Andrew Neyman is an ambitious young jazz drummer, who enrolls at a cutthroat music conservatory under the tutorship of an instructor equally known for his teaching talents as his terrifying methods.
Miles Teller, who plays Andrew, says he went into a kind of hibernation during the 19-day shoot:
“For this movie, I did shut myself off socially. It was the first time I did a movie that I didn’t want to have any of Miles’ extracurricular activities bleeding into. Plus it would be weird to leave this character – be on set as Andrew for 12 hours, get done Friday night and be like, ‘Yo, where’s the…’ That’s how I talk, you know what I mean,” says the young actor.
Andrew’s passion to achieve perfection spirals into obsession, as his ruthless teacher – played by a terrifying JK Simmons – pushes him to the brink of his ability and of his sanity.
‘Whiplash’ is Damien Chazelle's directorial debut. He based it on his own experience as an aspiring drummer.
“I think I also wanted to paint a portrait of a really hyper-competitive world, a world where everyone is sort of out for their own skin. (…) This is a vocational music school, so these people are all looking to get one of those spots at Lincoln Center or in one of the top big bands. And there are not enough spots. So everyone is kind of back-stabbing and everyone is sort of climbing to the top. So there is that hostility, that in-bred competitiveness. And yet when they play together as an ensemble, you hear this wonderful whole, you know. And that, to me, is the irony of it,” says the young director.
The critically acclaimed film took the Sundance film festival by storm earlier this year, netting both the Grand Jury Prize and the Dramatic Audience Award.
‘Whiplash’ by Damien Chazelle is on global release from mid-October.