Ansel Elgort has been tapped to play young president John F. Kennedy in Mayday 109, a biopic about JFK’s time as a Navy captain during World War II. The news comes just as the actor prepares to open the Edgar Wright-directed action flick Baby Driver, in which he stars as the titular getaway driver, Baby.
Though Elgort has been active in the industry, his previous roles have been more geared toward young adult audiences: he played Caleb Prior in all three of the Divergent films, and starred alongside Shailene Woodley in 2014 romantic drama The Fault In Our Stars (largely considered his breakout turn). But Baby Driver will see him transition to features with an even broader appeal, and it seems he'll be keeping up that momentum.
As reported by Deadline, Mayday 109 focuses on Kennedy's real-life exploits as the captain of a patrol torpedo boat that was attacked and sunk by a convoy of Japanese destroyers in August 1943. The ensuing aftermath led to Kennedy's involvement in one of the most dramatic rescues in Naval history. Here's what producer Basil Iwanyk had to say, per Deadline:
“We could not be more excited about Ansel coming aboard. Not only is he a tremendous actor, he embodies the charisma, athleticism and looks of a young JFK. We love that this is not a biopic nor a film about politics. This is simply a riveting and unbelievable tale that very few people know – about a young man who was a hero long before becoming the iconic 35th President of the United States. With Ansel, we’ve found our perfect JFK.”
Samuel Franco and Evan Kilgor — who penned Keeper of the Diary, an upcoming film about Otto Frank's struggle to get Anne Frank's diary published — will write the script. Elgort and Emily Gerson Saines will produce alongside Iwanyk and Beau Flynn, whose Thunder Road Pictures and FlynnPictureCo are co-producing the project. The search for a director is currently ongoing.
Elgort's casting reinforces the recent shift in his career. Early reviews have praised his performance in Baby Driver, and he's already attached to lead crime flick November Criminals and bio drama Billionaire Boys Club (alongside Baby Driver co-star Kevin Spacey). If his upcoming credits prove just as successful as Baby Driver, Elgort is well on his way to achieving leading man status.
A release date for Mayday 109 has not yet been announced, but Screen Rant will keep you updated.