One of the most anticipated new television series of the summer is “Too Old to Die Young,” a 10-episode detective thriller from film provocateur Nicolas Winding Refn. Two of the episodes are screening at the Cannes Film Festival, where star Miles Teller joined IndieWire’s chief critic Eric Kohn for a SAGindie talk at the American Pavilion. The Amazon-backed “Too Old to Die Young” marks Teller and Refn’s first major jump to television, but that’s not how things felt on set for the “Whiplash” actor.
“It felt like each episode was its own independent film,” Teller said during the discussion. “Nic said it would be seven months long, we’d be shooting in chronological order and that this is a 15-hour long movie that has an odyssey for my character. It’s so nice. I haven’t done anything chronological since theater. There’s something really special about doing that, you are in the moment with your character and you can shift things as you go long.”
Refn’s longtime collaborator and film composer Cliff Martinez revealed earlier this year that every episode of “Too Old to Die Young” will run feature length. “It’s ten episodes that are around 90 minutes a piece,” Martinez said. “I warned Nic Winding Refn, you better drink a lot of coffee and get a lot of sleep when you can.”
According to Teller, the mammoth task of pulling off a television series of this size drove Refn to the brink of sanity. “It was a challenge for sure,” the actor said. It was like filming 7 movies back to back to back. No break. Nic lost his mind around episode 7. He refuses to settle for anything that is mediocre.”
One way Refn powered through was having a little fun on set. The director gave the cast and crew red hats that read, “Making TV Great Again,” in a nod to Donald Trump. Teller said Refn would even email the executives at Amazon every week and addressed them in Trump fashion.
“He would literally every Friday write an email to the heads of Amazon in his version of a Trump voice,” Teller said. “He would tell them: ‘I’m the greatest director everyone has worked with. Their abilities are growing because of my direction. It’s going great, you’re going to love it. It’s going to be huge, the hugest show for Amazon.”
“Too Old to Die Young” premieres June 14 on Amazon Prime Video.