Ansel Elgort Stands Behind Social Media Despite Recent Photo-Hacking Scandal
BuzzFeed - Latest 2014-09-07
The star of Men, Women & Children explains how the recent leak changed his online behavior, but here’s why he also thinks it’s important for celebrities to be active on social media.
Ansel Elgort at the premiere of Men, Women & Children during the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival at Ryerson Theatre on Sept. 6, 2014
Jason Kempin / Getty Images
TORONTO — The ensemble drama Men, Women & Children, which premiered Saturday at the Toronto International Film Festival, makes the case that there is an entire generation of young people who are disappearing online, whose lives would be far richer if they'd stop using social media nearly as much, if not altogether. But one of the film's own stars would seem to disagree.
"I think everyone should have social media — all young people, at least," said Ansel Elgort (The Fault in Our Stars) in an interview with BuzzFeed at the festival. "When I was 15, I got my first smart phone. It's a different world now."
But, like so many famous people of his generation, Elgort was also recently confronted with the dangers of the internet with the ongoing celebrity photo hacking scandal. While the victims have been rather uniformly female, that didn't keep Elgort from taking a necessary precaution.
"Oh yeah, I turned off my iCloud," he said, almost nonchalantly. "Like, I had taken some pictures, and deleted them, and I was looking in my cloud one day, and I was like, Every picture that I've taken is on here, even the ones I deleted. Like, all the shitty ones too. I was like, Hmm."
Ansel Elgort and Kaitlyn Dever in Men, Women & Children
Dale Robinette / Paramount
In the film, Elgort plays Tim, a high school student who gives up his status as his Texas suburb's big football star and loses himself spending endless hours playing the MMORPG Guild Wars after his mother abandons his family. He is pulled out of his funk by the relationship he builds with Brandy (Kaitlyn Dever, Justified), a similarly angst-riddled classmate whose own online life is policed with draconian zeal by her mother (Jennifer Garner). The film, co-written and directed by Reitman (Juno, Up in the Air), makes clear that Brandy's mom is in the wrong to be so militant about protecting her daughter from an unknown digital menace, but the movie's heart remains on the parental side of this particular generational divide. Social media like Tumblr and Facebook create far more isolation and misery for the characters than connection and warmth.
For 20-year-old Elgort, who has a robust presence on Twitter, Instagram, and Vine, life online can certainly reveal some dark human ugliness. But he regards social media as a powerful tool to combat that ugliness as well. "I remember the first time someone tweeted at me, 'You're a fag,' I tweeted about it," said Elgort. "Because I knew that's something everyone gets nowadays."