Ansel Elgort on Ralph Lauren Fragrance, Styling Hair Like Tony in 'West Side Story'

Ansel Elgort attends The Hollywood Foreign Press Association and The Hollywood Reporter party at the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival - Getty-H 2019
Andrew Toth/Getty Images for The Hollywood Reporter

The actor also laughed about working with Rita Moreno.

Ansel Elgort manages to keep himself out of the headlines unless it’s for work, so get ready to read a lot about him over the next few months.

The star of The Goldfinch, which is set to bow Friday, wraps filming on Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story in the coming weeks before diving into his first television series, Tokyo Vice, for WarnerMedia’s streaming platform. Additionally, Elgort has confirmed that he’s read a script for a Baby Driver sequel.

The Hollywood Reporter spoke with Elgort ahead of the limited-edition launch of Ralph Lauren Polo Red Remix x Ansel Elgort ($85), which debuted in August and is the first co-created fragrance for the brand. Elgort was named as the face and global ambassador for Ralph Lauren Fragrances in 2018. He launched the Polo Red Rush campaign, which took a nod from his role in Baby Driver, and followed up as a collaborator of Polo Red Remix, in which he picked the juice and the bottle design for the cologne.

“I didn’t learn enough,” Elgort says about the fragrance-making process. “I wish I was there when we actually mixed it, but I was given a lot of options, then picked my favorite out of all the options, which was still cool.”

The 25-year-old’s first scent memories aren’t based around specific fragrances or perfumes, but instead are rooted in natural scents. “Cut grass, garlic on the stove and the ocean,” he recalls.

The original Polo Red, which debuted in 2013 and has had four iterations since, is described as a sweet men’s fragrance, containing notes with red characteristics: citrusy red grapefruit, red wood and hot amber. Elgort describes Remix as similar to the original “but more energizing, more refreshing,” which includes top notes of mandarin oil, red cranberry and cardamom oil, mid notes of spicy red saffron and clary sage oil and base notes that include coffee oil, patchouli and roasted tonka bean absolute. Combined, the notes make it less sweet and create a woody, spicy, ambery fragrance.

Naturally, the term “remix” lends itself to music. The bottle includes a metallic spinning disc — a nod to Elgort’s music background — and a holographic pony. When asked if he intends to release new music this year, he says he doesn’t plan his releases: “I’m always making [music], but it’s just like, whether or not I need to release it or not. I’ll know when it’s right.”

This is Elgort’s first foray into the beauty world and, while collaborating on a fragrance is no small feat, he says he doesn’t put much emphasis on his routine otherwise. “If I’m working, I start taking care of my skin, if I have to wear makeup and stuff. But if I’m not wearing makeup, then I don’t give a shit — I don’t do anything. I just take a shower every once in a while,” Elgort joked.

After the release of The Goldfinch, the Golden Globe-nominated actor will finish filming his role as Tony in West Side Story, alongside newcomer Rachel Zegler and legend Rita Moreno.

“Rita’s hilarious — she’s always making inappropriate jokes, because she’s from old Hollywood,” said Elgort. “So that’s pretty funny, because it’s so out now to be inappropriate on set, but she can’t help it because she’s 87, and it’s awesome.”

Elgort says he didn’t give Zegler, who was cast in the role of Maria, any advice for her first film: “She doesn’t need any. She’s a star.”

The actor-musician, who describes his personal style as “always changing a little bit,” says he’s walking away with a touch of Tony in his real life. “I sort of came up with the hair for him, the way I push it back," said Elgort. "It’s sort of like the '50s, but also real — not over-the-top '50s hair — just out of my face, pushed back. Straight back, not to the side. I’m wearing it in my regular life now.”

After he wraps West Side Story, Elgort will learn Japanese for Tokyo Vice, which he’s also producing.