Hollywood’s Hottest Leading Men: 12 Chiseled Faces and Darling Smiles We Love

Jon Hamm. Photo: Billy Farrell/BFAnyc.com

Dear people who say things like “Happy Monday,” Who are you? For those of us who routinely wake up on “the wrong side of the bed,” here’s a little pick-me-up: 12 of Hollywood’s hottest leading men to crush on.

1. Ryan Gosling “Hey girl…” It’s gonna be okay, it’ll be hump day before you know it.

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2. Miles Teller This 28-year-old is not just pleasing to the eyes, but he’s also garnered tons of critical acclaim as an actor. Check our interview with him HERE.

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3. Ryan Reynolds He might be married to Blake Lively (see the actresses best looks here) but that won’t stop us from dreamily re-watching The Proposal.

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4. Paul Rudd From Clueless to This Is 40, this guy just gets better and better.

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5. Bradley Cooper Here’s what would make a Monday better: staring into those baby blues.

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6. Joseph Gordon-Levitt 500 days would hardly be enough! Check out our 2011 cover story on him HERE.

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7. Jon Hamm We’d be mad not to love this man.

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8. Joe Manganiello Werewolf, human…Manganiello is hot in any form.

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9. Taye Diggs We Diggs Taye.

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10. Eddie Redmayne The accent, the eyes, the Oscar! What isn’t perfect about Eddie?

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11. Chris Hemsworth Another accent to swoon over, this gorgeous Australian is easy on the eyes and the ears.

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12. Jamie Dornan For the 50 Shades fan, you already know he’s got Christian Grey skills down.

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Miles Teller: Cinema’s Next Great Bad Ass?

“No, fuck no,” says Miles Teller when I ask if he grew up listening to jazz, as we sit down to chat about his new role in Damien Chazelle’s Whiplash. But for the 27-year-old actor, who grew up playing music, he may not have always been a fan of the particular genre, but loved his role as an aspiring jazz musician in the film, which premiered at the New York Film Festival and rolls into theaters this week. And when it comes to Teller’s boyish Hollywood charm and charisma, there’s more than meets the eye. Lurking beneath his “exterior of sports and stuff” lies versatile actor waiting to get his hands dirty.

Since his breakout performance opposite Nicole Kidman in John Cameron Mitchell’s heartbreaking Rabbit Hole, Teller has managed to navigate between huge studio films like Divergent and the upcoming Fantastic Four to Sundance hits that have won him acclaim, both with last year’s The Spectacular Now and this year’s Whiplash.

 “I feel like this movie puts me in a different conversation with people.” 

After moving from Rabbit Hole to coming-of-age comedy and now roles that showcase a more mature side of the actor, Teller is ready to separate himself from adolescent roles and take on films with a bit more grit. Based on the real life experiences of Chazelle’s early years in the competitive world of jazz, Teller plays Andrew, an aspiring jazz drummer intent on becoming a legend. When he’s plucked from his small ensemble to join the big leagues, led by drill sergeant conductor J.K. Simmons, his personal life begins to unravel as he’ll stop at nothing to achieve his goal and please the ruthless depends of his leader. Literally pouring his blood, sweat, and tears into his drumming, Teller takes on the role with impressive dedication, portraying an unlikeable but recognizable character fighting to make his life with something. 

So last week during NYFF, I sat down with him to talk about his own background in music, his relationship to Hollywood, and the musical theater kid lying underneath his tough exterior.

Watching the movie, I couldn’t help but think that you couldn’t have been faking a lot of that drumming. So how much musical training did you have prior?

I had musical training most of my whole life. I started with piano when I was six, picked up saxophone in middle school and high school bands, and then I picked up a guitar because my mom played guitar. So I started that when I was thirteen and then I asked for a drum set when I was 15. I just wanted to be a rock drummer, so I asked for a drum set and then started playing in bands and stuff.

Did you listen to jazz?

