One of my favorite films this year is writer/director Damien Chazelle’s Whiplash. The film stars Miles Teller as a jazz drummer who aspires to greatness under a ruthless instructor, played brilliantly by J.K. Simmons (who deserves Award consideration for this role). While the film focuses on musicians, it’s really about anyone trying to become great at something and the cost of achieving said goal. Trust me, it’s a great movie and something you should seek out this weekend when it opens in a theater near you. For more on the film, read Matt’s review or watch the trailer.
Last week at the Los Angeles press day I landed an extended video interview with J.K. Simmons. He talked about shooting in 19 days and assembling the cut in less than 10 weeks to premiere at Sundance, what it was like watching the film for the first time at Cannes, the general tone on set, how he likes to work, his relationship with Jason Reitman, if he’s ever done voicemails as J. Jonah Jameson, Terminator: Genisys, and a lot more. Hit the jump to watch.
J.K. Simmons Time Index:
- 0:20 – Simmons explains how they hoped shooting the Whiplash short film would raise money for the feature.
- 1:20 – Talks about shooting in 19 days and assembling the cut in less than 10 weeks to premiere at Sundance.
- 3:00 – Simmons didn’t get to Sundance, so he saw Whiplash for the first time at a Cannes press screening.
- 4:30 – Describes the general tone on set.
- 5:25 – The character inspiration was all on the page but he had to practice the piano and research the music.
- 6:30 – Says he’s flexible as an actor to how the director likes to operate.
- 8:50 – What it’s like to work with Jason Reitman.
- 12:45 – He has left a few voicemails as J. Jonah Jameson.
- 13:15 – Says the script for Terminator: Genisys is really smart.