Interview with actor Miles Teller, star of new comedy 21 & OVER
21 & OVER is being compared to 2012 surprise hit comedy ‘Project X’, which see’s the Hangover writers return to their roots with a premise about an epic 21st birthday party that, of course, goes dangerously over the edge. It’s definitely not a movie for critics and it won’t be picking up any Oscars but that’s not worrying new comer Miles Teller who already has a Sundance Jury award under his belt, the awards can wait…
21 & OVER is the directorial debut from SUPERBAD writers Jon Lucas and Scott , what were they like to work with? Miles Teller: For every one of my punchlines, Jon would give me five alternate lines. If you’re gonna do a comedy the director needs to be funnier than you. And Jon and Scott are the funniest people I’ve ever met.
We hear you improvised an entire monologue in the movie? MT: When I’m pacing back and forth talking about America and Africa and killing bears, all that shit, they just let the camera run. Because I knew that monologue was coming and I said, “Hey man, if you could just leave the camera on and let me just find some stuff, do some stuff, and see what sticks.” All that sh*t’s improv.
So you’re not very different to your character in the movie, a fast-talking funnyman? MT: When I read this character I thought he was the closest thing to my own voice I’d ever read. And John Scott just let me fly. He let me rip into it. There’s a certain energy that, for a movie like this, you have to maintain. Just to give it some drive and propulsion. From the time I was in high school, people would say, “You do this Vince Vaughn thing.”
You won the jury award at Sundance for your role in ‘Spectacular Now’, was that a surprise? MT: Getting awards is nice, but I feel like it’s nicer for my parents, because they can have this award in their room. For me, I’ve always enjoyed doing drama and I’m just most proud of the film. The attention that hopefully the film can get – if my award can add anything to that then that’d be nice. It was just such a special project. It makes me feel like I can do more drama. I’ll step away from comedy for a while. The last three films I did were pretty much comedy.
How does the 21st birthday in ’21 and Over’ compare to your own 21st? MT: On my 21st birthday, some friends flew up from Florida. My mom had printed out these bright green shirts with my face on them, [wearing] a crown – “21st Birthday Champ”. I just walked around New York, bar hopping all day; and people were like, “What’s going on? Are you guys in a band?” My brother’s like, “Yeah, the handsome man band!” It was awesome.
21 is the legal age for alcohol in America. Was that the very first time you drank? MT: I grew up in Florida, about an hour north of Tampa. I started drinking when I was twelve. If you live in the south, by sixth or seventh grade you’re drinking. [Laughs.]