No, fuck no. For this movie I did, but no, I had no real interest in jazz per say. But I was very aware of who Buddy Rich was; anybody who knows music or gets behind a drum kit should know who Buddy Rich is. 

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And when you think of jazz, you don’t usually think about the physicality of it.

Yeah, it’s very physical. Your instrument is really an extension of your arms and your legs. When you’re playing it’s very rhythmic and a lot of movement there.

Was getting to do two things you love—acting and drumming—something that attracted you to the film?

Absolutely, yeah.

How did you meet Damien and become involved?

I was filming up in Chicago and I got this script and my agent told me that the director really liked me for the role but I had to decide very soon. Even though I was his choice and he was offering it to me, they were going to move on quickly. So then I read it and was like, oh man this is an incredible opportunity for a young actor, this is really a tremendous script. I asked when it would start and they said it starts shooting in six weeks and you’ll start practicing drums and taking jazz lessons as soon as you can. So I got to LA, and I might have met Damien for the first time when he dropped the drum set off at my house. He brought over his drum set, and that was about it. They sent me his short film of Whiplash but I didn’t watch it because I didn’t want to see anybody else playing the part.

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When you’re seeking out roles is a new challenge or learning something an aspect of a role that you look for?

Yeah, for sure. Acting is a big enough challenge as it is, but sometimes it affords you an opportunity to learn a new skill. I love music and drums were always the instrument that came most naturally to me. So to be able to find a movie where I was able to play the drums was great. Most of the time as a drummer people are telling you to be quiet, because you’re not playing notes, you’re just playing the beat, and if you’re playing yourself it’s obviously not as cool as playing with other people. So to be able to do a movie where two days was just of me playing a drum solo, and for a lot of it Damien would just be like, “Play a drum solo!”

With a really fast shoot like this, did that help to really immerse you in this world?

Yeah, it just added to the craziness of it. All that stuff in the practice room where I get pissed off and punch through a snare drum, we filmed all of that stuff in one day. So I’d be playing as fast as I could and sweating, and then take that shirt off and put on another shirt and do another sequence of me playing very frenetically. I don’t think this movie would have been as good if we shot it over three months, because I do think there’s something about limitations being your friend a lot of the time because you do have to push yourself.

I probably didn’t want to see myself cry in a movie but that ended up happening.

Where did this movie factor into what you’d been working on—were you looking to take on something more dramatic and intense?

Eventually, but the time I was just kind of burnt out. I had done five movies in about a year and was ready to take a break because I hadn’t really taken a break for like two years. I wanted to do something dramatic and intense. I probably didn’t want to see myself cry in a movie but that ended up happening. But yeah, I wanted to do something a little more gritty.

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It hasn’t been that long since your first film role in Rabbit Hole but you’ve had a pretty whirlwind few years. How has that been for you and are you trying to take advantage of it as much as you can?

I’m not an anxious person, I really don’t get anxiety, but my mom says when I was growing up and we’d go to an amusement park or something like that, I’d just be like, this is so cool, what’s next? Always just looking at what’s next. So I can be in the moment and really enjoy and understand where I’m at, but it just takes a while I think for your career to catch up to things you want to do. It takes a year to shoot a film and then a year for it to come out and then people have to see you in that light. Then you get offered something different based on them seeing that movie, because for a lot of stuff, people don’t have much imagination.

You have to convince them for it. And now I feel like this movie puts me in a different conversation with people. When I started out in Rabbit Hole my agent had to really convince people that I could do comedy, because they were like, “The kid from Rabbit Hole? What are you talking about?” I want to show that I’m very versatile because I have a lot of different interests, and I think that’s kind of the spice of life.

Was it a fun experience working with a director you’re age?

It’s great, it’s awesome. I love the fact that I’m beginning to work with directors who are kind of like my peers and my colleagues.  For a long time I felt like a kid and the director’s like my dad’s age, and you just feel that gap.

I want to separate myself from these younger, more adolescent characters and play stuff that’s closer to my own age and shit, and badass stuff.

