The title of the film refers to many things: the first complex jazz piece Andrew learned and performed with Fletcher's band, a common neck injury from car accidents, one of which was depicted during the film, the beating of a drum similar to the cracking or lashing of a whip, and, of course, the abuse he suffers under Fletcher.
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The film was shot in 19 days.
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During the more intense practice scenes, the director wouldn't yell, "cut!" so that Miles Teller would keep drumming until he exhausted himself.
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The director and writer of the film, Damien Chazelle, could not get funding for the movie, so he instead turned it into a short film and submitted it into the Sundance Film Festival in 2013. The short film ended up winning the Short Film Jury Award, and he got funding soon after.
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For the slapping scene, J.K. Simmons and Miles Teller filmed several takes with Simmons only miming the slap. For the final take, Simmons and Teller decided to film the scene with a real, genuine slap. This is the take that is in the film.
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Although a visual double was used, all of Andrew's drumming was performed by Miles Teller himself to pre-recorded tracks. About 40% of Teller's drumming was used in the soundtrack.
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Miles Teller, who has played the drums since he was 15, received blisters on his hands due to the vigorous, unconventional style of jazz drumming. Some of his blood was on the drumsticks and the drum set as a result.
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J.K. Simmons has won 47 awards for his role as Fletcher.
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J.K. Simmons stated his character, Fletcher, calling Andrew (Miles Teller) a "self righteous little prick" was the only line he improvised.
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The film is one of the lowest grossing movies ever to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture.
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J.K. Simmons has played piano in the past and had to retake lessons for his role.
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Although Miles Teller has been drumming since he was 15 years old, he took additional lessons 4 hours a day, 3 days a week to prepare for the movie.
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Nate Lang (Carl) is an accomplished drummer and trained Miles Teller and Austin Stowell for their roles.
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In the scene where J.K. Simmons yells "I will fuck you like a pig," you may notice that the camera cuts away from him when he delivers that line. The line was actually taken from the short film; the original line was "I am going to gut you like a fucking pig." Damien Chazelle thought the new line was hilarious and included it in the production script. Simmons thought it was ridiculous and refused to say that line, but Chazelle included the 'mistake' in post-production anyway.
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The film was shot, edited, and submitted into Sundance in ten weeks.
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On his date with Nicole, a song comes on in the background that Andrew recognizes as by Jackie Hill from 1938. There is no such jazz artist named Jackie Hill. That song, along with many of the compositions featured in the film, are the works of the film's composer Justin Hurwitz.
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Austin Stowell (Ryan) has no drumming experience and had only a month to prepare for his role by learning three songs on drums.
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Early in the film, Andrew listens to a CD of Buddy Rich. Buddy Rich was a drummer infamous for his short temper, and he would regularly berate and verbally abuse his band mates for what he considered inferior musicianship; this foreshadows Fletcher's abusive treatment of his students.
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Early drafts of the original screenplay were written as a psychological thriller.
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Part of the film is based on director/writer Damien Chazelle's experience as a band student in high school. In a Q&A after a screening, Chazelle stated he was intimidated by his band instructor's presence.
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Andrew appears in every scene.
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The screenplay for this film was featured in the 2012 Blacklist; a list of the "most liked" unmade scripts of the year.
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Buddy Rich, the famous drummer who Andrew idolizes, never received any formal music education and said he never practiced.
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The chart "Whiplash" performed in the film is of the type referred to by jazz players as a "time chart" - a piece with an unconventional time signature (in this case, 14/8). The chart's arranger - Hank Levy - is famous within jazz circles for his numerous "time chart" classics.
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Though she received top billing for her performance and is the fourth cast member to be listed in the end credits, Melissa Benoist has less than ten minutes of total screen time.
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Damien Chazelle wanted Miles Teller for the role of Andrew Neimann when he was filming the original short film Whiplash (2013) but Teller was unavailable so Johnny Simmons was cast instead. When casting the feature film version, the finalists for the role were Teller and Simmons. Teller was cast because he was a better known name and an actual drummer.
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We can hear the voice of director Damien Chazelle screaming "Tanner!" when Carl Tanner is arguing with Andrew due to the loss of the music folder.
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J.K. Simmons actually had his own musical background. His mother was a middle-school music teacher, and his father was director of the music department at the University of Montana, where J.K. himself earned a music degree.
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Fletcher is never directly addressed by name until almost an hour into the film.
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J.K. Simmons was up against Ethan Hawke (for Boyhood (2014)) at the Academy Awards for Best Actor in a Supporting Role. Hawke played his character on and off, occasionally, over the course of 12 years. Simmons played his for 19 days (not including the days playing the same character in the short film of the same name).
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Damien Chazelle got into a car accident halfway through filming.
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The photo in J.K. Simmons apartment in the short feature 'Fletcher at home' is a photo of his real life wife and daughter.
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To receive funding, writer/director Damien Chazelle filmed a large chunk of the screenplay and submitted it into festivals as a short. J.K. Simmons was cast as the same character whereas Andrew is played by Johnny Simmons. (No relation).
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A "fletcher" is a person who puts the feathers on arrows. Fletcher is preparing the next "Bird."
