Fearless Film Force, Flaws and All:

Miles Teller's Facial Scars, "Whiplash"

The phrase “best actor of their generation” gets bandied about, but up-and-comer thesp Miles Teller earns the hype.  Last year, he carried the teen drama “The Spectacular Now” as an adolescent alcoholic.  He bulked up for the “Hunger Games” knockoff “Divergent” and now is getting acclaim playing a wanna-be jazz drummer in “Whiplash.”  Teller’s intensity behind the drum kit is matched by his drive challenging J.K. Simmons as a sadistic band leader.

Teller’s career is speeding along right now, but there was a moment when all was shattered. We mean it, like glass.

Seven years ago, Teller was a passenger in a car wreck and was thrown through a window. He injured his shoulder, broke his wrist—but survived. The image on the right shows makeup from a scene in "Whiplash." He healed but was left with defects that could have crashed his options in the entertainment biz: Significant facial scars.

Along Teller’s cheek and chin, traumatic scarring persists. Lasers might minimize the depressed portion, but there are several and located so directly in view that even plastic surgeons would have a hard time revising them.  With skill and determination, Teller has managed to turn lemons into a film career with a citrus-flavored twist.


Facial deformity doesn’t necessarily rule out movie roles. Pockmarked actors routinely find Hollywood work, but are usually delegated to playing thugs, drug dealers and prisoners.  Instead, Teller’s trajectory catapults him into the leading man arena usually reserved for blemish-free beaus.

He is not the first film star to have serious facial scarring.  Joaquin Phoenix is the lead in this month’s quirky indie comedy “Inherent Vice.”  He had a cleft lip that healed before birth, resulting in a permanent upper lip line. Harrison Ford, returning later this year to a franchise that began a long time ago, in a Cineplex far, far away, retains his characteristic chin scar

And last year’s Skinnies winner, Chiwetel Ejiofor, forges forward with his forehead scarring, also from an auto accident. 


Future film actors can take a lesson from Teller, shown here in "Divergent," and his fellow famous, if flawed, stars.  Talent, charisma and determination outweigh perfect skin at the movies.


Runner up:  Fearless Film Force, Flaws and All:

J.K. Simmons, hair loss in “Whiplash.”

“Whiplash” represents the battle of the derm conditions as scarred Miles Teller faces off against J.K. Simmon‘s male pattern hair loss.  No wonder both look so P-O’d!

Sure, Rogaine, Propecia and hair transplantation can minimize baldness.  Yet with an Oscar nomination for Simmons almost assured, we see no reason to mess with (im) perfection.


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