There’s nothing like a brush with death to put life into perspective. That’s part of the journey Miles Teller has taken. Maybe it underscores his unique brand of comic intensity; maybe it’s equipped him with the sexy bravado of a young man who’s defied some odds. No matter how you spin it, the actor’s low-key rugged handsomeness is holding our attention, which is exactly why he’s featured in the August issue of InStyle (on newsstands now). Teller, the leading man in the upcoming rom-com Two Night Stand, in theaters Aug. 22, was involved in a car accident that nearly took his life. “Surviving that really puts things into context. I’ve learned that you never really know what anyone else is going through at any given time,” he says. “And I definitely don’t focus on small, petty things.”
The 27-year-old actor has recently been cast in a boxing biopic and is trying to exercise some restraint when it comes to his health habits. “I’m doing intense circuit training six days a week, and I really have to watch what I eat. It’s not easy,” he laments. But this rising star is known for not shying away from hard work: He practiced so hard for his role as a jazz drummer in this year’s Sundance hit Whiplash, that he bloodied his hands. (“Jazz drumming is the highest form of percussion,” he says.)
The intense workout regimen has also transformed the normally boyish Teller (he played a high-school student in last year’s widely acclaimed drama The Spectacular Now, opposite Shailene Woodley) into a more mature-looking actor. From certain angles in this light, small scars on his face and chin become visible, evidence of a car crash that nearly killed him in 2007. Teller is slightly imperfect, but it’s a look that everyone is just fine with. In fact, he’s banking on it. “Male-model types, these Abercrombie & Fitch–looking guys as leads in movies is a recent thing. They don’t stick around,” Teller says. “Guys who traditionally played the leads in romantic comedies weren’t classically good-looking—Bill Murray, Steve Martin, Chevy Chase, Tom Hanks—but they are great actors. Bill Murray’s the man. I welcome any comparisons to him, especially.”
When it comes to style, the actor’s choices are pretty bro-centric. He notes flannel shirts and henley tees as his go-to items, but opts for a classic Prada suit when he wants to spice up his game. “I don’t really care about any of that stuff, I’ve always done well for myself,” Teller shares. “But my agent once told me that if I wanted to play a lead, I should take more time in the morning: ‘Do your hair, wear shirts that fit a little better, and go to the gym a bit more.’ I was like, ‘It’s all about the acting, man.’ He was like, ‘This is Hollywood.’ He was right.”
For the full story on Miles Teller, pick up the August issue of InStyle, available on newsstands and for digital download now.