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There are two theories on how Charlie "Yardbird" Parker actually got his name. 1) He lived "free as a bird". Or the more commonly accepted one, 2) When touring with Jay McShann, they accidentally hit a chicken (a yardbird) with their car and Parker made them stop to pick it up so he could have his landlady cook it for him.
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Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider.
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Miles Teller plays a 19 year old in Whiplash which followed him playing an 18 year old in his previous film The Spectacular Now (2013). This despite him being 25 and 26 during filming respectively.
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In real life Jo Jones never threw a cymbal. He dropped it on the floor, 'gonging' him off - the equivalent of the modern buzzing someone off.
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The piece the "Studio Band" performs in the first local festival is titled "Too Hip to Retire"
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Metz is modeled after Pvt. Leonard aka "Gomer Pyle" from the war film Full Metal Jacket (1987).
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A sign in big letters posted on the wall in a band room reads, "If you don't have ability, you wind up playing in a rock band."
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The basic story Fletcher recounts about Charlie Parker is true, but his description is inaccurate. Drummer Jo Jones did indeed throw a cymbal in response to Parker's playing, but he did not throw it as a physical attack on Parker - he simply threw it to the stage floor as a signal that Parker should leave the stage. Jazz historians have also said that this was not a response to poor performance as Fletcher says, but because the older musicians disapproved of the fast improvisations Parker was playing that became his trademark.
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Fletcher asks the Nassau band Bassist to play "5 bars of Donna Lee", Donna Lee being a jazz standard by Charlie Parker, renown to bass players because of the version played by Jaco Pastorius with bass playing the main theme. The band Bassist plays a regular walking bass line though.
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When Andrew is reading the chalkboard at the jazz club the first performer listed is H. Estabrook; Helen Estabrook is one of the film's producers.
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This film was used for 'Weird Al' Yankovic's upcoming Mandatory Fun Tour. J.K. Simmons was also in the trailer.
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The "double fucking rainbow" remark by Fletcher is a reference to a famous viral video by Bear Vasquez (Paul Vasquez) who reacted ecstatically and tearfully while capturing a double rainbow on video.
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Throughout the film, the cymbals on the different drum kits are Bosphorus-cymbals, except for the last scene where the ones on the kit are made by a company called Istanbul Agop Cymbals.
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Similar pronunciation of word Whiplash in Thai language is "whip pa laad" means, 'be mad, be insane', which matches movie's theme.
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Both Miles Teller and J.K. Simmons have portrayed comic book characters in a Marvel film. Simmons as J. Jonah Jameson (Spider-Man (2002)), also later as Commissioner Gordon (Justice League) and Teller as Reed Richards/Mr.Fantastic (Fantastic Four (2015)). Melissa Benoist would later star as the DC heroine Supergirl (2015).
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A Samsung cellphone is used in a Sony picture.
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Even though Andrew introduces himself to J.K. Simmons as Neimann /niiman/, J.K. always called him /neiman/
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A "fletcher" is a person who puts the feathers on (arrows). Fletcher is preparing the next "Bird."
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Swiss censorship visa # 1010.230.
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J.K. Simmons suffered two cracked ribs when Miles Teller tackled him during the last two days of shooting. Simmons managed to continue working despite his injury.
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Andrew's final drum performance lasts for 9 minutes. His final drum solo lasts approximately 5 minutes.
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Jason Reitman convinced Damien Chazelle to cut a scene involving Fletcher sitting alone in his apartment after Andrew's first "Studio Band" class. This due to the fact the film is all from Andrew's perspective and scenes without him will detract the tone of the film.
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When asked about the film's ending J.K. Simmons claimed that he and writer-director Damien Chazelle wanted "to inspire discussion and debate and not decide - are we happy for Andrew Neimann or are we lamenting his loss of humanity. The debate I love, is how far is too far? How much is too much? Is it worth it? This kind of relentless abuse might be necessary and appropriate if you're training Navy Seals, but I don't know if it's appropriate in a music school. But it's there, and it can be productive; there's no denying that. From my own perspective, I'd rather have a pretty girlfriend than go work with this guy and have my hands bleed all the time. I would have made a different choice."
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In an interview with Screen Crush, Damien Chazelle stated the ending implied Andrew's future would be like Charlie Parker, where he would rather die drunk and broke at the age of 34. This was earlier remarked in the heated conversation during the family dinner scene. Chazelle also mentioned that he deliberately ended the film without any scene between Andrew and Fletcher after the performance, as he believes their competitive relationship to be unresolved.
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The studio originally gave Damien Chazelle a note saying "He's good at drumming, we get it" in an attempt to try and take out the ending drum solo. Chazelle disagreed and kept the drum solo in the film.
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The pieces "Whiplash" and "Caravan" are the only songs Andrew is shown playing to perfection. (At his first jazz competition and the JVC competition)
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Andrew gets into a car accident when he is late for a jazz competition. Miles Teller was involved in a devastating car crash before his acting career.
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In the original screenplay, Andrew practices with the JVC band. The scene reveals that the band had not already had a drummer.
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The name of the dean of students on Andrew's dismissal form is Nicolas D. Harvard, the film's assistant director.
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