Last year’s ‘Fantastic Four’ should have been Miles Teller’s big break. The charismatic young actor has had stand-out roles in smaller budget dramas and romantic comedies like ‘Whiplash’, ‘The Spectacular Now’ and ‘That Awkward Moment’. He even has a recurring role in YA sci fi adaptations ‘The Divergent Series’, the newest of which, ‘Allegiant’ is in theaters now. But playing the leader of a well-known comic book superhero team should have elevated him to a much higher profile, with a sequel due next summer.
But ‘Fantastic Four’ was doomed before it really had a shot. It was 20th Century Fox’s desperate attempt to retain the rights to a franchise it had licensed from Marvel Comics and used to churn out two mediocre films in 2005 and 2007. Rather than letting Marvel reclaim those rights, Fox attempted this reboot, bringing in indie filmmaker Josh Trank and hiring talented young actors, including Teller, Michael B. Jordon, Kate Mara and Jamie Bell. But due to a combination of factors, including studio meddling and having a director who’d never handled a big budget studio tentpole flick, not to mention rather unprecedented public ill-will, the film crashed and burned.
But rather than trash the productions (like, um, Kate Mara), Teller remains diplomatic and looks back on it as a learning experience.
“I think it was Clooney who said you can make a bad movie out of a good script, you can’t make a good movie out of a bad script, and that’s very true. If they’re telling you maybe your part’s not as big and they say, ‘Oh you’re gonna be bigger in the sequel’ or ‘Oh we’re gonna rewrite’ and ‘Yeah we’re gonna take in all these notes,’ if you’re in a position where you can say hold off I’m not signing off on this dotted line until this script is exactly where you want it, then you’re in a very fortunate position. Because I know actors that have been in literally Oscar-winning performances that told me that script was a struggle every day to get it to a place that [they] wanted it, and [they] were always fighting for the best version of it.
“People think that when you make something like a Fantastic Four that doesn’t do well, people think ‘Oh you phoned it in’ and it couldn’t be more untrue. You work harder on the bad films, or the films that turn out maybe not the way you intended, because something’s not working. And I thought it was kind of unjustly critiqued that way; there are even bigger bombs if you’re looking at how much money went into the production and what they reaped back. But I think it’s unfortunate a movie like that becomes a scarlet letter on a resume when so many talented people worked really hard and maybe a handful of people took it in a negative direction. But so many people worked really hard on that that are so talented.”
Well next summer’s ‘Fantastic Four’ sequel is clearly not coming. Neither is another planned Trank/Teller collaboration– the young ‘Han Solo’ movie.
Before ‘FF’ even happened, Trank had been tapped by Disney to direct a movie telling the backstory of possibly the most popular character in the ‘Star Wars’ legend. And Teller met with the studio in hopes of playing the lead. However, as news of the debacle on ‘FF’ became public knowledge, Disney removed Trank from the project. (Phil Lord and Christopher Miller are now helming.) And it seems Teller was dismissed as a candidate.
“I had never even seen any of the original Star Wars movies until maybe a month or a couple weeks before my first audition because I was like, ‘I should check this out’ [Laughs]. It holds up. I just love Harrison Ford. I think that’s a great character. I love his brand, I mean so many guys would’ve played that part so wrong and he has humor at the right times. Harrison Ford is a very big actor, when you see the facial expressions and the things he does he goes big, but he’s just always the coolest guy in the room and he’s got all of those great qualities.”
So obviously Teller auditioned. But as per the latest reports, Disney is currently eyeing ‘Transformers 4”s Jack Reynor and ‘Hail, Caesar!”s Alden Ehrenreich.
Teller will next be seen in the true life biopic ‘Bleed For This’ as boxer Vinny Pazienza, who overcame a near fatal car crash to make a major comeback, comedy ‘Get A Job’ with Anna Kendrick and is currently filming a drama, ‘Thank You For Your Service’ about U.S. military veterans dealing with post traumatic stress disorder.
Having endured both the production and critical drubbing of ‘Fantastic Four’, Teller has some experience with trauma.
As stated, he can currently be seen in ‘The Divergent Series: Allegiant’.