Getting into the mindset. Ansel Elgort knew he needed to change the way he was thinking ahead of taking on the role of Theo Decker in The Goldfinch, the film adaptation of Donna Tartt‘s famous 2013 novel.
The story follows Theo, a young man who lost his mother at 13 in a bombing at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. After the incident, he stole “The Goldfinch” painting and has carried it with him ever since. As an adult, he continues to relive the tragedy while trying to venture through life without his family and search for happiness and love.
“What I love about the story is how it engages both the heart and the mind. You quickly connect with Theo,” Elgort, 25, says in the latest issue of Us Weekly. “You care what happens to him, and you want to follow him through all the twists and turns of this epic journey that is his life.”
In order for the DJ to connect to the role, he bonded with director John Crowley to try to really get inside Theo’s psyche.
“Theo has moments of fun and lightness but he is not a lighthearted person,” the actor tells Us. “He’s carrying a lot of weight and trauma, and he’s been living a lie for a long time. He’s a tortured soul.”
In order to tap into that, the Baby Driver star spent a lot of time by himself in Amsterdam.
“I spent days alone wandering the streets in the cold,” Elgort reveals. “I spoke to no one, [in order] to feel the isolation and disconnection Theo was feeling while he was there.”
For more, pick up the latest issue of Us Weekly, on newsstands now.
The Goldfinch is in theaters Friday, September 13.