When Miles Teller was brought on to lead “The Offer,” he knew it was a big responsibility – and not just because the Paramount+ limited series focuses on the backstage machinations that led to the creation of “The Godfather.” As real-life Oscar-winning producer Al Ruddy, Teller appears in almost every scene of the sprawling 10-episode series, which shot over nearly seven months during the coronavirus pandemic.
Teller “worked really hard,” his co-star Juno Temple previously told Gold Derby. The show, she said, is ultimately about how Ruddy fought for “things to be how you know they need to be” and how that “really does pay off.”
“Miles is somebody that believes that through and through,” she said.
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Speaking now, Teller says he took his position on the show very seriously. “That meant a lot and has continued to mean a lot for me for a while,” Teller says in an exclusive video interview with Gold Derby.
Teller has come a long way in a short amount of time: His first project as a lead was the film “Get a Job” with Bryan Cranston and Anna Kendrick. (The film came out in 2016, after Teller experienced a breakout with films like “The Spectacular Now” and “Whiplash,” but was shot long before those features.)
“I just remember feeling undeserving of it,” he says now of his time on the set of “Get a Job.” “I just remember feeling like, ‘Here’s all these other actors, their resumes are much more fulfilled than mine… I didn’t own it.’”
That changed for Teller on “The Spectacular Now” and has continued, he says, through “The Offer.”
“It is something I take a lot of pride in. And it’s not ego-based whatsoever,” he says of being a lead actor. “It is taking responsibility. A lot of sets are kind of dictated by the No. 1 on the call sheets’ ego and personality and the directors. And so for me personally, I just always wanted to be the most prepared as I could be – be there for the other actors, and not be somebody who does the scene and goes to their trailer…. It’s something I always try and carry with it with a great amount of responsibility.”
Based on Ruddy’s experiences, “The Offer” is a free-wheeling look at just how hard it was to make “The Godfather,” a film now considered without question to be one of the greatest ever. Teller says he met the real-life Ruddy, now 92, at his home – and he had an early inclination that things were going to turn out well.
“He talked to me in his kitchen, not his backyard. And he said, ‘That’s a good sign.’ He said that that meant that he liked me. And if he didn’t, he would talk to me outside,” Teller says of his first meeting with Ruddy. “He just kind of started recalling stories from from ‘The Godfather’ in his life. And I sat with him for probably three hours. He’s a legendary figure. He’s had a legendary career. So I got I got more than I needed in those three hours with Al.”
Teller has enjoyed a resurgent 2022 thanks to “The Offer” and his lead role opposite Tom Cruise in the blockbuster hit “Top Gun: Maverick,” where teller plays Rooster, the son of Maverick’s former co-pilot, Goose. In both the Paramount+ series and the Paramount feature release, Teller plays men who are underestimated by those around them – something that allows each character to surprise people and ultimately succeed.
“In ‘The Offer,’ they’re all kind of underdogs in their own right,” he says of his onscreen collaborators, which includes Temple’s Bettye McCartt, Dan Fogler’s Francis Ford Coppola, and Matthew Goode’s Robert Evans. “Not a lot of people bet on any of them. They kind of got their shot that might have their one really big shot. So I think collectively we all in this show have a bit of that underdog quality…. I do, just as a person and maybe as an audience member, tend to maybe gravitate towards that.”
Teller has done television before – appearing as the lead on Nicolas Winding Refn’s dark and violent Amazon series “Too Old to Die Young.” But that was a binge release – with all episodes of the show arriving on the streaming platform immediately. “The Offer” has rolled out in weekly installments on Paramount+ and Teller says the experience has been revelatory.
“It’s just been nice to hear people talking about it and staying up to date with it because it’s episode-by-episode and I’ve never been a part of something like that,” he says. “I totally understand why people enjoy this medium so much. When you hear people that are up to date with it, and they’re so excited and they felt like you just gave him a cliffhanger. That’s fun. I’ve never really had that and I see the satisfaction in it.”
All episodes of “The Offer” are streaming on Paramount+ with the finale set for Thursday, June 16.
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