Miles Teller on Spiderhead’s Wild Sex Scenes, Jurnee Smollett


ComingSoon Editor-in-Chief Tyler Treese spoke to Spiderhead star Miles Teller about his role in the upcoming Netflix film, which is out June 17 on the streamer. Teller discussed the film’s over-the-top sex scenes, working with Jurnee Smollett, and more.

RELATED: Spiderhead Interview: Jurnee Smollett on Making Joseph Kosinski’s Netflix Film

“In a state-of-the-art penitentiary run by brilliant visionary Steve Abnesti (Chris Hemsworth), inmates wear a surgically attached device that administers dosages of mind-altering drugs in exchange for commuted sentences,” says the synopsis. “There are no bars, no cells, or orange jumpsuits. In Spiderhead, incarcerated volunteers are free to be themselves. Until they’re not. At times, they’re a better version. Need to lighten up? There’s a drug for that. At a loss for words? There’s a drug for that, too. But when two subjects, Jeff (Miles Teller) and Lizzy (Jurnee Smollett), form a connection, their path to redemption take a twistier turn, as Abnesti’s experiments start to push the limits of free will altogether.”

Tyler Treese: The film is great. What I really loved was that it’s so incredibly dark and there are all these great dramatic moments, but it’s also very funny. It really relishes in the absurdity. What about the script really grabbed you and excited you about this project?

Miles Teller: I mean, I think a lot of the things that you kind of talked about. I’ve never really done something…I’ve done some stuff that I think they would say is science fiction. But to me, this felt like a really kind of mature science fiction world. And I just love the fact that these were all people that were treated with a high level of respect and were very complex characters, but they’re just put in some really bizarre situations. And I felt like the tone of the script, as well as the movie, just changes all the time and we’d be filming something and I would ask [director Joseph Kosinski] what movie am I in right now? Like, what is the tone? What’s the genre? What is it? Because it was shifting all the time. So that was a fun ride kind of to have a front seat in.

There are some wild scenes. There are these really hyperactive sex scenes that you’re in. You’re falling off chairs, you’re really going at it. They’re presented very comedically. How is it filming such an over-the-top scene like that?

Kind of bizarre. I mean, because first, it’s like, you’re still shooting a scene in a movie, so everything is operating at a pretty technical level, but yeah, I mean, it’s kind of bizarre. It’s like, “Hey, what’s your name? Oh, Miles. Hey, nice to meet you,” and then you have to go into this drug-fueled kind of high octane sex scene, but that just gets weird, but then you’re trying to play the comedy of it, too. So I’m glad that we were able to do those scenes with a little bit of levity and it wasn’t like a romance novel or something

As an actor, all these emotions are going to their extremes in this film. What was most challenging about that?

It was just tough, you kind of had to garner and do everything yourself. It really had to be autonomous, because it wasn’t coming from your scene partner, or it wasn’t coming from anything really other than, this guy presses a button, now you’re feeling that, and then he presses another button and now you’re feeling that. So I think, just having to kind of shift back and forth constantly, there were a couple of days where I just felt like a crazy person.

This and Top Gun: Maverick releasing so close together is really wild. Have you had a second to really just soak this in yet? It’s really a phenomenal run that you’re on.

Oh, thanks. No, I mean, I guess maybe if I went out more, maybe I would feel it, but inside my house, it’s still pretty much the same. But I think what has been nice is I’ve had a lot of people kind of reach out to me. Friends I’ve made along the way and people in this business and [it] seems like everybody’s just really happy for me, which is nice. I think it can be a very competitive business, so to have your peers and everybody, honestly, just kind of understanding the moment that I guess it is for me, career-wise, that’s a really nice feeling to have.

Then my last question for you, there are some really great moments between yourself and Jurnee Smollett in the film. Can you just speak to your portrayal of these very damaged people starting to open up again?

Well, it’s powerful, right? Because I think they’re two people that very much have their guard up and they’re people that have been through a lot. And I think they don’t feel like they’re deserving of this reciprocity of love and affection. I’m just really glad that they find each other in this because it’s a really tough environment. They find themselves in prison, even though they say it’s not a prison, it is. It’s a tough place to kind of find somebody and connect with somebody. And I mean, it’s tough. I think it’s complex and that’s what makes it nice. It takes all three acts for them to really kind of figure it out.



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