Super cast calling for Miles Teller
IT IS Hollywood law that any actor will eventually succumb to the lure of a superhero movie.
For some, the opportunity comes later in life such as Michael Douglas's recent turn in Ant-Man.
For others, the chance to wield superpowers is a milestone reached early on in a career. Either way, it is usually an offer that is hard to refuse.
But Miles Teller, acclaimed for his turn as a drummer in last year's indie hit Whiplash, was a little ambivalent about taking the role of an elastic superhero in Fantastic Four when it landed in his lap.
"I think I collected comic books at one point in my life just because I thought that was a phase I'd go through as a boy. But it was more of a collectable thing. I didn't really get much out of reading them," says the actor.
"The comic book format didn't really speak to me.
"I only really dug it when they were converted into video games, like The X-Men, the one at the arcade specifically. That was sick."
While his Fantastic Four counterparts - Kate Mara, Michael B Jordan and Jamie Bell - are all acclaimed in their own right, Teller emerges as a natural leader of the quartet, media savvy from his recent experiences and quick to offer pithy responses to predictable superhero questions.
"Once I was cast, my dad revealed that when he was my age Fantastic Four was his favourite comic book. So I was like, 'Well, that's gotta be kind of tricky man. That now, at age 60, your son is playing this character that you grew up with'," rattles off Teller.
Does he think he is the biggest star among the Fantastic quartet - which has been billed as the greatest ensemble of today's young stars?
"I think I speak for all us (when I say) that I was very excited by the cast. Hopefully, we'll be making these films for many years. I think the casting of it was, yes, by far one of the most interesting parts about it. I don't think people saw us individually as these characters at all. But they wanted to cast actors that maybe had a footing in dramatic acting, and I think that's served us well for the story."
Already signed up for two possible sequels, Fantastic Four is not Teller's first big franchise. He plays a recurring character in the popular Divergent series, a role he has publicly slammed.
He is contenting himself in the meantime with the role of Mr Fantastic/Reed Richards, last played by the Welsh actor Ioan Gruffudd. But he has loftier ambitions.
"If there's any superhero I could play, it would be Thor," he says. "Are you kidding me? For sure. I'd be jacked. I love the hammer. That's the best."
Having adopted sarcasm as his mantle against the world, it is hard to gauge Teller's true feelings when you ask about the negative online fan reaction to this remake of Fantastic Four, which comes just eight years after the last Fantastic Four ensemble, starring Chris Evans, Jessica Alba, Michael Chiklis and Gruffudd.
"I absorb it all," he says, "all the negative stuff people say. I see every hateful thing people write to me on Twitter. Because I check it. I take it in."
Fantastic Four is in cinemas now.
Stars: Miles Teller, Kate Mara, Michael B Jordan, Jamie Bell.
Director: Josh Trank
Reviewer's last word: A young, fresh-faced cast revamps Marvel's quartet of superheroes for a new generation in this well-crafted reboot.
Star profile: Kate Mara
Quirky fact: Kate and her sister Rooney Mara both appeared in Best Picture Oscar-nominated films in 2011. Rooney was in The Social Network, Kate in 127 Hours.
Best known for: House of Cards, American Horror Story, 127 Hours.
If you like this movie you'll like these: Ant-Man, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Suicide Squad.
Quote: "When my agents tell me how much I'm going to be paid for a film, instead of quoting a figure, they'll say: 'You're going to make 10 pairs of Christian Louboutins'."