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I imagine you need a good level of trust and intimacy in order to get a good performance.

Yeah, me and Damien would have sex everyday after working. I’m just kidding. No, but it’s good if you’re the same age as somebody and you’ve grown up in the same era because you’re going to have more in common than somebody who is a lot older than you.

Speaking of which, how was working with JK?

JK’s great. We work the same way, where we can be very serious in a scene and then as soon as you yell cut we can make jokes, and he’s not in character the whole time. I’m not in character the whole time, that would be a very uncomfortable place to be if he was trying to boss me around and shit all the time.

Were you a fan of his?

They say him in Oz is supposed to be really good. I’ve never even seen Juno, but I know him from those commercials. 

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Do you find you have to step it up when you’re acting opposite someone like that?

You can do all the preparation in the world but at the end of the day you have react to what that person is giving you, you have to be in that world. JK and I, both our characters both had really clear intentions, and that’s a credit to Damien’s script. He wrote very fleshed out characters that we could both run with and get excited by.

You’ve done a good mix of big Hollywood films and smaller indies. Do you like to have that balance or is there something you prefer?

I don’t have this anti-studio mentality. I’ve had a lot of freedom working in the studio system. I very rarely have worked on something where I’ve felt like the character is not in my control, like where I felt the studio was making me make the character the most appealing—appealing to grandparents and teenagers and young kids because that’s what a lot of studio movies have to do, they want to appeal to everybody because that’s how you make money. So I’ve not had a bad experience with studios, but since they’re not really making these more interesting character-driven dramatic artistic pieces, that’s where you do go independently because you feel like it’s you and small crew and you get to go to all of these remote locations. 

Do you feel like you’re more a part of it and a collaborator rather than just an actor?

Yeah, you feel more a part of it, and less like you just press a button and out comes a movie kind of thing. You just feel like you’re there for every beat of the story.

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What kind of films are you into watching for pleasure?

I really don’t watch a lot of films. I’ll watch something if it’s a director I want to work with, like Derek Cianfrance. I really like the stuff that he does. I want to do different stuff, like I’m doing a boxing movie in November and that’s absolutely something I want to do. What young guy doesn’t want to do a boxing movie? Especially this one where it’s a true story about a young guy, who in the middle of his career got in a car accident and broke two vertebrae in his neck and they said he’d never box again or walk again and then he comes back a year later and wins the title. It’s this incredible story and Martin Scorsese is producing it. That is the ideal project for me right now because I want to separate myself from these younger, more adolescent characters and play stuff that’s closer to my own age and shit, and badass stuff.

And you’re doing a musical with Damien next…

Yes! Because underneath all this exterior of sports and whatever stuff, there’s a kid who loves musical theater. I do like to sing and I like dancing. Back in the day there was Frank Sinatara and Marlon Brando and then they were doing Guys and Dolls..Gene Kelly, that’s cool, classic cool, and I think if you do it right it’s something it’s something that people will really respond to. It’s been out of cinema for a while, but when it comes along and it’s like a Chicago or a Moulin Rouge, people really dig it.

See the First Trailer for James Ponsoldt’s ‘The Spectacular Now’

Director James Ponsoldt’s first feature Smashed, the adult coming-of-age story about a woman’s struggle with alcoholism, struck a chord with us back in the fall. The raw and humanistic film that amalgamated tender emotion with the comedy inherent in the foibles of everyday life established Ponsoldt as a filmmaker to be excited for. And with his second film The Spectacluar Now—which premiered to rave reviews at Sundance—he seems to be swimming through very similar thematic tones and emotional textures as his first feature with an honest and witty look at the the flawed beauty in everyday life.   

