From Tisch to Top Gun. Miles Teller made his major film debut one year after graduating from NYU’s School of the Arts and went on to star in movies including the Divergent series and Fantastic Four.
The Pennsylvania native acted alongside Nicole Kidman in the 2010 film Rabbit Hole, an experience he called “surreal” during an interview with BlackBook. “It was very much a larger-than-life, surreal experience, you know, going from seeing these people that you’re a fan of and then you’re working with them,” he said. “It’s similar with sports. You can watch these people growing up and then be in the same industry as them.”
But Teller didn’t stay the starstruck newcomer for long. In 2014, he played an ambitious jazz drummer in the psychological drama Whiplash, which earned five Oscar nominations. J.K. Simmons, who played Teller’s villainous instructor, won Best Supporting Actor for his performance.
The Tisch graduate performed all the drumming sequences shown in the film himself. “I started drumming when I was 15 and I had played in rock bands, but I had never played jazz,” Teller said in a 2014 interview with IndieWire. He told the outlet that the frustration he felt trying to master the new genre came out in his character.
“All those guys [in the film] are real musicians so they’re really playing and I’m really playing the drums — and the music is complicated. I’m trying not to mess up. In the drum-off scene, that’s really all of us drumming as fast as we can and really expending ourselves, which is nice because it’s easier to be exhausted than to play exhausted,” he explained.
Teller also starred in the 2013 coming-of-age drama The Spectacular Now with Shailene Woodley before going on to appear in Divergent and its two sequels with the Big Little Lies star. Woodley gave her former costar a shoutout after seeing him in the 2022 film Top Gun: Maverick.
“@tomcruise obvi slayed so hard … and #milesteller gave the world everything you want but rarely get in a blockbuster film … heart. soul. sass. charisma. (oiled up abs). pain. elation. and he did it all with such subtlety you barely knew it was happening,” she wrote via Instagram in June 2022. “He really is such a wildly talented actor, and it made my heart explode watching him do his thing in this. i’m beyond happy for him and this entire @topgunmovie team. thank you for giving the world this gift.”
“2 years ago today, I married the woman of my dreams,” the Thank You For Your Service actor wrote via Twitter in 2021. “There isn’t a day that goes by where I’m not reminded of how much I truly love and adore you. Thank you for your kindness and unconditional support, Keleigh. I would be lost without you.”