With a starring role in the rom-com, That Awkward Moment, an ass-kicking turn in Divergent, and the lead in the Sundance 2014 Grand Jury Prize winner Whiplash, Miles Teller has come a long way from small-town Florida boredom. But some things, like girls and the cops, still make life difficult.

The first time I got into serious trouble:
Security caught me stealing street signs when I was 12. I grew up in Citrus County, Fla., and I had to figure out shit to do. My buddy Brett and I had already taken one street sign and I was the lookout. If we had gone home after that we would’ve been fine, but Brett wanted to steal another street sign that said “Massachusetts” because that’s where he was born. We didn’t need much of a motive.

The last time I got into serious trouble:
I avoided a DUI when I was driving into Hollywood. I did a sobriety test on the street and I passed the breathalyzer, but it was too close for me. It’s not something I condone. My dad always told me: If you’re in a situation you shouldn’t be in, think about the worst possible outcome and ask yourself if you’re man enough to deal with the consequences.

My first awkward female encounter:
The first time I kissed a girl was during Spin the Bottle and she was my sister’s friend. I remember talking with my buddy about how to do it. We had both lied and said that we’d made out before. I was 11. Before that, I thought cooties were a medical disease.

My last awkward female encounter:
Turning girls down. When I’m down in Savannah, Ga., hanging out and someone says, “Oh, give me your number and we can meet up,” I have to say, “No, I can’t do that.” If I weren’t sort of famous, I wouldn’t have a problem giving my number out.

The first time I feared for my life:
When I was 7 or 8, my older sister Anna was babysitting my sister Dana and me. We kept bothering her, saying we wanted to do Bloody Mary. Finally she said, “OK, in 10 minutes you can go upstairs and do it.” So Dana and I stood in front of the mirror and said the Bloody Mary chant. The windows started rattling, the shower curtain started to shake, and we heard this scary voice saying, “Miles and Dana!” Then the shelf fell down and we took off running. I fell asleep with a Bible on my chest listening to some Spanish priest on TV because I was so scared. Anna was hiding and using a toy megaphone to do the voice.

The last time I feared for my life:
I went on a hot-air balloon ride that was terrifying. Once you take off, you’re 3,000 feet in the air. You’re looking down, and it’s pretty breathtaking, especially once you get above the clouds. At the same time, you realize you’re in a basket. It’s not like you’re in a covered box or anything, you’re literally just in a basket. It’s a pretty archaic way to fly.

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