Miles Teller has been staying at the Marshall House since Sunday, and will take bows after tonight’s Savannah Film Festival screening of Bleed For This (Open Road, 11.4), which I saw and favorably reviewed at Telluride. Director-writer Ben Younger along with former world-champion boxer Vinny Paz, whom Teller portrays, will attend also.
I saw Teller a couple of days ago in front of the Marshall House. Shooting shit with fans, posing for selfies, etc. He was wearing shorts and a pair of flaming turquoise-blue cross-training shoes. He no longer has the blonde hair he was wearing last August for his role in Joseph Kosinski‘s Granite Mountain, so I guess that’s done. Yesterday he sat down for a Master Class (i.e., a sit-down discussion) with SCAD students.
This morning I tried to arrange a fast interview wth Teller (we’re both in town, our hotels only six blocks apart), but the word came back that Teller is “too busy.” Too busy posing for selfies, they meant. Or too pissed off about my “don’t be a pervert, man” posts. But that’s okay. He’s a live-wire actor who never bores. He just needs to keep being that.
As you’ve heard by now, Bleed For This is a true-life comeback saga about a boxer (Paz or Vincenzo Edward Pazienza) who not only recovered from a broken neck in a 1991 car crash but returned to the ring for over a decade and went on to beat Robert Duran twice.
“Bleed is intense, gripping, pounding — at times familiar and difficult to watch but well assembled,” I wrote on 9.5.16. “And the acting is right in the pocket. Miles Teller delivers an obvious Best Actor-ish performance — he sweats, strains, gives it serious hell, shrieks, pushes hard, delivers.
“Paz isn’t a sweet or vulnerable character — he’s a hammerhead. His heyday nickname was ‘the Tazmanian Devil.’ But Teller, no stranger to pain or blood or car crashes, owns the territory.”
There’s a general impression out there that Teller is a hammerhead also. A pusher, a rammer, assertive, intense, screwed down. And talented. It’s still fair to acknowledge that August 2015 Anna Peele profile in Esquire, which did him no favors. He was still smarting about it a couple of months ago. But life moves on.
“Set in working-class Rhode Island and featuring wall-to-wall Italian-American goombah types (gold neck chains, loud emotional outbursts, flat vowels), Bleed For This will inevitably be compared to to David O. Russell’s The Fighter, but where is it written that only one film or filmmaker can go to town with this kind of material?
“Younger hasn’t directed a feature for over for a decade. Boiler Room (’00) and Prime (’05) were his first two films. I don’t know what he’s been up to he’s definitely back on the stick. Bleed For This is about Younger’s comeback as well as Paz’s.
“Aaron Eckhart, as Paz’s trainer Kevin Rooney, is also in line for some Best Supporting Actor action, and not just because he shaved his head and gained weight but jettisoned his natural speaking voice and really became this other guy.”
Again, Open Road will open Bleed For This on 11.4.16.