Photo: Courtesy of Summit Entertainment.
If you don't know Miles Teller, now's the time to get familiar. The 27-year-old actor burst onto the scene last year with his critically acclaimed performance in The Spectacular Now, but he's going to take 2014 by storm. Things kicked off with a hilarious turn in That Awkward Moment, and later this month he'll be seen in the heavily anticipated Divergent — not to mention upcoming roles in Fantastic Four and the Sundance hit Whiplash.
But, the sudden fame doesn't appear to have gone to his head, because he can still crack a joke with the best of 'em. Teller attended this weekend's press conference for the soon-to-be-released Divergent and stole the show with his off-kilter riffs about, well, everything. "I play Peter, and his fans are calling themselves Peter's Princesses," he said to introduce himself to the room of reporters. "I just wanted to throw that out there. I love you all — each and every one of you, and I hear you."
Teller's character is a member of Dauntless, the faction that the main character Tris (played by his Spectacular Now costar Shailene Woodley) also belongs to. The two are anything but friends — in fact, Peter aims to make Tris' initiation into the coveted faction a living hell. But, Teller was still able to find some redeeming factors in his on-screen alter ego. "I don't think anybody wakes up and thinks 'I want to be mean today,'" he said. "I think it comes from some kind of inner conflict, which Veronica [Roth, the author] talks about in the later books. Peter actually has a really nice arc by the end of everything."
Teller's character is a nice change of pace from the frat-bro tendencies of his earlier roles, which portray him as the life of the party (a persona we're pretty sure isn't far from his real life). Divergent's big-time studio budget was also a brand new experience for the former indie darling. The entire flick was shot on location in Chicago, where the trilogy takes place and producers took painstaking measures to ensure the futuristic dystopian city was as real as possible.
"There actually wasn't a lot of green screen," Teller said. "Pretty much everything you see is just cool sets — and all those abandoned buildings are real. It's not like they dressed that up. The buildings we were in were leaking when it was snowing. It was cold. There was dirt and dust. Production did a great job on that, so thanks guys for exposing us to that."
Miles may be a relative newbie as far as Hollywood stars go, but it's clear he's used to commanding a room. He takes every opportunity to show off his goofy side and takes great pleasure in making people laugh — even in response to a seemingly serious question. When asked which role of his showed audiences a different side of the actor, his answer had the room blushing.
"I think when I wore nothing but a tube sock in 21 & Over," he joked. "It made people realize that there's a lot of muscle underneath these clothes. I just think the audience liked seeing what I was working with." Now, if you'll excuse us, we're off to rent a copy of 21 & Over. It's all in the name of research, right?