By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood August 8, 2014 at 11:34AM
I thought Miles Teller had a future when I saw his touching performance in 2010 drama "Rabbit Hole" at age 22. I figured he had a career when I saw him carry the lead opposite Shailene Woodley in Sundance romance "The Spectacular Now." And a year later, he's a rising star when I saw him hold his own opposite the mighty J.K. Simmons in Sundance opening night hit "Whiplash," which will be released by Sony on October 10.
"Whiplash" has wowed Sundance and Cannes, and it will wow Toronto this Fall before rousing theatergoers. As for its awards chances, this crowdpleaser will cause a stir in the Fall. Teller's not a top-bill name, but his forthcoming projects -- which he discusses below in our Sundance video interview -- suggest he's getting there.
This serious actor is only 26, so there's a lot more to look forward to. His CAA agent Tracy Brennan, who also reps Aaron Eckhart, was so impressed by Teller on the set of "Rabbit Hole," his first feature, that she immediately signed him.
He grew up in a family of music lovers and plays piano, guitar, saxophone and rock drums, and discovered acting in high school and went on to study theater at NYU. So he had some musical training going into "Whiplash," but he says he did get blisters on his fingers as he prepared to do some serious on-screen jazz drumming. (His director Damien Chazelle added fake blood during filming.)
He wants to do a "Once"-style musical with Woodley, who he's worked with twice now. It's been well over a year since "The Spectacular Now" hit big at Sundance last year, and Teller admits he feels different this time around. Having shot "Divergent," "Get a Job," "21 And Over," "Project X," "That Awkward Moment," "Two Night Stand" and "The Fantastic Four" -- a sequel is already in the works -- he's got some experience under his belt. "I feel like I belong," he says.