Based on the novel of the same title by Tim Tharp, The Spectacular Now is a collaboration between Ponsoldt and the film’s writers Michael H. Weber Scott Neustadter (the dudes that brought you 500 Days of Summer) and stars promising newcomers Miles Teller and Shailene Woodley, alongside the wonderful Brie Larson and Jennifer Jason Leigh. A coming-of-age story once again, this time Ponsoldt tackles the teen arena with the story of a hapless high school senior with an affinity for strong booze, who, after a break up with his popular ideal girlfriend, meets the shy and lovingly sweet girl next door.    In speaking with the director for Smashed, he told me that:

 The stories that I like the best are ones that are about really flawed, screwed up people who want to try to fix themselves or make themselves better and it doesn’t matter whether they’re doing it for the right reasons or the wrong reasons or whether they’re total fools and struggling to try to make themselves whole. There’s something very human and hopeful about that—and not in succeeding, because I don’t know what success means, but it’s like trying to love yourself more so you can love other people better and just be decent to the people around you. 

And now, the first trailer for the film has been released, giving you a pretty solid taste of the film, which is set to premiere August 2nd. Take a look below.  

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Homophobic Actor Proves He Is Bad at Acting

Did you see that 21 & Over movie? It was like The Hangover, but with younger people you haven’t heard of. Anyway, all kinds of hijinx happened in it, apparently, as I learned in an interview with actor Miles Teller (now is when I admit that I didn’t see it and that I probably won’t). Teller, a 26-year-old whose previous credits include the remake of Footloose and Rabbit Hole (he was the teenager who accidentally killed Nicole Kidman’s son, which, surprisingly, is not really a spoiler), is a young actor who already is putting his foot down in regard to how far he will go for the sake of comedy.

In an interview with Metro News, Teller admits that kissing another dude makes him very uncomfy:

Diving right into the nudity issue, there are a few very bold scenes for you in this. How do you psyche yourself up for that?
Or not. I mean, I know when you read the script or agree to do a movie, you know you’re going to agree to do everything. The nudity stuff, I just made sure I worked out, you know what I mean? Because some movies you don’t have time. You can work out before a movie, but then when you’re shooting there’s really no time. I know some actors do it, and people should really give them credit because they’re working 14 hours a day, it’s exhausting, and then working out and getting like five hours of sleep. It’s pretty tough. So for this I just made sure I worked out, and the (guy-on-guy) kissing scene was something I tried to get rid of for a while. I was literally like pretty upset about that. And then we did it and it was just like CPR.

You were upset about it?
Kiss a guy? Yes. Inevitably, I did it for comedy. But they wanted me to use the tongue and I said, “Nope. It’s not that funny, man.”

These guys are known for going pretty far for a joke. Was there anything else where you had to draw the line?
No. I mean, there was a point where me and Skylar were shackled up and were getting spanked. At one point the shackle broke, so I had to bend over and fix it and s—, and there was all these girls around, and I was just like, “I’m sorry about some a—hole.” Then I just went down and fixed it. Other than that, I felt pretty safe. The humour that these guys write, they’re both extremely intelligent. And it’s funny, it’s well-written, it’s not, like, dumb comedy. I never felt like I was doing cheesy or manipulative stuff. I felt pretty comfortable with everything. 

Yeah, man, two guys kissing isn’t funny, man. At least we agree there! But Teller is probably coming from a hyper-masculine place in which two guys kissing is "gross," whereas I’m like, "Two guys kissing? Thumbs up!" But here’s the thing: would he get weird about kissing some strange woman he had met that day on the job? I doubt it! That probably falls under the "you’re going to agree to do everything" part of acting, like doing nude scenes and getting spanked alongside your male co-star. (Yeah, that’s no homo for sure.) But kiss a dude? With tongue? That’s way too faggy.

Also, if you can’t bring yourself to make out with a dude on camera because that’s what asked of you as an actor—if you can’t possibly pull off such a feat without looking obviously uncomfortable and weird—then you’re a bad actor. I have nothing to say about the sexual orientation part—I don’t know about Teller’s personal life, and I don’t care—but I can certainly say that he’s not very good at his job.

