The arc of Miles Teller’s acting career has coincided with his physical development and maturation—both of which seem to have peaked in Bleed for This.
In the span of a few years, Teller has gone from a browbeaten drummer in Whiplash to the lean Reed Richards in Fantastic Four. Now, he steps all the way into the spotlight, with a suitably with a ripped physique.
Teller’s latest artistic undertaking centers on the storied career and tumultuous life of five-time lightweight boxing champion Vinny “the Pazmanian Devil” Pazienza (now Vinny Paz). The Rhode Island-born scrapper was a famously intense athlete, constantly dropping and adding weight (while battling the ensuing dehydration) to claim two title wins in two different weight classes.
The story likely would have stopped there, but at the peak of his career, Pazienza suffered a devastating car accident that nearly left him paralyzed. Immobilized with a huge, cumbersome brace designed to help him heal two broken vertebrae, Pazienza was faced with a grueling recovery just to move and walk again—let alone reclaim a shadow of his former championship ability.
As with Paz’s road to recovery, the stakes for Teller in Bleed for This are high and margin for error is slim. Martin Scorsese, who originally envisioned the project, is on as executive producer. Meanwhile, Teller’s career is reaching a new height. In his October 2015 Men’s Fitness cover story, Teller detailed how he trained and to get into peak athletic shape for his role.
“Honestly, when I read the script,” Teller said in his profile, “I was like, ‘This is going to be really great for someone else.’ It was this masculine, macho story about this world champion boxer. I don’t think after people saw Whiplash or That Awkward Moment they thought of me and said, ‘This dude is a badass fucking boxer.’”
Initially a pedestrian 188 pounds and 19% body fat, Teller spent the months before filming on an aggressive diet regimen of protein shakes, chicken, and vegetables, while hitting the bag alongside famous fight gurus like Freddie Roach and Darrell Foster.
By the time he stepped on set, Teller had transformed his body like the “Pazmanian Devil” before him: 168 pounds and 6% body fat.
Set for a November release date, Bleed for This also features Aaron Eckhart as Pazienza’s trainer Kevin Rooney. See the result of Teller’s personal physical revolution as well as the rest that the boxing flick has to offer in this first preview: