snappy chemistry that feels more authentic and intimate than Woodley’s scenes with Theo James, who plays her boyfriend, Four. Teller’s smarmily charming act works here, particularly because it’s diluted with some cutting humor. And Elgort's reaction shots, even when he’s in the background, show the work of a serious, studious actor. Shailene Woodley had quite a lot to say about her co-stars and how much Miles Teller and Ansel Elgort are actually like their Insurgent characters in real life in an interview with Cosmopolitan. While Ansel Elgort is not much like his character Caleb, Shailene said that Miles Teller "doesn't have that rude, misogynistic streak that Peter encompasses, but he does have the humor." Elgort and Teller coincided again working for the Prada’s New Men Fashion Campaign, shot by Craig McDean in 2015. Both were listed as part of the Most Underappreciated Movie Acting Performances in 2014 by Wesley Morris (Grantland): "Miles Teller is a persuasively charismatic actor—the chilling, exhilarating mix of enraged arrogance and naked want. What you get from Teller in Whiplash is that music isn’t a way of life for Andrew Neiman. It is life. Teller gives you all the lacerating shrapnel and scars... Elgort is doing apex work in other people’s nadirs. He’s got a gawky goodness in The Fault in Our Stars." Source:

"Supposedly Shailene dominated the other guys in the audition, and I was the only guy able to dominate her a little bit," Elgort said: "the main reason I read the book is that I knew Shailene would ask me whether I read it. And there's no way I could lie to her face." Director Josh Boone says Elgort possesses an almost "magical purity," while author John Green puts it more plainly: "A lot of guys that came in knew how to play cool Gus," Green says, "but very few of them knew how to be fragile while still being Augustus Waters." Elgort admits that he wasn't entirely sure that he could bring alive the character's more desperate moments. But he succeeded, likening it to an out-of-body experience. "It was three hours of my life just losing it," Elgort says, tearing up a bit at the memory. "I felt like a little baby again. I couldn't stop crying, even in between takes. And it was so rewarding. At that point, it wasn't acting any more. It was just real." Source:

Elgort remembering how wrong he was about finding Ms Right according to fixed preconceptions: “Someone once told me we have in our minds who we want, and often those aren’t the people we actually want. Like once there was a girl I thought was perfect for me — I had every box checked with her. But I just didn’t feel anything.” Elgort's idea of a fun date: "Going on a long walk in Central Park and then taking the subway downtown and going out to eat and ordering oysters. After that, you walk around again and talk. It’s like you’re living in a movie." In an interview with GQ magazine (December 2014), Elgort said bluntly: “I don't really care that some trashy girl, like, now all of the sudden wants to fuck me. That's not really that interesting to me.”

Finding Violetta Komyshan gave solace to his hectic lifestyle: "If you can find a girl who you can go to an EDM concert with, have a conversation with, who will sit on the couch and watch you play GTA for three hours and then you go to bed and have amazing sex? That should be your girlfriend." These kind of half-jokey, spontaneous remarks brought the ire of Jezebel, Buzzfeed and other predominantly female-dominated social networks, although not so harshly compared to what Miles Teller was inflicted by those fan communities after his infamous Esquire (2015) interview.

In a heated PC debate, many voices claimed offense for real or imagined sexism. Teller and Elgort's irony was apparently lost on some humorless readers. In an era where most young actors are taught not to label their sexual orientation as a gesture of respect towards the gay community, Teller and Elgort, however, happily identified themselves as heterosexual, inciting backlash in form of comments such as "they should form their own celebrity anti-gay group. Why is it so important that they announce to the world they aren't gay?" Other anonymous posters inadvertently objectified both actors, alluding about Elgort: "I know a girl he slept with a few times. She's a size queen, so I wouldn't be surprised if it's a big dick." Even Shailene Woodley was not beyond the limits. An ONTD member wrote, outraged: "Miles, Shailene, and now an Ansel post, all in a row? [They are] the unholy trinity."

Evidently, Elgort's comments were mostly tongue in cheek as in the GQ interview: “Girls love it when you have some weird nerdy thing in your room. It makes you look less threatening, even though I'm, like, very threatening. I'm the most threatening guy ever.” Elgort's nerdy sensibility and suave magnetism made his fanbase keep growing (reaching over 3 million Twitter followers). Elgort's dual passion for cinema/pop music has touched a nerve. In an interview for Details magazine, Elgort examined his copy of Pin Ups, David Bowie's 1973 album of covers, sizing up Ziggy Stardust: "This guy's eternal," Elgort said. "I wonder who from today will be eternal?"

After four years of dating, the “Whiplash” actor and his model girlfriend Keleigh Sperry are engaged. Teller popped the question over the weekend, while the two were vacationing in South Africa on safari. Sperry’s sister, Christie Sperry York, was the first to break the news, sharing a handful of photos from the couple’s travels on her Instagram page. You’ve got the standard ring shot, and another where Teller sweeps Sperry off her feet. "They stayed in the beautiful Metsi Presidential Suite," a source adds, noting that the couple "enjoyed delicious meals at their leisure and incredible game drives with the head ranger John D. Ditsele."

“Can’t believe the last Sperry girl is engaged! Love both of you guys to pieces and so incredibly happy for this new chapter in your love story!” York captioned the post. “Now come home so we can celebrate.” Keleigh's sister shared snaps of the duo posing together in Africa, including pictures of the ring as well as one shot of the beauty holding a rose with a small note. The paper had: 'KS & MT 5/11/13 - 8/20/2017' - which seemingly means May 11, 2013 is the first time they met or perhaps their first date. Based on the note, the lovebirds have been together for four years and three months. Source:

In a time when many couples meet via dating apps, Miles Teller is proud to have met his fiancée in a more traditional manner. "I like human interaction. Tinder puts all of these girls in front of you, so you don't have to go to a bar and you don't have to have the balls to ask a girl for her number. Tinder expedites everything. Here's four pictures. If you want 'em, swipe to the right. Oh she said yes, too. Now you guys are texting each other and you could be hanging out within an hour...," The Spectacular Now star told ELLE. "But it's not something that I'm like, 'Oh god, they're having so much fun.'" Marriage is important to Teller, whose grandparents have been married for over 50 years. "Respect the person you're with. My philosophy is, if I'm not happier when I'm with you, then there's no reason for me to be with you," the actor told ELLE in 2014. Source:

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