Miles Teller had been poised for a big summer with a starring turn opposite Tom Cruise in Top Gun: Maverick until the pandemic prompted Paramount to push the film to December. The high-flying sequel will now be offered as a Christmas present to audiences, so instead of doing press, Teller has been spending his summer reading scripts, and the actor has found a new one that offers him a juicy lead role.
Teller has signed on to produce and star in director Rupert Wainwright‘s survival drama Not Without Hope, based on the extraordinary true story of four men, including two NFL players, who went fishing 70 miles out in the Gulf of Mexico whose boat capsizes during a major storm, forcing them to fight to survive in freezing waters in the ultimate test of courage, strength, friendship and teamwork.
Teller will play Nick Schuyler, who was in the boat with his best friend Will Bleakley as well as NFL players Marquis Cooper and Corey Smith. Schuyler co-wrote the book of the same name with Jere Longman that was adapted by E. Nicholas Mariani. Teller is producing the film under his Lime Tree Productions banner along with Michael Jefferson of Volition Media Partners, Rick French of Prix Productions, and Colin Bates of Lucidity Entertainment, in association with Wainwright’s Adore Creative. Willie Kutner will also serve as a producer on the project along with Hitesh Patel of Voyager Entertainment Group.
Not Without Hope also boasts some well-known EPs, as Super Bowl and Grammy Award-winning couple Russell Wilson and Ciara will executive produce via their production company Why Not You. They’re joined by James Dyer, Andrea Bucko, Wes Hull and Dave Lugo and Goldfinch Entertainment’s Kirsty Bell and Phil McKenzie, in addition to Aditya Jha, Mark Finley and Daniel Brandt of Voyager, which is providing financing for the movie. Highland Film Group will launch international sales at the upcoming online Cannes Market, with CAA Media Finance handling the domestic rights.
“We are very excited to help bring this inspiring true story to the big screen. In today’s world of uncertainty, we definitely need feature films that are able to instill hope, courage and strength,” said Highland Film Group’s CEO Arianne Fraser.
It’s funny, I was thinking of Teller just last night while I watched The Gene Krupa Story with my Dad on TCM. Sal Mineo stars as the legendary jazz drummer, and I couldn’t help but draw comparisons between his performance and Teller’s incredible turn in Whiplash — which really holds up as one of the best movies of the past decade. I remember when I was young reporter, I was either at Variety or TheWrap, I can’t remember, but I remember tracking the Nicole Kidman movie Rabbit Hole. I recall being told that whoever landed that teenager role opposite Kidman had to be a pretty special actor, and would likely go on to become a star.
Sure enough, Teller went on to book a scene-stealing role in the Footloose remake before graduating to leading man in the comedy 21 & Over and the wonderful indie The Spectacular Now, which only reinforced the potential he showed in Rabbit Hole. After that came Whiplash, and it was off to the races from there. Teller has starred in his share of box office disappointments since then, but he was remarkable once again in Bleed for This, and turned in solid performances in films like Only the Brave and Thank You for Your Service.