• Whiplash – the short (2013) - Damien Chazelle

    Before it won the top awards at the Sundance Film Festival and picked up a trio of Oscars, Damien Chazelle’s WHIPLASH began as a short film of the same name. Premiering at Sundance the year before the feature film would open it, the short picked up the jury prize in its U.S. Fiction category. (Jordan Raup, The Film Stage, 2015)

    Writer-director Damien Chazelle’s own experiences in a hyper-competitive high school jazz band helped to inspire WHIPLASH,  his darkly comic portrait of an obsessive 19-year-old drummer … trying to curry favor with a perfectionist bandleader (J.K. Simmons). (Scott Foundas, Variety, 2014)

    When … Chazelle won the short-film jury award at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, he didn’t exactly rest on his laurels. JK-SimmonsHe didn’t have time — not if he was going to turn his 18-minute vignette about a jazz drummer at an elite music school into a feature film … the plan was always to start with a scene excerpted from the complete script and build from there … “It was mainly because as a script alone — and I didn’t have a lot of directing experience — it was a hard sell,” the 29-year-old filmmaker said. “And so the short was really intended as just a way to convince financiers … It wound up kind of being a way to get our feet wet … I figured out certain things I wanted to do or not do in terms of the camera, in terms of the cutting, with the short. I joke that it was sort of like the rehearsal that we didn’t have time to do on the feature … J.K. signed on back before there was any kind of money at all, any promise even of there being a feature — which I still don’t get why [he] did, but I’m eternally grateful.” (Oliver Gettell, LA Times, 2014)

    495891160_640 Probably the biggest difference between the feature and the short — beyond the production values — is the actor playing Andrew, the young, naive drummer at the center of the storm: While Miles Teller eventually won great acclaim for the part, the role was originated by Johnny Simmons, whom you might recognize from THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER. That means that two different actors had to suffer under Fletcher’s wilting assault, which includes face-slaps, cymbal-throws, and threats of extremely unpleasant physical encounters. (Jordan Zakarin, Yahoo Movies, 2015)

    – KW