Miles Teller Talks THAT AWKWARD MOMENT, Dating Advice, His Audition for STAR WARS Episode VII, FANTASTIC FOUR, ALLEGIANT, and More

     January 23, 2014

miles teller that awkward moment slice

Perhaps you missed Rabbit Hole, but between Footloose, 21 & Over, The Spectacular Now, all the buzz coming out of Sundance for Whiplash and the fact that he’s clearly earned himself a place in the incessant blockbuster rumor mill, it’s obvious that Miles Teller is one to watch.In his latest release, That Awkward Moment, Teller steps in as Daniel, a 20-something living in New York City who’s busy at work by day and picking up ladies at night. When Mikey (Michael B. Jordan) gets hit with a divorce, Daniel and Jason (Zac Efron) decide it’s time to embrace the single life together. However, it’s easier said than done because when Daniel starts to fall for his wing-woman, Chelsea (Mackenzie Davis), he’s genuinely thrilled to start the relationship, but just can’t build up the nerve to tell his friends.

With That Awkward Moment heading towards its January 31st wide release, Collider got the chance to sit down with Teller and discuss how the film has made him an honorary love guru. Check out Teller’s dating advice as well as what he told us about his preparation process, the challenge of establishing a comedic rhythm, his audition for Star Wars: Episode VII, potentially beefing up for Fantastic Four, his thoughts on the final book of the Divergent trilogy and much more in the interview below.  Hit the jump for more.

that-awkward-moment-miles-teller-zac-efronQUESTION: You’ve become a dating advisor of sorts because of this movie; are you cool with that?

MILES TELLER: Yeah, I think everybody should ask me advice before they get in a relationship.

So in that case, you said your thing is cutting off a relationship when you know it isn’t right and not wasting any time. That’s my problem, so help me out.

TELLER: My roommate has a problem with that and I think it’s hard, but I think you just have to understand that you’re gonna miss certain things about that person. That’s understandable, but the biggest factor in everything is time, and I think over time you get over missing that person and losing that person and whatever it is, but I think once you actually take time to think about it and you can do it intellectually, not just go with, ‘I miss him, so I’m gonna call him.’ That’s not good. You can understand if you’re right for somebody or not.

How about the guilt factor? What do you say to a person so they don’t feel too bad about it?

TELLER: People are gonna get feelings hurt. In most relationships, somebody cares about the other one more and that’s usually why you get out of a relationship because it’s not reciprocated. You are gonna feel bad, I’m just saying you have to be okay with feeling bad.

Now that you’ve set me straight, can you tell me about how you choose your roles? You’ve got some serious variation in terms of the type of material and the scale of your films, but is there anything that has to stay consistent from film to film before you sign on?

that-awkward-moment-poster-miles-tellerTELLER: The script, really. That’s the most important thing. I think George Clooney said, ‘You can make a bad movie out of a good script, but you can’t make a good movie out of a bad script,’ and really, that’s the outline. And I mean that it is an outline, it’s a very important outline, and then from there it’s the director. The movies that I’m most proud of, I can look and I can directly say that’s because this director is really incredible. So for me, getting to a point where I am starting to have more work come out, I am getting to a stage where I guess I can kind of attach myself to a project and right now I’m just searching out the best directors that I can.

How is that process for you? The luxury to choose like that is great, but it also opens the door to nonstop rumors. Does that frustrate you at all?

TELLER: No, I mean, you can’t control that and rumors, that’s how people get hits on their websites; that’s just them doing their job. As long as I’m not the one starting them. Then again, I’ll start a rumor. If I want a movie, like I put a rumor out there for me for Star Wars. It didn’t happen, but I think it got some people [to say], ‘Oh, yeah, maybe he would be right for that.’ I put out there that I want to play Evils, and I do want to play Elvis.  

Who would you want to play in a Star Wars movie?

TELLER: I don’t know because I’ve never seen them. [Laughs]

You’ve never seen a Star Wars movie?

TELLER: [Laughs] No, I just love Harrison Ford, so I guess the Han Solo.

You know, you’ve got to change that.

TELLER: I know. I had an audition for Star Wars so I watched some of Return of the Jedi, but that’s about it.

Are you allowed to say what kind of character you went out for? Maybe good or evil?

TELLER: I think it was a good character, but at that time the script hadn’t come out so the sides they were using were very vague. 

Good would make sense though because your characters always have vices, but they’re also genuinely funny, charming guys. Well, except Divergent.

whiplash-miles-teller-2TELLER: Yeah. And I just did a movie that was up in Sundance called Whiplash.

Yes! Congratulations on that.

