Miles Teller: 'Divergent' Takes Over JJ Portrait Series (Part 2)
The 27-year-old actor takes on the role of Peter in the new book-to-screen adaptation, which will be in theaters everywhere this weekend.
Miles recently shot to fame with his starring roles in The Spectactular Now, That Awkward Moment, 21 & Over, and his Sundance smash hit Whiplash.
In our interview with Miles, he talks to us about working on Divergent, how he will be shooting the sequel Insurgent and the highly anticipated The Fantastic Four remake simultaneously this summer, what it is like to work with Shailene Woodley on multiple films, and even why he wants to be Jared Leto.
Click inside for our complete exclusive interview with Miles Teller…
Miles Teller Interview – JustJared.com Exclusive
Just Jared: Was last night at the LA premiere the first time you saw the movie or had you seen it before then?
Miles Teller: That was the first time that I saw it, last night.
JJ: What did you think? Are you used to seeing yourself on screen at this point?
MT: Yeah. I mean, if I was Shailene [Woodley]‘s character, it would be more heckling, because she’s in every single frame of the movie pretty much. It was fine. It was cool being a part of a movie of that scale. That was the first time I have been a part of a movie that big. It was fun. Even if you’re in a movie for one scene, you’re still going to over analyze that scene the first time you see it.
JJ: You usually play pretty likeable characters, was it fun playing a jerk?
JJ: Was it easy for you?
MT: Yes. I grew up with sisters, I’ve always been kind of picked on, by women. So in this movie, I think, I wanted to make Peter more likeable. In the book, in “Divergent” at least, he’s pretty one dimensional, in terms of he’s always calling Tris a stiff and he’s stabbing somebody in the eye and stuff. It was pretty vicious. Once we embodied him, and found him in a movie, we kind of made him a real person. It was just at the age. These kids in the book are like 16, 17 in the movie, whatever, we’re ya know, teenagers. We kind of made him more of an annoyance to Tris and not pure evil.
JJ: The fight scene between you and Shailene looked brutal. When you do those, do you get beat up at all?
MT: Yeah. I mean, you rehearse it for a couple of weeks, and when you’re rehearsing it, you’re going full speed but at the same time, there’s no cameras on. You’re a little more careful with things. Once it comes time to shoot it, and everyone’s around watching and it’s something you’ve been practicing for a while, you get the adrenaline going, and this and that. That’s what’s hard, having all the adrenaline, and remembering all the technique you learned so that somebody doesn’t get hurt. But yeah, I think it’s inevitable that you’re going to end up getting hit for real, or you’re going to bang a knee, and get some scrapes and stuff. There’s one particular thing, when Shailene punches me in the throat, it’s just a quick little bit, but when we filmed it, she was just so timid with that, with punching somebody in the throat. Which is understandable, so we had to go to the side and do that one hit like 15 times, until she finally got up the nerve to be able to hit me there.
JJ: How was it working with her again? Going from a love interest in The Spectacular Now to an enemy, was it easy to switch gears?
MT: It was pretty funny when I got to set on Divergent, just seeing her do push-ups and fighting, and all of this stuff. My only experience with Shai, work wise, was Spectacular Now. I knew that she climbed trees, went hiking, and was a pretty active person, but she tried calling me Sutter and stuff. I told her to cut that sh-t out, because we’re trying to be enemies.
JJ: Describe your co-stars in one word. Shailene Woodley.
JJ: Theo James.
MT: Sexual Predator.
JJ: Zoe Kravitz.
JJ: Ansel Elgort.
JJ: Jai Courtney.
JJ: Tony Goldwyn.
JJ: Has your experience with fans changed at all, since Divergent has such a big fan following?
MT: This is the first time I’ve been a part of something where fans come out in this large of numbers. I feel like I’m in a boy band, there’s a bunch of screaming girls and posters, and signs that say, “Will you marry me?” They want me to sign their arm. I took a thousand selfies. It’s cool, it’s an interesting thing to experience at this point in my life. Yeah, it’s fun. I think it’s cool any time you get a bunch of people that are willing to stand in line for hours and hours just because they love these characters and they love this book. They’re not afraid to wear a shirt that says “Divergent”, and all that. I think it’s pretty cool.
JJ: Who did you get to hang out with most on set? Do you have a favorite off-screen moment?
MT: I pranked Ben Lloyd-Hughes pretty good. That was funny. Veronica Roth came on set one day and she was talking to the cast and everything, and at one point, I just asked her, in front of Ben and Christian [Madsen], “If there was one character you could bring back from the dead, who would it be?” And she was like, “Oh, It would have to be Will. I always liked Will.” And so Ben was feeling pretty good about himself. What I did is I had somebody buy flowers, a balloon, and a card, and put them in his room, his dressing room. I wrote this letter, and it basically said, “Dear Ben, it was such a pleasure meeting you today. Will was always one of my favorite characters. I would love to talk to you more about that character. Give me a call please, any time. Love, Veronica.” Then I put Jai’s phone number, and so we get in the van and Ben has got his card, his balloon, and all this stuff. He’s glowing, he’s literally glowing. He thinks that Will is coming back from the dead. He literally told somebody, “Will is going to come back from the dead and have a spinoff, or some sh-t like The Ghost of Will or something.” He’d be texting Jai and I’d be texting back all this pseudo flirty stuff. Then it got to the point where they were going to have a meet down in the lobby for beer or something, and he called the number and it started ringing in Jai’s pocket. Also, we just started feeling bad because he thought he was coming back from the dead.
JJ: How long did this go on?
MT: For about a week.
JJ: Your character Peter has a bigger role in the next film. Are you excited for that?
MT: Yeah! I’m actually going to be doing Insurgent and Fantastic Four at the same time this summer. It will be kind of a back and forth deal. Yeah, it’s always nice to have a character’s arc get a little more flushed out. I’m looking forward to maybe showing the sweeter, softer side of Peter that people don’t see.
JJ: There’s a lot of hype over The Fantastic Four. What was that audition like?
MT: Yeah, I went in for a test as they call it, and I read with Mike [B. Jordan] and Kate [Mara] and [director Josh] Trank was there. We just kind of put it down in front of the studio and the studio gave it a thumbs up. I showed ‘em my abilities to stretch and shape shift, they were very impressed by that. (LOL)
JJ: Did you audition specifically for Mr. Fantastic or did you audition for another role?
MT: Yeah. Mike had the Human Torch locked up for a while. He didn’t say anything about it, because the movie wasn’t a hundred percent a go and all that stuff. That was really the only part. I could have played The Thing but, then I’m covered in rocks. I don’t want to cover up my face, you know?
JJ: Are you excited to work with Mike again?
MT: Yeah Mike’s great. We’re going to be down in Baton Rouge, for like five months. I think we’re going to have a good time.
JJ: If you weren’t an actor, what would you be doing right now?
MT: Umm… I feel like I would be Jared Leto. I just think we’re kind of kindred spirits, and I feel like, if I weren’t me, the only person that kind of compares to me would be Jared Leto.
JJ: Could you grow your hair out like his?
MT: Uh, yeah. You can’t be Jared Leto without those locks. If I wasn’t Jared Leto, and I wasn’t myself… When I was younger, I had an interest in broadcast journalism, like sportscasting. Sportscasting and cooking. I went to a cooking camp and a film/television summer camp thing when I was younger. I always liked cooking.
JJ: If you were cooking for a girl, what’s your go to meal?
MT: You know, I could mix it up. The other day, I took ground turkey and made tacos out of it. And I thought that was a nice alternative. I can cook a pretty mean steak. I’m versatile.
PHOTO SHOOT CREDITS —–
Miles is wearing all Prada.