Miles Teller on Tapping into Trauma for ‘Thank You For Your Service’

     October 24, 2017

How does an actor tap into PTSD? What experiences can he or she possibly draw from that correlates to the traumas of war and the violence therein? Further – how does one even begin to talk with veterans to understand this mental state? What questions does an actor ask without seeming obtrusive?


Image via Universal Pictures/DreamWorks

In Thank You for Your Service, Miles Teller stars as real life veteran and PTSD survivor Adam Schumann, a decorated soldier who returned home from war still haunted by the violence of his Iraqi tour. For Teller – tapping into the emotional trauma of Schumann posed quite the challenge. The actor admittedly is no stranger to trauma, yet the emotional scars of battle & war are far different than anything he has yet experienced. To find the character of ‘Adam’, Teller met and talked with the actual, real-life Adam Schumann about his experiences oversees and at home dealing with PTSD.

In the following interview with star Miles Teller, he discusses what these initial conversations with Adam were like, the process of getting Adam to open up to him and finding the emotional spine of the character ‘Adam’. For the full interview, watch above.

Miles Teller:

  • How early did Miles Teller meet with Adam Schumann?
  • Did Teller prep questions ahead of time to ask Adam?
  • What’s the foundation for tapping into PTSD?
  • What were the initial conversations with Adam like?
  • How did Teller approach having a deep conversations about trauma with Adam?
  • What’s the balance between emulating Adam vs. creating a distinctive character?

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