He wants to make that very clear. He cares what people think of him… just not “the public.” Or “people outside of the business.” In a new interview with Vulture, it’s very clear that Miles Teller is still wounded by that infamous Esquire profile that pegged him as “kind of a dick.” Much of the Vulture interview focuses on how Teller reacted to the Esquire piece and whether his title as Young Hollywood’s Reigning Asshole is something he thinks about. He says it’s not.
“Maybe some people have been turned off of me because I take what I’m doing pretty seriously and I don’t feel the need to charm everybody. So, do I think of acting as a popularity contest? No. Was it tough for me when that Esquire article came out? It was.”
When Sarah wrote about the Esquire profile, she called it “spectacularly bad.” Teller did come off as a dick. Even after he tries really hard to convince us he’s not in this Q&A, I still think Miles Teller is a bit of a dick. What’s interesting to me is who Miles Teller is a dick to. I’ve never liked the guy, even before the Esquire piece and even after I physically bumped into him at a TIFF party once and he was apologetic; way more handsome in person. But I’ve heard horror stories from friends who’ve interviewed him at junkets and they describe him just as he was portrayed in Esquire: as a douchebag. So, Teller is sometimes a dick to reporters in junket settings. So is Tom Hardy. And your beloved Ryan Gosling. White male actors can get away with being assholes to reporters without their careers being affected. Most of the time, it’s not something people talk about. It’s actually refreshing that Miles Teller has to spend an entire interview talking about his likeability. Now he knows how Anne Hathaway feels.
The reason men like Tom Hardy or Ryan Gosling or even Leonardo DiCaprio can have dickish tendencies without consequence is that the emphasis is always placed on their work. The format of this Vulture piece is deliberate. There’s a quick introduction and then it’s a straight Q&A, no room for the writer to infer what Teller is trying to say or comment on the way he says it. The style lets Teller’s words speak for themselves and in those words, he attempts to focus on the work. He says he’s a Serious Actor who is just great at his job, which is why people might not like him.
“There’s nothing I can control about how people see me as a person,” says Teller, who spits tobacco juice into a plastic cup throughout our conversation, “but I can control how they think of me as an actor."
That detail about the tobacco is pure gold because I’m not saying chewing tobacco makes you a douchebag but I’ve never met a person who chewed tobacco who wasn’t a douchebag.
Teller also says this:
“I can’t put much weight into whether the public likes me because the more important thing is that, as an actor, I can truly say that there’s not a single director or actor who I’ve worked with who’d have a bad thing to say about me. I’ve never missed a day of work. I’ve never not known a line. So I feel good about where I am.”
And we’re back to WHO Miles Teller is a dick to. He says he’s nice to other actors and the directors he works with. Great. Being nice to your coworkers is expected. No one is going to give you a cookie for doing the bare minimum, Miles. I also think there’s something to be said about someone who just gives off a douchebag vibe. Teller gives off all the douche vibes.
Teller drops a lot of names throughout the Vulture piece. To me, it come across as an attempt to prove his Serious Actor status but it’s also a thing that dicks tend to do. Here’s a list of names he casually interjects into the conversation: Marlon Brando, Lee Strasberg, Robert Duvall, Roger Daltrey (who Teller brings up to share that he told him that, “you’re good. Don’t f-cking sell out”), Hillary Clinton and Joe Pantoliano. He only gets half a brownie point for mentioning my Michael Bae Jordan. Teller also uses the phrase “cold brewski” like it’s a normal thing to say if you’re not a 22-year-old frat boy.
Miles Teller is promoting Thank You For Your Service, a film about war vets that sounds like a necessary story to tell. The thing is, Teller IS putting in the work and seems to have lofty ambitions to separate himself from the Ansel Elgorts, Alden Ehrenreichs and other brunette actors of a similar age, but this likeability thing is going to follow him around. He may not want us to think he cares what “the public” thinks of him but if he’s going to be the “actor of his generation,” people are going to have to not actively dislike him.
Click here for the full interview.