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Saturday 21 September 2019

Teller suffered for Whiplash role

Miles Teller attending the premiere of new film Whiplash at the Odeon cinema, London.
Miles Teller attending the premiere of new film Whiplash at the Odeon cinema, London.

Rising star Miles Teller has revealed how he suffered for his art as he shot his new film, Whiplash.

The 27-year-old actor - who has starred in Rabbit Hole, Project X, That Awkward Moment and Divergent - shed blood, sweat and tears to play aspiring and ambitious jazz drummer Andrew Neyman.

The musician is determined to rise to the top of his cut-throat music conservatory, with JK Simmons playing his perfectionist teacher, the fearsome maestro Terence Fletcher.

Braving the downpours at the film's UK premiere as part of the BFI London Film Festival, Miles - who played the drums so hard that his hands bled and suffered from blisters - joked: "The blood, sweat and tears were all from JK, I was fine."

The young star, whose performance has been winning praise, trained for the 19-day shoot with weeks of practise. He took three weeks' worth of classes, lasting four hours three days a week.

"I've played drums since I was 15 but never had a lesson," he continued. "So I was happy to have someone to teach me technically on drums. I'm a better drummer because of it. I used it as a free way to get some high-end jazz lessons out of the deal."

Whiplash is based on former jazz musician Damien Chazelle's experiences. He wrote the script and directed the movie.

"It brought a level of honesty because I knew that Damien knew this world inside out," Miles said.

"Anytime you can work with the writer and director, that's a blessing because Damien knew the story so much better than JK or I. You feel like you're in good hands."

JK admitted he enjoyed playing an angry character in Terence.

"It really is liberating. To play a character that's so well written, have a point of view and a goal was a real pleasure," he said.

"I got to slap Miles repeatedly, which was one of my favourite days on the set," he added.

The 59-year-old actor revealed finding his inner rage did not prove too difficult.

"It's easy when you live in Los Angeles and you drive to work," he said. "You just channel all your road rage on your way to the set and let it explode on poor Miles Teller."

Damien Chazelle, who made a short film of Whiplash before getting the funding to turn it into a full length feature for his directorial debut, said he is taking any talk of awards in his stride.

"It's been such a run. I'm a pessimist so I take it one day at a time," he said. "This was not an easy movie to make. It was literally blood, sweat and tears from many of the cast and crew."

The BFI London Film Festival continues until October 20, when war drama Fury, starring Brad Pitt and Shia LaBeouf, closes it.

Whiplash opens in UK cinemas on January 16 2015.

PA Media

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