The trailer for Whiplash, the indie drama which opened at Sundance earlier this year, has been released. In it, Miles Teller (The Spectacular Now) stars as a young drummer who joins a prestigious music academy and works under an acclaimed jazz instructor, played by J.K. Simmons (Juno, Up in the Air), who pushes the boy to his limits, all in the name of perfection. The film, which garnered a lot of praise when it premiered at Sundance, ended up winning both the Grand Jury Prize and The Audience Award. Sony Pictures Classics will be releasing the film in theaters starting October 10th.
The trailer for the film comes just as the Toronto International Film Festival announced their 2014 lineup earlier in the week, with Whiplash being one of the featured films.
The film is directed by Damien Chazelle, who is certain to be something of a jazz enthusiast. His only other feature, Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench, was also heavily centered around jazz (namely rhythm tap). While that picture carries a more upbeat tone to it, Whiplash appears to be decidedly different. In fact, the trailer shares a familiar “cost of perfection” theme and structure to it that was relevant in Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan, where Natalie Portman strived to satisfy her ballet director by transforming herself into the “black swan.” That ambition ultimately came at a cost for her character, and Whiplash seems to highlight a similar message.
The script for the film was one of those listed in the 2012 Black List (a list of the top feature screenplays not yet produced). After the script received interest from several producers, Chazelle took portions of his screenplay to make a short film (also titled Whiplash), in which J.K. Simmons played the same role of the tenacious jazz instructor. The short premiered at last year’s Sundance to an enthusiastic response, paving the way for Chazelle to get investors and ultimately film the feature.