Ansel Elgort returns to theaters this weekend in “The Goldfinch,” his widest release since 2017’s “Baby Driver.” Excoriated by critics after its Toronto International Film Festival world premiere, “The Goldfinch” stars Elgort as the troubled Theodore Decker, whose mother’s death ripples through a coming-of-age that finds him on the art-theft circuit and tumbling into drug addiction. It’s based on Donna Tartt’s bestselling tome.
It’s Golden Globe nominee Elgort’s meatiest role in a while, and in a recent interview with The Huffington Post, Elgort revealed the roles he lost out on in order to get here. Probably the biggest loss was as Elvis Presley in Baz Luhrmann’s forthcoming biopic, set to open in October 2021 from Warner Bros.
“With Elvis, I think it just wasn’t right. Or so they thought. That’s fine. Baz has a vision,” Elgort said. He recalled thinking, “If I don’t get Elvis, that means I get to go do a play sooner,” which is one of his ambitions. “That wasn’t a bad audition. I think it was great. I was in the middle of filming ‘West Side Story,’ so it was a little hard. I watched a ton of footage and memorized some of his interviews just to get his speech pattern down and sang a bunch of his stuff.”
Elgort said it came down to the fact that “I wasn’t really prepared.” The role of Elvis Presley ultimately went to “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” star Austin Butler earlier this summer.
Elgort also added that none of his recent roles were handed to him on a silver platter, including in “The Goldfinch.” “I did a lot of auditions and made sure I did a good job in those auditions. Same with ‘West Side Story.’ I auditioned for months and months. I kept having to go in and prove to them that I could do it. The Han Solo thing, I remember having a terrible audition,” he said.
The actor previously revealed apprehension about being cast as Han Solo. The main reason? Elgort didn’t want to change his nom-de-plume as a DJ (something he does on the side): Ansolo. The role ultimately went to Alden Ehrenreich in director Ron Howard’s troubled 2018 film “Solo: A Star Wars Story.”
Meanwhile, with “The Goldfinch” press chores winding to an end, Elgort will return to the set of Steven Spielberg’s “West Side Story” remake, in which the 25-year-old actor stars as swoony heartthrob Tony (played by Richard Beymer in Jerome Robbins’ and Robert Wise’s 1961 Technicolor-Panavision masterpiece).