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J.K. Simmons toys with Miles Teller in 'Whiplash' clip

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When director Damien Chazelle was in high school in Princeton, N.J., he played drums in his school’s highly competitive jazz ensemble, which was led by an intense conductor who ruled with an iron fist.

“Drums had always been like a fun hobby for me, and for four years, when I was in that ensemble, it became just a source of constant dread and just terror and anxiety,” the 29-year-old director said last winter at the Sundance Film Festival, where his film Whiplash won top prizes. Practicing constantly, under mental if not physical duress, left scars that were still raw when Chazelle decided to write Whiplash. ”This was the most personal thing I’d ever written, and I put it in a drawer for awhile,” he said. ”I was almost embarrassed to show it because it seemed like exposing a part of myself that I didn’t really want exposed.”

The writer/director admits he still has nightmares—nightmares that audiences can understand after meeting J.K. Simmons’s music teacher in Whiplash. Mr. Holland he is not.

In this exclusive scene from the film, which opens in theaters Oct. 10 after recent screenings at the New York Film Festival, Miles Teller’s eager drum prodigy meets the school’s revered conductor, a man who can make or break his future. In a romantic-comedy, this scene might be termed the meet-cute. But in this tense drama, it immediately sets the unsettling tone for the clash of wills to follow.  READ FULL STORY

Miles Teller can't find the right beat in 'Whiplash' trailer

“There are no two words in the English language more harmful than ‘Good job.'”

That’s the fault line on which writer/director Damien Chazelle has built Whiplash. His Sundance sensation stars Miles Teller as a jazz-drum prodigy who earns the attention of his prestigious school’s notorious music maestro (J.K. Simmons). Is genius simply born, or does it need to be forged? How far is a teacher supposed—or allowed—to go to bring out the best in a student, and what are the risks and consequences for such methods?

In the new trailer for the film, Teller’s Andrew Neyman endures physical and psychological punishment as he fumbles to find the right beat and the right answers. READ FULL STORY

Casting Net: Denzel Washington in talks for 'Magnificent Seven' remake; Plus Judi Dench, Zac Efron, more

• Denzel Washington, about to end a run on Broadway in A Raisin in the Sun, is in talks to star in a remake of the 1960 western The Magnificent Seven for MGM. Washington would once again work with Antoine Fuqua, who directed his Oscar-winning performance in Training Day and the upcoming film The Equalizer. Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt had previously been eyed for the project with drafts of the script written by Nic Pizzolatto (True Detective) and most recently John Lee Hancock (The Blind Side). [The Hollywood Reporter] READ FULL STORY

Sundance hit 'Whiplash' snares fall release date

Whiplash, the award-winning Sundance film that stars Miles Teller as an aspiring jazz drummer at the mercy of J.K. Simmons’ tyrannical music teacher, will open in theaters Oct. 10. The film, written and directed by Damien Chazelle and championed by producers Jason Blum and Jason Reitman, was based on Chazelle’s short of the same name and went on to win two top prizes at Sundance. Reitman described the movie as “Shine meets Full Metal Jacket,” and Simmons’ performance as a terrifying bully of a mentor is one that could garner award consideration. Sony Pictures Classics’ decision to release the film in October, as opposed to the summer, certainly helps his candidacy.

Click below to see a clip of Simmons in action: READ FULL STORY

'Whiplash' clip: J.K. Simmons throws a chair at Miles Teller -- VIDEO

Where is the line between genius and madness — and should greatness be nurtured gently, like a beautiful flower, or forged under relentless, crushing pressure, like a perfect diamond? Those are the questions at the heart of Whiplash, the Sundance award winner about a jazz-drummer prodigy (Miles Teller) whose dreams are in the hands of his school’s intense music teacher (J.K. Simmons).

Director Damien Chazelle based the story on his own high-school music trauma, and this scene perfectly captures the mental and physical abuse that Simmons’ character, Terrence Fletcher, wields at his students. The film’s title refers to a jazz composition composed by Hank Levy, but it may as well refer to the damage inflicted by Fletcher in this scene.  READ FULL STORY

'Fantastic Four' casting: Fox zeroes in on its final 4

It’s almost clobberin’ time. Twentieth Century Fox is in serious talks with a quartet of in-demand actors to cast its new Fantastic Four. According to The Wrap, Miles Teller, Kate Mara, Jamie Bell, and Michael B. Jordan are close to signing on for the superhero reboot from director Josh Trank. Jordan, who worked with Trank on Chronicle, has long been rumored to play Johnny Storm, the Human Torch, but Fox declined to confirm that a deal for the Fruitvale Station actor, or the other three stars, had been reached — yet.