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‘Rabbit Hole”s Miles Teller on Acting with Nicole Kidman & Remaking ‘Footloose’

Director John Cameron Mitchell could have chosen anybody when casting the role of Jason in his new drama Rabbit Hole. The character – a traumatized high school student who accidentally hit and killed a young boy with his car – called for heavy lifting. He would have to cry, and he’d have to do it sitting on a bench across from Nicole Kidman, who plays the boy’s grief-stricken mother. In a huge leap of faith, Mitchell cast NYU theater grad Miles Teller for what became his first role in a movie, and Teller made it look easy. (He assures us it wasn’t.) Now, the cachet that comes from acting opposite Nicole Kidman and Aaron Eckhart has sent Teller’s career soaring, with a supporting role in the upcoming Footloose remake (where he reprises a role he had in a high school play) and Todd Phillips’ stealth party comedy Project X. We recently spoke to the rising star about getting his start, remaking Footloose, and the weirdness that is performing with famous people.

How did you score this role? I got the first audition through my manager. The audition was all three part scenes and I did the audition and it went pretty well. Then I got the call back, and I go upstairs and sign in, and Juliette Lewis was actually sitting in the waiting room.

Why was that? She was auditioning originally for the role of Izzy. She was there and then I get in and John’s in there, and we worked on three scenes for about 45 minutes, and I got a call saying, “You’re down to the final two or three, you’re going to get a call from Nicole or you’re not going to get a call from Nicole. She is going fly over, you have one final audition.” Then I never got the call that night so I figured I didn’t get the part. I was shooting a short film with my buddies in Brooklyn and then John called me personally and offered me the role.

This was this your first audition for a major film? The first thing that I ever auditioned for was The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, for Jay Baruchel’s part. I was in a really bad car accident three years ago—that’s what all the scars are from, and in the film, you can see them, so I really didn’t think I’d be able to audition for anything. And my manager said, “I don’t really want to send you out on stuff. You’re green—which is the term they use for when you’re not experienced—and you have all these scars on your face. And then they sent me out for Sorcerer’s Apprentice, for the lead role, and I got good feedback.

How did you separate Nicole Kidman the celebrity from Nicole Kidman the coworker? I don’t know if that’s ever going to go away. It was very much a larger-than-life, surreal experience, you know, going from seeing these people that you’re a fan of and then you’re working with them. It’s similar with sports. You can watch these people growing up and then be in the same industry as them. But very rarely in any other profession does that happen, where people are out on this dais where you can observe and watch them and be a fan of them, and then have to work with him. That’s the weird part about being an actor. You come in and you have to be on the same plane as them.

A couple of years ago you’re watching Aaron in The Dark Knight and now you’re acting alongside him. That’s the last time I had seen him, in The Dark Night. And then the first day on set, there was no rehearsal, so literally the first time I met Aaron was in the scene when I walk into the house and he’s like, “What the hell are you doing here?”

You didn’t meet him before you shot the scene? We walked through the scene, very bare bones, and that was the first time. I had never talked to him or anything. It definitely took a couple takes. I thought that I was bombing, and it felt like I was hovering above myself. I felt like I was watching Nicole act and Aaron act, and I was like, This is not a good head space to be in, because I’m not doing my stuff. If I’m watching them, then I’m not doing my stuff.

This was the first scene you shot? The first thing I ever shot in the movie was the kitchen scene. We shot a couple takes for however long, and then we had a little break. They were doing something with the cameras, and then I went up in my dressing room and gave myself a pep talk. I just sat myself down and said, Okay, you got the jitters out of your system, so just go in there and do something. Put something in front of these people. I was just very overwhelmed. The moment was a little bigger than me. What about when you get to the bench scenes with Nicole? They’re pretty intimate. Each bench scene is like three or four pages and we would always shoot from beginning to end. A lot of directors like to go in there and cut, because they’re changing camera angles. Well, John never changed camera angles so we got to do the scene from beginning to end. And that was refreshing because I come from a theatre background. You have to start out in theatre unless you’re some weird child prodigy film actor. It’s three or four pages, so you don’t have to punch it right off the bat like you have to do if you’re only getting one or two lines. And with those scenes, the feeling of being overwhelmed and not knowing my place and not knowing how to talk to all just filters into the character. In the beginning, I wanted to be on set a lot. It was my first film and I was very nervous, like I didn’t know what to do with my hands, but Jason doesn’t know what to do with his hands either, because he’s with this woman who’s child he just took away from her. Real life played a big part.

