Miles Teller is currently blowing up, thanks to his Esquire interview read around the world. But aside from the whole "dickish" persona described in the pages — with which, by the way, the actor takes issue — we’re learning a great deal about some of his earlier projects, notably Whiplash. Though the film ended up getting nominated for a number of Oscars, the lead star got paid a pretty low number for the project.

How low, exactly? $8,000. That may seem like a lot to some people, but when you factor in the months of production needed to make any feature film, it’s pretty low. Though, it is more than he was paid when he was first starting out.

Teller’s first feature film was Rabbit Hole in 2010. The film starred Nicole Kidman and Aaron Eckhart as a couple who lose their son in an accident. Teller plays the boy responsible for taking his life in this indie directed by John Cameron Mitchell. Teller told Esquire that he received a $5,000 paycheck for the film. A few years and movies later, he co-starred in The Spectacular Now with Shailene Woodley, and that paycheck increased to $7,000.

All of these films, Whiplash included, are independent films, which usually don’t tote large budgets. However, these films gave Teller something more valuable than money: credibility. The 28-year-old NYU grad is an exceptionally talented actor, even though, according to the Esquire piece, he can come across as a little "dickish." These films put him on the map as someone to watch in Hollywood. They also better positioned him to take up roles in larger franchises, like Peter in the Divergent films and Reed Richards/Mr. Fantastic in the latest iteration of Fantastic Four. Those films, while not fully flaunting his wide range, are going to turn his name into a brand — not to mention earn him the big bucks to keep the lights on.

Teller can be seen this weekend on screen in Fantastic Four, directed by Josh Trank. He’s joined by Kate Mara as Sue Storm/Invisible Woman, his Awkward Moment co-star Michael B. Jordan as Johnny Storm/Human Torch, and Jamie Bell as Ben Grimm/The Thing. Taking a nod from the Ultimates comic series, the film features younger versions of these characters as they attempt inter-dimensional travel, a trip that goes terribly wrong and grants them their abilities. The government takes them into their custody in an attempt to use them as weapons, but when Victor von Doom’s transformation makes him go power-hungry, they have to join together to face him.

This is not the most high-caliber project of Teller’s to date — and by most critics’ views, not even a good film — he does have better things on the horizon. And, hopefully for him, better paychecks.

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