Teller, who starred opposite Jordan in That Awkward Moment, is considered the frontrunner for Reed Richards, a.k.a. Mr. Fantastic. Mara (House of Cards) reportedly recently auditioned for the role of Sue Storm, a.k.a. the Invisible Woman, and Bell (AMC’s upcoming series, Turn) is linked to the CG-enhanced rock-hulk, the Thing, a.k.a. Ben Grimm.

Don’t expect Fox to take too much more time to announce their superheros. Fantastic Four already has a release date of June 19, 2015.

Casting Net: Colin Farrell must find love in 'The Lobster'; Plus, Miles Teller, more

• Colin Farrell and Rachel Weisz (The Constant Gardner) have signed on to star in The Lobster, set in a dystopian future where finding a partner is “a matter of life and death.” Dogtooth director Yorgos Lanthimos is making his English-language debut on the project, which also stars Ben Whishaw (Cloud Atlas) and Lea Seydoux (Blue Is the Warmest Color). [THR]

READ FULL STORY

Miles Teller offered role of Dan Aykroyd in John Belushi biopic

Miles Teller—the in-demand star of The Spectacular Now, the upcoming Divergent franchise, and this month’s Sundance opener Whiplash—has been offered the role of Dan Aykroyd in the upcoming biopic of John Belushi, EW has confirmed. Emile Hirsch is set to star as the late comedian, with Steve Conrad writing and directing, and Aykroyd on board as executive producer. Teller’s rep says that the actor is going to hold off on making a final decision until he finishes promotional duties for That Awkward Moment, a rom-com with Zac Efron and Michael B. Jordan that opens in U.S. theaters on Jan. 31.

The Hollywood Reporter first revealed that Hirsch broke the casting news on Saturday night at a Sundance party for the Creative Coalition. “A shout-out to Miles Teller!” he reportedly told the room, where Teller was in attendance. “We’re going to be working together soon. He’s playing Dan Aykroyd in the Belushi movie.”

Meanwhile, Sony Pictures Classic snapped up distribution rights to Whiplash for just under $3 million on Friday.

'Whiplash' stars Miles Teller and Paul Reiser talk about their buzzy Sundance movie

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Fresh off their festival-opening premiere, 28-year-old director Damien Chazelle, and actors Miles Teller, Paul Reiser, Melissa Benoist, and Auston Stowell dropped by EW’s Sundance Lounge to chat about their buzzy new film Whiplash.

Teller and Chazelle described the prep work the 26-year-old actor (who also has a role in the upcoming Divergent movie) had to put in on the drums to play his character Andrew Neiman, a brilliant, driven young jazz drummer under the tutelage of an abusive maestro played by J.K. Simmons. (EW’s Owen Gleiberman describes the film as “a jazz version of the very good inside-classical-music drama Mr. Holland’s Opus crossed with a drill-sergeant-from-hell classic like An Officer and a Gentleman, with Simmons in the Lou Gossett Jr. role.”) READ FULL STORY

Sundance 2014: 'Whiplash' is the movie that could make Miles Teller a star

The opening-night movie at the Sundance Film Festival is often, almost by design, a mild, light, forgettable affair. A lof of filmmakers don’t want the opening slot, and the basic idea is that the bar can’t be raised too high, because then you’ll risk making all the movies that come afterward look disappointing. But Whiplash, which opened the 30th anniversary edition of Sundance last night, didn’t just raise the bar — it electrified the spirits of everyone who saw it, including me. It stars Miles Teller, who had his breakthrough role in last year’s Sundance favorite The Spectacular Now (and will soon be seen in Divergent), and Whiplash confirms that he’s truly a spectacular actor, with a slightly damaged glamour and a face you can’t stop watching because of all the feelings it registers. Last year, I said that Teller reminded me of Elvis Presley. In Whiplash, he’s more like the young John Cusack, but with a cockiness that never hardens into attitude; it’s open and shifting. He plays Andrew Neiman, a brilliant, driven young jazz drummer who is attending the Schaffer Academy in Manhattan, a (fictional) performing-arts institution that, as presented, is one of the best music schools in the country. There, he comes under the tutelage of the school’s fearsome and legendary taskmaster — a scarily exacting maestro of jazz named Terence Fletcher, played, in a bravura performance, by J.K. Simmons. This isn’t the cuddly, twinkly Simmons we’ve grown used to in recent years. In skin-tight black T-shirts, his shaved head set off by mad-dog eyes and a squiggly vein running down the side of his temple like an electric wire, he’s more like Bruce Willis with three times the ferocity. READ FULL STORY

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