Yesterday, Esquire published a profile of actor Miles Teller that you could tell from the very headline was going to be controversial: "Miles Teller Is Young, Talented, and Doesn't Give a Rat's Ass What You Think." It's a bold claim, so the magazine pulled back a bit in the subhed. "Our latest cover star is on a quest for greatness. Sometimes that can involve a bit of dickishness too." That part was a bit more eh, what can you do? These talented youths can be hot-headed in their pursuit for fame and fortune. The rest of the interview is written in the second person, placing the reader in the author/interviewer Anna Peele's seat at the Luminary restaurant in Atlanta. It questions whether Teller's talent and artistic output thus far justifies what seems to be stated as more of an empirical fact than an opinion: That Miles Teller is a dick. Well, the evidence is presented more like a series of vignettes posed as questions to the reader. Does having the number 32 tattooed in Roman numerals on one's arm because he and his buddies used to crush 32 oz. beers in high school, so they all got the same tattoo in solidarity and remembrance of those days, a dick make? How about telling both Peele and their waitress that "the highball glass is modeled after his cock?" Perhaps it's the direct messages Teller sent to five-time NBA champion Kobe Bryant on Twitter, saying that he, "[R]eally related to what you're talking about and striving for greatness and how it can oftentimes be an isolated journey, and how relationships can be a weakness in a way, if you're really kind of going after it" in Bryant's Showtime documentary? Is it bragging about wasting one's college years at a prestigious university (NYU) smoking pot? The evidence towards Miles Teller's alleged dickishness is piled on. He sued his college roommate. He sent Whiplash director Damien Chazelle a text message saying "What the fuck, bro?" after Teller was dropped from Chazelle's upcoming film. We're never presented with anyone's side of the story besides Teller's, so it's hard to know if the stories are hard truths, and perhaps underneath the bawdy, smug, raconteur stylings, there's a bit of hurt. The profile, of course, sent the Internet into a tizzy. There's been mounting evidence for a while that Teller is extremely confident, verging on cocky. In October 2014, The New York Times called it an "audacious desire to be recognized as one of the greats." However, Teller has always seemed to fall on the fun side of arrogant bro (sort of like his character in The Spectacular Now). His showboating means you'll always have a great time with him, but it also might be concealing a more sensitive soul within who's afraid of getting hurt or exposing his true self. Teller tweeted his dismay about the interview to Esquire. "@esquire couldn't be more wrong. I don't think there's anything cool or entertaining about being a dick or an asshole. Very misrepresenting," he wrote. His Fantastic Four costars rushed to his defense as well.
MTV News correspondent Josh Horowitz also jumped into conversation, tweeting, "I know @Miles_Teller. Sometimes he says insane things that I love to give him crap for. He's also a good guy & a great actor. Ignore the hate." On Cosmopolitan.com (which, it should be noted, is also owned by Hearst, Esquire's parent company), author Patti Greco argues that: A. He's just bein' Miles, and B. Can we let Miles Teller live!? The last thing the world needs are more bland celebrities that have been silenced by the media's harsh, condemning portrayal of them, Greco says. The "Esquire Article Threatens to Turn Miles Teller Into a Boring Celebrity," proclaims the headline of her piece. She includes several examples of times in the past when Teller has come across as "slightly arrogant, bro-y, and hungover." That's his thing; don't make him hide his true self. Does Teller's response to the Esquire profile signal that the media has finally succeeded in silencing him? In the future, will Miles Teller give the same boring soundbites that most celebrities do? Is that all a moot point, because the profile actually proved once and for all that Miles Teller is actually an irredeemable dick? Should we maybe stop referring to people as dicks, and their actions as evidence of their "dickishness?" Will this affect his career going forward? What an existential quandary a simple celebrity profile hath wrought. One thing we do know, however, is that Esquire's headline was wrong. Miles Teller does seem to give a rat's ass what we think. (Esquire) P.S. While this article pertains mostly to the written profile of Miles Teller in Esquire, we'd also like to take a moment to call for an end to the "faceless, nameless, naked woman draped over young stud" style of photographs that accompany the piece. Thank you very much.