LOS ANGELES – “We were just a couple of dinguses.”
That's J.K. Simmons, on his “Whiplash” co-star Miles Teller, who he calls “cocky little smartass.” In our interview this week, Simmons also called the forthcoming “Fantastic Four” star “a gifted and hard working and dedicated young actor.”
It's a good thing that the pair held down a light-hearted relationship and mutual appreciation outside of their scenes in the music school-centered drama. Simmons' bandleader character Fletcher in “Whiplash” is a hard, emotionally traumatizing and (at times) physically violent counterpart to Teller's drum-playing Andrew, who aspires to be one of the greatest musicians of all time.
“I think it's over the line, I think it's too much,” Simmons said of his character's teaching and leading approach. “I don't respond to authority figures who abuse their authority. I do respond well to a director, a teacher, someone who doesn't accept mediocrity.”
“Whiplash” certainly wasn't a mediocre performance from Simmons, since he's in the mix for a potential Best Supporting Actor nomination for the 2015 Oscars.
To which the “Spider-Man” actor reacts: “Aw shucks.”
“It's a beautiful thing to be mentioned that way. It makes me feel good. It brings attention to the movie.”
Watch the rest of our interview, and take note of Simmons' touching story about working with Sidney Poitier on 1997's “The Jackal”: “Not at all in a condescending or sermon-from-the-mount kind of way, he was always willing to offer me benefits of his wisdom and experience.”
“Whiplash” is in theaters today (Oct. 10).