Ezra Miller and The Flash Movie: is WB betting on a Train Wreck?

The news keeps getting worse for Ezra Miller and Warner Bros.

Ezra Miller, 29, identifies as non-binary and uses the pronouns they/them.

They were every cinephile’s hope as the next big thing, an indie film darling who thumbed their nose at Hollywood norms while capturing attention with unforgettable, acclaimed performances, stealing the show from Tilda Swinton in WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN (2011) and playing a prototypical incel in AFTER SCHOOL (2008) – both roles where they portrayed a disturbed, murderous teen. And if you weren’t sure of their indie cred, Miller was also part of a well-regarded folk-rock band, THE SONS OF AN ILLUSTRIOUS FATHER.

Continued bad behavior by THE FLASH movie actor, Ezra Miller is bad news for Warner Bros. – photo: Big Stock

Miller began to reach broader young adult audiences with supporting roles in the indie hit PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER (2012) and as a BDSM-obsessed personal assistant in Amy Schumer’s TRAINWRECK (2015).

So it surprised everyone when Ezra Miller, the indie dark star, was suddenly up for a big Warner Bros/DC franchise as the star of The Flash. How could Miller handle Hollywood when there was hardly a studio film on their resume?

Continued bad behavior by actor Ezra Miller is bad news for WB and THE FLASH movie.

But ever since the announcement and their appearances as The Flash in JUSTICE LEAGUE, etc… Miller had yet to show off their leading person chops as the star of a multi-million dollar franchise. Plus, as if starring in THE FLASH wasn’t enough, Miller also landed a pivotal role in The WB’s THE FANTASTIC BEASTS movies. It was as if Miller’s agent had thrown out the indie playbook and decided to make Miller a big star. Or maybe execs at The WB decided Ezra played to the perfect YA audience demographic and would be for DC what Tom Holland was for the Spiderman franchise.

Unfortunately for the WB, while the anticipation grows for the 2023 release of THE FLASH, Miller seems to be burning every bridge as if they were untouchable. Maybe they are?

Miller’s legal problems began back when they were busted for pot possession while shooting PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER. They shocked the Comic-con crowd wearing outlandish costumes and heavy make-up, kissing fans and strutting as if they were Tim Curry as Frank-n-Furter from THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW. Miller on the red carpet was often dressed like Gautier on crack.

LOS ANGELES – SEP 10: Ezra Miller arrives at the “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” LA Premiere on Sep 10, 2012 in Hollywood, CA

On a 2020 trip to Iceland, Miller was caught on video choking a female fan outside a bar. The bar owner filed a complaint and amazingly the WB and Miller had no comment, hoping silence would help the incident fizzle, forgetting that the Internet has a long memory.

Fast forward to this year and it seemed as if Miller was in trouble with the police on a weekly basis in Hawaii, from bar fights over karaoke, and home invasions to stalking.  Miller was charged with disorderly conduct, harassment, and second-degree assault and later had a restraining order filed against them for a home invasion.

Again Warner Bros kept up with lukewarm support for Miller, announcing a “pause” of any “future projects” with Miller. Fans however started to lobby for a replacement actor for The Flash, particularly rallying for Grant Gustin who portrays the Flash on TV. Thanks to the recent Spiderman and Doctor Strange movies, the solution to the actor swap would simply be a case of the multiverse. Presto-switcho-done!

But the news gets worse for Miller and the WB.

This June, parents accused Ezra Miller of grooming their child, activist Tokota Iron Eyes, from the age of 13, allegedly using “violence, intimidation, threat of violence, fear, paranoia, delusions, and drugs [including marijuana and LSD]” to hold sway over their daughter.”  Though a judge granted a protective order, at the time of writing, the court has been unable to locate Miller to serve them with papers.

Clearly, Warner Bros feels it’s invested too much money in the first upcoming FLASH movie to re-shoot with a new actor, but they are weighing whether hardcore Flash fans will stay away to punish Miller and the WB. Generally, studios are loathing to admit that fans have any influence on casting decisions. Take a look at the “Replace Amber Heard” poll with over 4.6 million signatures! The WB has yet to respond.

With the history of actors behaving badly with careers unscathed – think Christian Bale’s alleged assault of his mother and sister to Johnny Depp’s nasty public court battle with ex, Amber Heard – the WB may be hoping that in a costume superhero movie, fans will forget the actor behind the mask. But as Miller’s behavior accumulates, will they end up like Armie Hammer and Ansel Elgort – forced to keep a low profile while waiting for vindication and hoping to avoid being canceled?

In Hollywood’s golden age, studios had charm school and an army of in-house publicists to keep their actors’ images clean. Afterward, each actor relied on their own PR team. (Remember Amber Heard firing her PR team mid-trial?) For all the talent Ezra Miller has, neither they or the WB are doing the fans a favor by not addressing and apologizing for their behavior.  If the WB beancounters weren’t fixated, they should be cutting Miller loose from The Flash franchise, reminding actors that they all have a “good behavior” and “morals” clause in their contract. Ezra Miller should not be untouchable as it sets a bad precedent for future actors in family-friendly movies.

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