Did you and Nicole speak between takes? For the first scene we did, there wasn’t much talking between takes. By the second park scene, there was a little more getting to know Nicole a little bit, and by the third scene even more so. So really it was just an organic evolution of conversation, and getting to know someone. But by the end of it at the wrap party, we were bowling together and laughing and talking about all these things. She’s absolutely different.

Where does that single tear drop on your face in one of the scenes come from? Craft. Technique. No, I mean, I think—a lot of this movie is restraint, and as my character, I didn’t want anybody—especially this woman—feeling bad for me. I knew that it would probably just happen. You’re going to feel bad for this kid, but I didn’t want to take away any of this woman’s grief or pain that she was going through. I didn’t want people to fee bad for me. But at the same time, my character is so guilt-ridden and there’s so much emotion that goes into it. So just being able to get into that headspace and play it honestly. A year before we started shooting this actually, I lost one of my best friends in a car accident. John knew about all that because he and I used to walk around the West Village and talk about these things before we started filming. So in that one scene, he’s not tip-toeing around the emotion, but he asked me, “You really have to think about your friend Beau. Ha fuck you, action, whatever.”

Did it take you working with other directors to realize how unorthodox John’s method was? It’s very gratifying and fulfilling to have a director who is also an actor, because a lot of directors use lingo and they don’t know how to talk to actors. A lot of the time the directors are more result-oriented, and as an actor you need a thought to start the scene. For me to give you what you want at the end, I need a new thought. Granted, that’s my job, but if you can have a director like John who can really fuel your thoughts and give you little suggestions here and there it’s great. I mean, Craig Brewer for Footloose is fantastic because he’s the writer and the director, and he’s very intelligent, and knows how to direct actors and also knows how to take the edge off.

What are the chances that you ended up playing the same character you played in high school? First of all, I think it’s very rare you do a remake of a movie in general. As a play, you’re always inheriting, it’s been done a million times. But yeah, that was just a weird coincidence, especially because they thought they had the movie cast three years before I was even eligible to audition for this thing. It was great because I felt like I knew this character on a slightly more naive level when I was in high school, so it was great to go back to it six years later and see what I would do differently.

What’s going to differentiate Footloose from another Step Up? I mean, it’s not a dance movie whatsoever. Jamal Sims, who did the choreography for the Step Up movies did this too, but in those movies, the scene is all about the dancing, so the acting is just a stepping stone to get to the dancing. Whereas in Footloose, the dancing is organically placed in the scenes and it’s absolutely a well- acted movie. And Brewer did it so there’s that Southern girt and that dirtiness to it.

What’s Project X? I don’t really know what I can say.

Why is it so secretive? You know, because the cast is pretty unknowns. I don’t know why it’s so secretive. It’s basically a party movie.

Do you think it’s going to get a lot of attention when it comes out? Yeah, I think so. It was crazy. I mean the shooting schedule. We were shooting a lot of night shoots so we would shoot from like 5pm to 5am with like 200, 300 extras. Also the director is a first time director. He’s done a lot of music videos and he’s really good at finding moments within chaos. You can take this whole party that’s so chaotic and then focus in on one thing that’s just absolutely hilarious that you would miss if you were just trying to shoot this entire party. So I think it will be really funny.

And you moved to LA recently? Yeah, I graduated from NYU in ’09, and went home that summer and moved out to LA in November in 2009, so I’ve been out there for a little over a year.

To act? To act and to see what the In-n-Out thing is all about.