This weekend, the much talked about drama Rabbit Hole will hit theaters and it features possibly one of the best performances of Nicole Kidman’s career. But to be fair, she’s surrounded by a group talented actors including up and comer Miles Teller. The young actor earned the coveted role of Jason, the teenager who accidentally kills the son of Kidman and Aaron Eckhart’s characters. We recently had a one on one interview with Teller and asked about the grueling auditioning process he went through to land the part.
Rabbit Hole marks his feature film debut, which will be followed up by the highly anticipated remake of 1984′s Footloose where he’ll star as Willard. Find out more below…
This movie is getting a lot of love from critics. Is it true that this was your first feature film gig?
Miles Teller: Yes, it was my very first feature film. It was actually one of my first auditions. I did this episode of “The Unusuals” in March and that was the only thing I had done before and I’d got the audition for this. I literally hadn’t even graduated college yet. I was graduating in like two weeks when I found out that I’d got the project.
How was the auditioning process? Did you audition with Nicole?
MT: No. I was supposed to. I had my first audition, then I got a call back with John [Cameron-Mitchell. Then I got a call from my manager that night saying that I was down to like the final two or three. I was going to have one final chemistry reading with Nicole and after that, they were going to call me that night. Nobody ended up calling me, so I thought I just didn't get the part or something happened. I got a call the next day from John and he was just calling to personally offer me the role. Then I met Nicole for a lunch and the next thing I know we're shooting a movie. I'm like this is crazy.
Did you read the play from which it's based beforehand?
MT: As soon as I got the part my mom went out and bought the play but I didn't read it. I just wanted to take this story, and this character from the ground up. I didn't want to sort of inherit it, even though it's the same character. So I never read it and I still haven't, although I would read it now. I guess I need to ask my mother for a copy.
Without giving too much away, you have a confrontational scene that includes you, Aaron, and Nicole. It's very intense. How did it feel to have Aaron yell at you in his Two-Face voice?
MT: With Aaron, the first scene I shot was that scene in the kitchen. There was no rehearsal. We kind of walked through the scene very bare bones just to kind of lay the ground work for it. Literally the last time I'd seen him was as Two-Face in Batman so then [the director yells] ‘action’ and I walk into the house and the next thing you know I’m talking to him and it was like the most surreal, out of body experience. The moment was bigger than me.
That must have been a big deal considering that was your first scene, in your first movie, and you were getting attacked by one of the most talented actors around.
MT: Aaron’s yelling at me, and I think he’s one of the scariest people when he yells. He’s very intense. He’s got kind of a Pacino thing going for him almost. It was very surreal but deep down inside I was smiling somewhere.
How many takes did you have to do to get it right?
MT: I couldn’t look at Aaron in character. I couldn’t look at Nicole in character. I was just seeing them as these public figures and as these actors who I’m a fan of. You know, I’m an actor, we’re all actors, we all started from the same place but obviously their resumes are vastly different [laughs]. It really took me a couple scenes to just let it all sink in. To just really block out who these people were. I actually had to give myself a little pep talk. The first couple takes I just felt like I sucked. ‘Like OK, don’t let this moment slip away. You’re here to be an actor.”
The next film we’ll see you in is Footloose. Will it be a straight remake, a reboot, or a reimagining?
MT: It’s definitely a remake but it’s different. It’s obviously a more contemporary version and we’re not playing to those original characters. Craig Brewer, the writer and director, he adapted this screenplay from Dean Pitchford’s version.
In the film you play Willard, the role that was originated by Chris Penn. Do you feel any pressure there?
MT: Obviously, I’m a much different person than Chris Penn, Kenny [Wormald] is different from Kevin Bacon, and so on and so forth. It’s very true to the original but it stands on its own. It’s a lot of fun.
Last but not least, will you be dressed as a cowboy and will you snap your fingers at any point during the film?
MT: I think my best outfit in the film is when I wear overalls with a cowboy hat and cowboy boots. I snap the fingers and I get a dance montage to “Let’s Hear it for the Boy.”
Rabbit Hole opens in limited release on December 17. Go see it!