In 2014, Miles Teller made a name for himself in Hollywood as an obsessed jazz drummer in the film Whiplash and the ill-tempered antagonist in Divergent. During the COVID-19 pandemic, actors faced scarce workloads like many other professions. Now, Teller is back and better than ever. He’s coming off the success of Tom Cruise‘s summer blockbuster Top Gun: Maverick.
The 35-year-old also stars in a recently released Netflix thriller, which reunites him with Top Gun: Maverick director Joseph Kosinski. Here’s what you need to know about Spiderhead and Teller’s relationship with Kosinski.
‘Spiderhead’ is a psychological thriller on Netflix
On June 11, 2022, Spiderhead premiered on Netflix, just three weeks after the theatrical release of Top Gun: Maverick. Written by Paul Wernick and Rhett Reese of Deadpool and Zombieland fame, Spiderhead stars Teller, Chris Hemsworth, and Jurnee Smollett.
Spiderhead is based on “Escape From Spiderhead,” a short story by George Saunders, published in The New Yorker in 2010. Hemsworth plays the role of a brilliant visionary Steve Abnesti. Thinking he is saving the world, the mad scientist locks himself away on a remote island in a high-tech research facility (Spiderhead Penitentiary). There, he conducts unethical experiments on prisoners who volunteered for his program.
Teller is one of the prisoners receiving mind-altering drugs, forced to act against his will. Together with Smollett (Lizzy), who plays his love interest, the two rebel as they try to break free of Abnesti’s control.
IMDb explains that when Teller’s character (Jeff) receives “a new pharmaceutical capable of generating feelings of love, he begins questioning the reality of his emotions and sets out to discover the truth.”
The tense action thriller pushes boundaries, despite several attempts at humor, as the prisoners reckon with their past crimes.
Critics are unimpressed with the film thus far. Rotten Tomatoes gives it a 40% audience score as of publication. It reports, “Spiderhead’s top-shelf cast and well-written source material are almost enough to compensate for its frequent failure to live up to its potential.”
‘Spiderhead’ is the third collaboration between Miles Teller and JosephKosinski
According to Variety, Spiderhead is Kosinski’s fifth film as director. In 2010, he made his directorial debut, working with Hemsworth in Tron: Legacy. The new Netflix thriller is the director’s third collaboration with Teller. In 2017, they worked for the first time together on Only the Brave. This action-packed film focuses on the brotherhood of a close-knit group of firefighters.
They joined forces again in 2022 for Top Gun: Maverick. The movie, which faced several delays due to the pandemic, premiered just three weeks before Spiderhead.
More than 30 years later, the Top Gun sequel has become a box office sensation, already the highest-grossing film of the year. Variety reports, “‘Top Gun: Maverick’ has roared past the $800 million mark at the global box office, and by crossing that milestone it now ranks as the highest-grossing film in Tom Cruise’s storied career.”
Miles Teller is a superhero at heart
Both Hemsworth and Teller have appeared in superhero films based on Marvel Comics. Hemsworth is best known for his role as Thor in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Teller played Reed Richards/Mr. Fantastic in Fantastic Four.
The Allegiant actor told Comic Book that he is open to returning to the franchise to reprise his superhero role. He claimed, “I think at the end of the day, you’re just looking for a well-written character that hopefully you think touches on some things that you could do, and you could bring it to life.”
Teller also noted that Marvel has “Some of the most particular fans in the world, but if you can satisfy that crowd and you can have fun doing it, then I mean, that’s great.”
Even Smollett has taken a swing at being a superhero, playing Black Canary in the 2020 DCEU film Birds of Prey.