TELLER: Thank you. Did you see it?

I wish!

TELLER: When you first are kind of coming up in this business it’s tough because you wanna show that you can be charming and charismatic and all those things and comedy, that’s what the studios are making. Studios aren’t really making interesting character study dramas anymore. Maybe it’ll come back, but I’m fortunate that I do have an appetite for comedy so when I do that, I really enjoy it, and also what’s great is that it gives me something to play against and that’s why I did Whiplash and that’s why I did Divergent to an extent because I knew that people kind of had an idea of me, like you said, as  this funny, charming guy and then to just take that a little darker is fun.

I read in the press notes that Tom liked your style, sense of humor and timing, which I could certainly understand considering some of the roles you’ve taken, but he also highlighted that you’re especially prepared and maybe your characters have just gotten to my head, but I always pictured you as a more casual type of performer.

TELLER: Well, for me, I think an actor’s greatest gift to themselves is preparation. And there is a rhythm. There’s a rhythm to the way Tom writes. Now, I’m not based purely in the free form, adlibbing world that a lot of these Second City guys are or the Apatow guys. I don’t necessarily work like that, but I do know the script inside and out, I know your lines just as much as I know my lines, and so with comedy, because it is a rhythm, I know that the punch line is here so like a point guard, I wanna pass the ball off and I can try to get a scene in a certain rhythm. But yeah, one of the most embarrassing things I think for an actor is to come on set and not know your lines or to not be prepared. That is just such a slap in the face to everybody who’s there many hours before you. An actor, you show up when you’re ready to roll, but there’s a ton of people busting their ass, setting up the lights and doing everything before you get there, so then to come on and just be so frivolous with the material would just be disrespectful.    

Do you think having gone to Tisch and having been part of the film school realm gave you an appreciation for all of that?

that-awkward-moment-miles-tellerTELLER: Yeah. I was in the theater school, but the last two years I did do this Stonestreet film and television acting program. And yeah, I grew up doing student films and for those it is go, go, go, go and also it’s so collaborative. I would feel like a peer with my director because we’re the same age and I just love making films. I think it’s such a privileged profession to have and then coming from the theater world, I love the rehearsal aspect of it. I love the ensemble aspect of it.

Speaking of ensembles and also what you touched on before, about establishing a beat, how was it making that happen with Mike and Zac? Did that come naturally or did you have to work for it?

TELLER: Well, Mike, this was his first comedy. He kind of told me off the bat, ‘Man, I’ll follow your lead a little bit with this,’ or just, ‘Help me out.’ And that’s one thing I will say about Mike is that every night he was meeting with Tom pretty much to be like, ‘Alright, now what is the beat here? What is this joke? What’s supposed to be the funny part in this scene?’ Because Mike’s really funny, he just doesn’t know it. But acting comedy and being funny in your own life is two different things. And then with Zac, the biggest part with all the scenes was just to kind of like massage it and to make it flow and make it feel natural. Mike, Zac and I, by the time we started filming, were very comfortable with each other, so I think that plays on screen. I think you really see three guys that aren’t just pretending to be friends. It just seems very real and it is.

Was there any scene that was particularly tough to nail in that respect?

TELLER: I remember the one day, it was the scene with the dildos and we’re in the sex shop, and that was kind of troublesome because there was all these paparazzi taking photos, and out of context it’s just me and Zac holding giant strap ons, you know? But within the movie it makes sense! So I remember that day being kind of tricky.

that-awkward-moment-zac-efron-miles-teller-michael-b-jordanWas that a constant issue for you guys? Because there was also that part in the end credit bloopers where you’re having coffee in a scene and, all of a sudden, Zac says, ‘Oh, look, there’s the paparazzi!’

TELLER: And I say, ‘But they’re not lookin’ at me so I can do whatever I want,’ because I’m just a clown. But yeah, it certainly was. That was the first time I filmed a movie that paparazzi were a part of the production because in LA, you’re in a studio. You can kind of block yourself off. In the indies, I’m filming in Athens, Georgia; it’s like nobody’s really there. But when you’re filming in New York and you have a star like Zac Efron, the kid’s literally The Lorax [laughs], so it’s like, you have paparazzi around you all the time. The rules and stuff in the city, technically, they can take pictures while you’re filming; you’re just thankful that they’re not and then when you say cut, they all – [mimics shutter sounds] – taking pictures and fans run up to Zac [laughs], or you, and they kind of herd you in a coffee shop. There was an awareness of that that obviously isn’t in the story we’re shooting so it does kind of take you out of it a little bit.

