PARK CITY, Utah: 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). Paul Reiser also stars.
The film was written and directed by 28-year-old Damien Chazelle, whose short film of the same title and subject was shown at Sundance last year. Chazelle, also a drummer, said he drew from personal experiences for the story.
Sony Pictures Worldwide announced it acquired the film's international distribution rights just after its premiere.