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Spotlight on the Stars: Miles Teller

Miles Teller Whiplash 600x363
For this week’s spotlight piece, I wanted to take a look at an up and comer who’s just joining the A-list, but one who does so with the potential to go to some extraordinary places. I’m talking of course about Miles Teller, someone who really could turn out to be the best actor of his generation. A mix of John Cusack and Vince Vaughn (plus his own unique flavor), Teller is going places, plain and simple. He’s only got about 20 credits to his name, but in his short time on the big screen he’s already established himself as someone worthy of the A-list.

Teller got his start pretty quickly when, after only a few appearances in shorts and a guest spot on the TV show The Unusuals, he was cast in a main supporting part opposite Nicole Kidman in Rabbit Hole. An Oscar player all season long, folks immediately took note of this kid, naming him someone to watch. If they only knew how right they were. In fact, less than a half decade later, he’s already turned in a couple of performances that are miles (no pun intended) above this high bar. He next showcased some dancing skills in the Footloose remake and had an odd cameo/supporting role in Project X, two movies that let him stretch out from the dark dramatic work he debuted with. The best was still yet to come though.

Teller really established himself last year though, when he blew people away in The Spectacular Now. Playing a wise cracking teen who lives in the moment but comes to find that existence hollow due to his relationship with Shailene Woodley’s good hearted character, Teller stretched and wins you over in a big way. It’s a touching performance in a nearly perfect film. Teller and Woodley have tremendous chemistry and this was the role that I feel started the actor off on this path to the A-list.

Since then, he’s had a few comedies/romantic comedies in 21 & Over, That Awkward Moment, and Two Night Stand (which happens to be much better than you’d expect and well worth seeking out) that have showcased him either as a comedian or as a romantic lead, while he’s also taken a big step into the mainstream with a notable part in the epic Divergent. The success of Divergent is his entrance to the big A-list rankings, but it’s the work he’s about to show you all in a few days time that will really solidify his place there. Yes, he’s about to blow you away.

This week, he will leave you straight up stunned with his work in the drama Whiplash. Alongside J.K. Simmons (who gives one of the very best performances of 2014, if not the best), Teller essays the best performance of his career as a drum student going up against his instructor. It’s a magnificent bit of acting, one that deserves heavy awards consideration. The stacked Best Actor lineup will keep him from his first nomination in all likelihood, but it’s among the finest performances of the year so far. You’ll be able to see what I mean starting Friday, and it’s not the last word I’ll have on this film either.

His upward trend will only continue next year when he gets to star in a blockbuster…playing a superhero, no less. He’ll be Mr. Fantastic in The Fantastic Four, a huge step for his young career. As long as this isn’t a total flop, not only will his A-list status be cemented, but even more doors will open for the talented young man. Much like folks said about Ryan Gosling, for example, the talent is there for him to become a legend. Gosling is on his way to proving that true, to me at least, and Teller could be right behind him.

Overall, Teller is someone who truly could wind up the actor of his generation and now is beginning his journey on the A-list to prove it. The next few years will see him in multiple Fantastic Four movies, the Divergent sequel Insurgent, the long awaited Get a Job, and go for awards with a couple of projects. They’re the boxing biopic Bleed for This and the musical dramedy from Whiplash filmmaker Damien Chazelle, called La La Land. Teller isn’t going anywhere folks. In fact, he’s well on his way to becoming not just a bigger A-lsiter, but one of the biggest of them all. He can pull off comedy, he can pull of drama, and he can charm the hell out of you. Basically, he’s got it all. Teller is a superstar in the making, mark my words.

Stay tuned for another look at an A-lister next week!

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He contributes to several other film-related websites and is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

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