Milles Alexander Teller was born in Downingtown, Pennsylvania, the son of Merry (née Flowers), a real estate agent, and Mike Teller, a nuclear plant engineer. His parents are from Carneys Point, New Jersey. He has two older sisters.His paternal grandfather was of Russian Jewish descent, while his other ancestry is English, Irish, Polish, and French. He lived in several places as a child, because of his father's career, spending time in Citrus County, Florida, after moving from Cape May, New Jersey. Teller attended Lecanto High School where he played the saxophone, was a drummer for a church youth group band, and was president of the drama club. He earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Tisch School of the Arts at New York University.
He was in a near-fatal car accident in 2007, leaving him with multiple scars on his face and neck.
Before making his feature film debut Teller appeared in many short films. He made his debut in 2010's Rabbit Hole. Teller appeared in the stage musical Footloose in high school. Years later, he was cast in the film remake of Footloose starring Kenny Wormald, in which he played the same character as in his high school musical.
In 2013, he starred in 21 Over, written and directed by Jon Lucas and Scott Moore. That year, he began reaching critical success after starring in the James Ponsoldt film, The Spectacular Now, for which he won the Dramatic Special Jury Award for Acting at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, with co-star Shailene Woodley. In 2013, he appeared in an in-depth interview and photo shoot in Hero magazine.
In 2014, he co-starred in the comedy That Awkward Moment, alongside Zac Efron and Michael B. Jordan, appeared in the science fiction film Divergent, co-starring again with Shailene Woodley, and starred as a drummer in the well-reviewed drama Whiplash, which premiered at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival and opened in theaters in October 2014. In January 2014, Teller was cast to portray Dan Aykroyd in Steven Conrad's untitled John Belushi biopic.In February 2014, he was cast in a new film version of the Fantastic Four as Mister Fantastic.