Miles Teller bulks up and goes for broke in ‘Bleed For This’
Downingtown native ‘inspired by everyday people’
Miles Teller credits his hardhitting performance as badass boxer Vinny Paz in “Bleed For This” to his upbringing in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
Born in Downingtown, and partly raised there as well as Cape May, N.J., the actor says he understood the Rhode Islandreared Paz’s never-say-die attitude thanks to the folks he knew while living in the Northeast.
“I was born in PA and all of my dad’s family is from WilkesBarre,” says Teller. “And I grew up in South Jersey for awhile. My mom’s from South Jersey, which is basically like Philly East.
“The Northeast has a very specific kind of energy and even though Rhode Island is totally different from PA and New Jersey, I’ve just been around guys [like Vinny] my entire life. And I think that made him very relatable to me.”
As his performance in “Whiplash” is proof, Teller has played determined characters before. But World Champion boxer Vinny Paz ranks as one of the strongestwilled athletes in sports history.
Following a horrific car accident in which his spine was nearly severed, Paz was told he needed to have his neck fused to guarantee he’d be able to walk again.
Instead, the grappler refused treatment and began training to go back into the ring. Co-starring in the biopic are Aaron Eckhart, Ciarin Hinds and Katey Sagal.
For Teller, the biggest challenge was shaping his physique to look like that of a world-class fighter.
“The physicality was very tough, to get that look, just to be able to have the conditioning to be able to shoot a boxing fight,” says the actor.
Teller began losing weight eight months before the production began. Thanks to “eating like a rabbit,” as the actor says, and constant working out, he dropped 20 pounds and got himself down to six percent body fat.
“Even when I was on set [for other movies], if I had any time in between, I was always doing something like push-ups or situps,” he recalls. “It’s funny because I was always anti-[working out] early on in my career. I was, like, I don’t want to be that guy with a six-pack and a tan who’s
“I’ve been lucky to be put in a nice position, as far as acting goes, where I’m able to get some good scripts. I’m more than willing to give everything to them, and I just think they’re cool stories.” — Miles Teller
Left to right: Ciaran Hinds, Miles Teller and Aaron Eckhart in “Bleed For This.”