Fortunately they probably weren’t around when you had to do that planking scene.

TELLER: Yeah, but there was a lot of crew guys around for that! You almost want to apologize to the people in the room like, ‘Oh, I’m sorry! Here’s my butt,’ and the boom guy’s got a boom right by my butt and the camera’s there and there’s all these people. You’ve got to have thick skin.  

What happens when you have to set up for something like that? Can you shut the door and say, ‘You guys wait outside while I pull my pants down and try to plank to this toilet?’

TELLER: No, especially not with this. I think the thing with this film that people will be surprised to know is this is an independent film, and we shot this film in 24 days, which is one less day than Spectacular Now, it’s one less day than a lot of indies that I’ve filmed. So really, you just got to kind of go, and as soon as you sign on to a movie, you’re pretty much agreeing to everything that would be required of you. But I didn’t take my shirt off because I just played a high school alcoholic who would not have been in shape. Divergent I got buff though! Divergent I’m pretty cut in that.

fantastic-fourSpeaking of being in shape, I know nothing’s locked in yet, but should you get Fantastic Four, are you down to beef up for that skin-tight suit?

TELLER: Yeah, I think, you know, if that were to happen, I think the characters would be taken in a different direction than the kind of blue suits and stuff from the franchise that had previously been done, which you’d have to if you’re gonna reboot something, you really got to kind of put your own spin on it. But with that being said, all I need is like, a couple weeks to just get my body back in shape. So the answer to that is yes, I could get back in shape.

WARNING: Spoilers for the third book of the Divergent series, Allegiant, ahead!

To wrap up, have you read Allegiant yet?

TELLER: I haven’t read it, but I love the way Peter comes full circle and you really kind of can understand that beneath all that is somebody who really doesn’t like himself and who wants to go back to a place where he wasn’t mean to people. And I’m so glad that that’s in there because in the first book, he’s kind of one-dimensional and so I was happy for Veronica [Roth] to really explore that with Peter.

  • Daniel Ronczkowski

    What a little A-hole. He has never seen Star Wars? I will never see a film with this kid again.

    • Josh

      alright calm down. not seeing star wars doesn’t make him an asshole. lots of big name actors have never seen it.

      • Sean Chandler

        Which makes them a total weirdo.

      • Jack le Critic

        Whether you like sci-fantasy or not, Star Wars is a landmark movie and should be seen by anyone serious about working in the industry. I hope he’s watched Casablanca at the very least.

    • Sean Chandler

      I was thinking the same thing. How do you love Harrison Ford but not watch Star Wars?

    • 80sRobot

      Lots of people have not seen Star Wars. Because they are young. Let’s face facts: a lot of us who grew up on the original movies are simply old now. :(

      • Daniel Ronczkowski

        I was born in 1987 and saw it for the first time when I was 7 or 8.
        Dude can’t be that much younger than me, which is no excuse.

      • Sean Chandler

        `We grew up on the originals, and he’s the perfect age for growing up on the prequels.

        …and he’s an actor in Hollywood trying out for a role in a Star Wars movie.

    • Nick

      Shut up nerd. Not watching a movie doesn’t making him an asshole, it makes people that care (you) about that an asshole. Clearly he can spare the time to watch them but he’s not interested. Better than these phonies that get a superhero role and reach two comics and act like life long fans.

      • Daniel Ronczkowski

        I don’t believe you.

  • Davis

    Absolutely desperate for the FF role he’s begging for it in every interview

  • JonBIGbootay

    what a douche

  • Sean Chandler

    I remember reading about how when both Ewan Mcgregor and Hayden Christienson started on Star Wars they made light saber noises from their mouths on accident when they first started filming. Why? Because they were fans.

    I didn’t think Hayden did a good job, but at least he was a fan. I’m terrified of the idea of a new Star Wars movie starring someone who’s only seen some of Return of the Jedi.

    • Nick

      So a fan who does a shitty job is better than a non fan with better acting chops? You guys are fucking losers

      • Sean Chandler

        Or since there are literally millions upon millions of Star Wars fans, how about getting someone with both acting chops and respect for the material? There’s no shortage of talent, Star Wars fans, or people that want to be in this movie. Why put someone in who doesn’t even respect the material?

      • Daniel Ronczkowski

        Nick seems butthurt about something.

      • Sean Chandler

        Seems like it. Miles has to be one of the few actors in Hollywood to have never seen Star Wars. I would fault him for that even if he hadn’t auditioned to be in a Star Wars film.

      • Sean Chandler

        Seems like it. Miles has to be one of the few actors in Hollywood to have never seen Star Wars. I would fault him for that even if he hadn’t auditioned to be in a Star Wars film.

