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Earlier this year, a short film called “Whiplash” earned buzz at the Sundance Film Festival, and ultimately won the Short Film Jury Prize for “its wicked sense of humor, fantastic ensemble acting and razor sharp directing.” With the help of producers Jason Blum (The Purge) and Jason Reitman (Young Adult), writer-director Damien Chazelle made “Whiplash” to earn buzz and raise funds for a feature-length version of its story. And it seems that gamble is paying off big. Deadline reports that Sundance stunner Miles Teller of The Spectacular Now will front the film, which is being described as “Full Metal Jacket at Julliard.”
Chazelle wrote the feature-length script, and will direct with Blum and Reitman producing alongside Couper Samuelson (We Own The Night) and Helen Estabrook (Up in the Air). Teller will star as a novice drummer who dreams of becoming a key component of America’s best jazz orchestra. J.K. Simmons will co-star, playing his harsh music teacher who—as we can tell from the Full Metal Jacket comparison—arguably pushes too hard to inspire the young drummer to greatness.
Simmons will actually be reprising the role he played in the short. Below, you can see a clip of him in action with Johnny Simmons in the role of bullied boy musician. It’s housed within an interview with Chazelle, Blum and Reitman.
“Do I look like a double fucking rainbow to you?!” Yup. Shine meets Full Metal Jacket makes sense to me.
Teller has undoubtedly become a young actor to watch. He made his film debut with a powerful performance opposite Nicole Kidman in John Cameron Mitchell’s critically heralded drama Rabbit Hole. Then, in 2011 he was one of the few outstanding aspects of the lackluster remake of Footloose. 2012 brought a role in the house party megahit Project X, which took in more than $102 million at the box office. Then, of course this year he is fronting the celebrated Sundance hit Spectacular Now, where his performance is getting absolutely rave reviews. In my own review I compared him favorably to Matthew Broderick from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and Tom Cruise circa Risky Business.
But all of that could just be the tip of Teller’s iceberg as he’s got a slate of projects coming up including the 2014 tent pole release Divergent. The action-adventure movie based on the popular YA novel by Veronica Roth could well become a Hunger Games level hit. Beyond that, Teller was recently rumored for the role of Reed “Mr. Fantastic” Richards in The Fantastic Four reboot. While that has since been debunked, the fact that the rumor got such traction speaks to how fast Teller’s star is rising. Pairing him with the always fantastic, Reitman muse J.K. Simmons on Whiplash is enough to get this critic interested, but the Full Metal Jacket comparison doesn’t hurt.