Sundance Film Fest Opens With 'Whiplash' Premiere

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

PARK CITY, Utah (AP) -- Miles Teller - who can be seen on screen later this month with Zac Efron in "That Awkward Moment" - took four-hour drum lessons three times a week to play the lead in "Whiplash," shown opening night at the Sundance Film Festival.

Teller plays a jazz drummer determined to succeed, whether because of or in spite of an unforgiving instructor, played by J.K. Simmons at his most intimidating (and muscular). Attending the country's most prestigious music academy, Teller's character, Andrew, aspires to be one of the greats, playing until his hands bleed. Simmons is Fletcher, a teacher prone to belittling his students in an effort to unearth their determination and will to improve.

Writer-director Damien Chazelle said he told Simmons: "Just scare us."

The 28-year-old Chazelle, whose short film of the same title and subject won an award at Sundance last year, is also a drummer who drew from personal experiences for the story.

The original film "basically helped us get in the conversation with, like, financiers and people who might want to take a risk about a movie about a drummer," Chazelle said. "Without the short, I don't know if we would be here."

Teller described the film as "a pretty intense, dramatic almost, like, thriller environment for conservatory jazz music."

As for his co-star?

"J.K. Simmons is pretty terrifying," Teller said.

Paul Reiser co-stars as Teller's loving dad - one of two movies Reiser appears in at Sundance. The other is the dark comedy "Life After Beth."

Both "Life After Beth" and "Whiplash" are candidates in the festival's U.S. dramatic competition. Winners will be announced on Jan. 25.

Sony Pictures Worldwide announced it acquired international distribution rights to "Whiplash" just after its premiere.


Join the Conversation!

To comment, the following rules must be followed:

  • No Obscenity, Profanity, Vulgarity, Racism or Violent Descriptions
  • No Negative Community Comparisons
  • No Fighting, Name-calling, Trolling or Personal Attacks
  • Multiple Accounts are Not Allowed
  • Stay on Story Topic

Comments may be monitored for inappropriate content, but the station is under no legal obligation to do so.
If you believe a comment violates the above rules, please use the Flagging Tool to alert a Moderator.
Flagging does not guarantee removal.

Multiple violations may result in account suspension.
Decisions to suspend or unsuspend accounts are made by Station Moderators.
Questions may be sent to comments@kbtx.com. Please provide detailed information.

powered by Disqus
KBTX-TV Channel 3 4141 E. 29th Street Bryan, TX 77802 Phone: (979) 846-7777 Fax: (979) 846-1490 News Fax: (979) 846-188
Gray Television, Inc. - Copyright © 2002-2014 - Designed by Gray Digital Media - Powered by Clickability 240807551