  • The Flobbit

    His face is so punchable. Like Paul Dano but…funnier. I don’t see the like with this guy, though to be fair, he was rather good in Spectacular Now.

    • Daniel Ronczkowski

      I’ve only seen him in however long he was in Project X for.

      • Pk

        Heh me too. He reminded me of pasty faced doped up version of mark zuckerberg

    • Pk

      Guys like him and Dane Dedham should stick to indie dramas and comedies. They just don’t have the face,charisma or screen presence to lure the general audience to cinemas

  • Dave

    Dude never saw Star Wars? lol. Wow. No street cred at all.

    • eternalozzie

      reality check to everyone here complaining he hasn’t seen Star Wars … Star Wars is not the least bit iconic to most people under 30 y/o. It’s an old “has been” franchise. mad props to Disney for pumping some modern life into it.

      • Lex Walker

        Are you kidding? It’s still one of the leading toy/memorabilia franchises today. And the prequels, love em or hate em, put it on the map for plenty of kids. Yeah, superheroes might be the biggest thing, but you’re kidding yourself if you think kids today don’t also love Star Wars. Nevermind that anyone in the 22-26 range were old enough to see Star Wars: Special Editions when they were released in theaters. What you said was just ridiculously false. Now for people under 15? Sure

      • Oliver Queen

        What Lex Walker said, i know plenty of teens who love Star Wars, it’s still the iconic franchise it was years ago and always will be.

      • Daniel Ronczkowski

        Well said!
        I saw the orignal trilogy in theaters because of the re-releases.

      • eternalozzie

        You are living in a fanbubble if you think the young people outside of your geek circle care about star wars anywhere near as much as twilight, teen wolf, hunger games, and other modern franchises

      • Lex Walker

        Twilight, Teen Wolf, Hunger Games, and other Modern Franchises qualifying as “iconic” mostly tops out at audiences that are about 17 or 18 (max) today, above that age you have audiences who were alive for theatrical releases of the Star Wars movies and consequently likely grew up in the fanfare of their popularity. You’re also confusing loud fanbases with large ones, and assuming that growing up with other modern franchises excludes comprehending the cultural impact/significance of other older franchises. I’m looking at this from a marketing and advertising perspective, not a fanbubble perspective. Nevermind that since the prequels, Star Wars has had a pretty active presence on TV, specifically on the Cartoon Network (whose target demographic is that under 18 audience), so I really don’t know why you think you have a point at all.

      • eternalozzie

        you just supported my argument … young people … and if you polled Clone Wars viewers you would find there were way more adults than kids watching it.

      • Lex Walker

        You don’t understand your own argument: “Under 30 y/o.” What you meant was “Under 18 y/o”, because there’s absolutely nothing to support the idea that anyone above that age considers Star Wars to be anything but iconic.

      • eternalozzie

        you don’t know the twilight/hunger games demographic at all … their demographic include as many adults as children … if you were to sit down and watch a hunger games movie in the theater you would see grandma, mom, daughters, and whatever men in their lives that got dragged there watching the movie as a family. It’s not a teen audience … it’s a female “plus 1″ audience … for the most part.
        When I saw the last 3 star wars movies (3-5 times each) I was one of the youngest in the theater and the few kids that were there were quite bored. Lucas tried to keep his dream (making money from merchandising) alive as well as he could but kids just aren’t the fan base at present time … sorry.
        I interact and deal with teens on a daily basis … star wars isn’t even on their radar.

      • Sean Chandler

        He’s not “most people.” He’s an actor in Hollywood who has auditioned for a part in a Star Wars film. It’s very unusual that he hasn’t seen a Star Wars movie.

  • James

    He’s coming across as an asshole in the text, maybe he’s being funny and it would serve him better for you to just post video of this interview. His “I want star wars even though I’ve never seen it” is pure bullshit. Anyone who refers their work as an Actor as “the business” is in dire need of a kick in the balls.

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  • Redjester

    I never really pictured him as being a good fit for Star Wars anyway. And he’s abut ten years too young for Reed Richard in FF.

  • Jack le Critic

    Out of all the actors out there, please don’t cast this dick in Star Wars…or FF either come to think of it. In fact, cast me!

    • Strong Enough

      he’s a great actor and very likable especially in Spectacular Now

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  • Astro

    I was born in 92 and everyone I know has seen star wars wtf ..

  • Tom

    I’ve only ever seen this kid in Project X and everything about that movie was pretty forgettable. I don’t think I’d pay to see a Fantastic Four with this guy in it.

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