Written by William Pilgrim, II, Staff Writer.
New York–On the surface actor and jazz musician Miles Teller, 29, is remarkably successful. But what his fans don’t know is that the young performer faces psychological torment that he has kept a secret for two years, and with the anniversary of his big musical/theatrical project Whiplash receiving its acclaim at the Academy Awards, his torment persists: His former costar, J. K. Simmons, to this day, remains in character.
Teller, who recently performed in the New York jazz festival, received a call from a blocked number immediately following his performance. “Hello?” Teller answered to a few moments of silence. “I was going to hang up,” the actor told reporters. But then the silence was broken. J. K. Simmons, who received an Academy Award for his portrayal of abusive band teacher Terence Fletcher in the 2014 film Whiplash, was on the other end, apparently using a burner phone. “Miles,” the 61 year old actor began warmly before sharply changing his tone.
“He was calling to criticize my performance in the jazz festival,” Teller told reporters. “It started, you know, constructive. But then he started throwing around the colorful adjectives.”
Simmons, whose character is known for exceptional vulgarity, apparently skewered the young actor for “dragging.” But then, instead of recreating the famous rushing/dragging scene from the film, Simmons apparently began making hurtful comments about Teller’s personal life. Simmons’s criticisms of Teller moved beyond Teller’s drumming deficit, the musician informed reporters. He criticized him as a “weak, spineless” person.
Among the people besides Teller that Simmons’ criticized was Teller’s costar, Kate Mara, of the newest reboot of the Fantastic Four franchise. “She’s a looker. But her acting is almost as bad as yours,” Simmons said as he began to raise his voice into a scream, adding, “you pansy!” Those were apparently among the calmest and genial of Simmons’s comments, for, just as his voice began to grow with intensity, the content of his remarks grew harsher.
As Teller continued with his story, he began to sob. He told reporters he couldn’t help but break into tears at the other end of Simmons’s phone call, the result of which only made Simmons sickeningly amused. The balding actor roared like a hyena, “What are you, a little girl?”
The remainder of the phone call, Teller noted, was an unrelenting attack on his sexuality, followed by threats: “If you do not stop crying, I am going to come over there and shove that phone down your throat!”
The abusive calls continued, and Teller finally resorted to getting a restraining order. But Simmons, who is apparently hooked on the adrenaline of abusive criticism, did not change his tune. Instead, he has since begun calling other people for whom he thinks a verbal assault is warranted. Among them have included Adam Sandler, whom Simmons reportedly berated for an hour and a half for his “[censored] [censored] [censored] joke of a career,” which the actor should be “ashamed of.” Sandler, shortly after receiving the call from Simmons, reached out to Teller as a fellow victim of Simmons’s abuse. “I could barely make out who it was, or what he was saying. He was inconsolable at first, angry, confused, grief-stricken,” Teller commented. He added, “He was crying incoherently for about 20 minutes before I could make out anything he said.”
When asked about the reason for Sandler’s call, the young actor said, “He just wanted to know how I get through the day.” Choosing his words carefully, Teller added, “While I tried to console Sandler, and tell him everything was going to be all right, I didn’t want to give him false hope. I tried to put it into perspective for him.” He paused, gathering his thoughts, adding, “I mean, J. K. kind of had a point. “Sandler’s career has kind of gone down the toilet.”
William Pilgrim, II graduated from Illinois College of Optometry and he now serves the Chicagoland area, after having spent much of his life in New York. A writer in addition to an optometrist, he primarily serves TTT in a part-time capacity and lists his primary influence as William Carlos Williams. When he’s not examining patients’ eyes or writing, however, he dedicates much of spare time to his passion for playing bari sax.