The film is based on the Howard Reich book on the famed musician, with Elgort playing the pianist in 1958, the year that the Tchaikovsky International Piano Competition was launched in Moscow.
The Texas-born savant wowed audiences during the Cold War when America's tensions with Russia ran high. Van Cliburn was credited with easing that strain and went on to become one of the most in-demand performers of all time, starting his own International Piano Competition in his home state in 1962. Cliburn died in February last year.
Elgort comes from a ballet performance background but he also, indeed, plays piano. He most recently appeared as Augustus Waters in "The Fault In Our Stars," which paired him back up with Shailene Woodley, who was also his co-star in "Divergent." He also recently wrapped shooting Jason Reitman’s "Men, Women & Children" with Adam Sandler, and performs and produces as a dance music DJ.
Andrew Stern wrote "Van Cliburn," which is being produced by Wyck Godfrey and Marty Bowen, with Ari Daniel Pinchot and Robert M. Johnson executive producing.