When Whiplash kicked off the Sundance festival, it may have been the first time the opening film received such widespread buzz. Everyone loved the little indie that could, which addressed the passion (and obsession that comes with it) of determined musicians. And, with Miles Teller as the lead, a star was born. With indie titles and a supporting part in Divergent to his credit plus The Fantastic Four reboot, it would be an understatement to say that Miles Teller is on his way to Hollywood stardom. He’s there. He has made it. While he is thisclose to becoming a household name (don’t worry, it’ll get there), Teller’s proven he’s a damn good actor, stealing our hearts as the lovelorn Sutter in The Spectacular Now.
How hard was it to live with [your character in Whiplash’s] pain everyday?
It was nice to do a movie about a character that was so driven and had the drive. This movie really shoots like a boxing movie. You have these two guys that are just going at it the whole time and he really wants my character to try to break him and make him quit and he just refuses to let that happen.
Talk about getting the dynamic right between you and J.K. Simmons.
I didn’t even meet J.K. We met at a table read but he doesn’t even remember it. We didn’t rehearse anything. We just kind of showed up and started filming. And we really just tried to be present and listen and do all the things that are necessary for good acting.
You caught a lot of flack over comments you made to the Huffington Post over Divergent.
People get misquoted all the time. If you want to say business reasons for Divergent, yeah, but don’t paint it in a way that makes it seem like I did it for money. I would never do anything for money. I’ve been offered four times as much as I was on Divergent for shitty scripts that I just did not do. So I just thought it was kind of framed politically. I feel pretty confident and comfortable with the career that I’ve been able to put together. I hold my head high when I’m around actors and directors I admire because I do know that while still you need to take movies that actually pay you, I am in this business for all the right reasons.
There are reasons other than money to do a big movie, such as exposure, or you want to work with a certain director or actor...
I’m not kidding when I say for me to make what an average person coming out of college made with a degree, I would have had to do ten Spectacular Nows last year. So there’s nothing wrong with doing something that is going to pay you. But at the same time you want to do something where you don’t feel like you’re completely out to sell your soul to the devil to do.
Do you read your reviews?
You want to feel the temperature of the room. I’ll read the main ones but you gotta be careful, man. Like Billy Crystal said, “The good ones aren’t true enough and the bad ones are too true.”
What can you tell us about The Fantastic Four?
The big surprise: The human torch is black! None of us thought of ourselves as superheroes. I can’t go to the set every day like, “I’m Mr. Fantastic,” and carry that around. It’s a character study for all of us. I could have done Reed Richards in an independent film, cause he’s just such an interesting character.