Ezra Miller: Life Imitating Art?

Ezra Miller is an interesting character — and I use that ch-word deliberately. His life seems a studied piece of improvisation, a staged and predictable performance in conventional, perpetual non-conformity. His sexual polyamorism and adventurism, his strident identification with and defense of anyone and everyone oppressed (except Christians, of course; “Christians are the most persecuted religious group in the world and it’s accelerating,” USCIRF Report, 2019), and his attention-demanding choice of clothing make him something of a historical glyph or cartoon capturing the Zeitgeist. I rather like watching the ‘Ezra Miller Show’ as it plays out, even if the series currently seems caught in a loop of re-run spontaneity; I enjoy his having been cast as the loner Credence Barebone, lost and confused about who he is and the meaning of his life as much as anyone. He plays the part really well.

Lately, though, I have been worried about Boy Wonder Ezra. He may have over-played the ‘bad boy’ hand, the guy who knows-better than the experts, with Warner Brothers, the movie studio responsible for the DC super-hero movies (as well as, y’know, the Wizarding World).

On 17 March, it was reported that Miller was disappointed with the script for The Flash film in which he plays the lead role. DC wanted a relatively light and engaging film like its recent successes with Wonder Woman and Aquaman; Miller thought they needed a more profound and challenging story — and said he would be writing the script? 

The development has bubbled up from a clash of creative visions. John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein, who have been on board the project since January 2018, have taken a light-hearted approach to the material (and even hail from that sort of background, with credits like Spider-Man: Homecoming and Game Night). And, as sources note, that is the general track favored by Warners, which scored a billion-dollar hit with Aquaman by going the fun spectacle route and is seeing strong buzz on Shazam!, which is wearing its “superheroics is fun” on its sleeve.

Miller is said to want a darker take on the material.

The two sides have been working on compromises since last year, but Miller took the initiative to tackle the story himself. He partnered with Morrison, with Warners hiring the two to script their take. It is a rare move for an actor to be so invested in a superhero project that they switch hats, but Miller sees himself as deeply committed to the character.

If to you that seems a presumptuous and self-destructively naive over-reach for the actor, don’t feel that’s a unique or uncharitable take on your part. Warner Brothers decision makers seem to agree.
On 13 April, we had reports that the Miller-Morrison script for Flash had been rejected — and, in the process, the actor may have lost a to-die-for part in the DC Superhero franchise at Warner Brothers.

Recently, development on Warner Bros.’ The Flash movie took an unexpected turn. Star Ezra Miller disagreed with the lighter tone directors Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley want and so decided to provide his own script for the Scarlet Speedster’s solo movie with comic book scribe Grant Morrison. It was reported that if the studio didn’t want to go with his screenplay, though, Miller would be out as Barry Allen.

Well, according to a source close to We Got This Covered, this has come to pass and Miller may now be done as the Flash. It should be said that our source notes they’ve heard some conflicting information on the topic, but we’re told that the general consensus amongst those close to the project is that the Justice League star won’t be playing the lead in The Flash, after all, and Warner Bros. will now recast the role.

As laid out in previous write-ups of the situation, the reason for this is that WB decided not to go with Miller’s storyline as it’s simply not the route they want to take. We’ve been told that they liked his script, but not enough to change course. This makes sense, too, considering WB has found success with lighter fare like Aquaman and Shazam! of late and Miller’s script was said to be a grand, dark multiversal epic in the vein of Flashpoint.

On 26 May we learned ( as in ‘heard still another industry rumor’) that Ezra Miller’s time with DC/Warner Brothers would be over if the parties could not agree on a new contract by 1 June. No contract, no more difficulties with actor-turned-screenwriter-and-creative-visionary, on with the show.

As Warner Bros. Pictures moves forward with their DC Comics franchises, it looks like some of the last remnants of Zack Snyder’s influence are about to disappear. Snyder had a hand in casting some of the biggest players in this current iteration, with Gal Gadot and Jason Momoa leading budding Wonder Woman and Aquaman franchises. But the remaining Justice League actors might be on their way out.

Ben Affleck has already stepped away from Batman, paving the way for Robert Pattinson to take the role. Rumors indicate that Henry Cavill’s time as Superman is likely over, as well. And now it seems like Ray Fisher and Ezra Miller are done as Cyborg and the Flash respectively.

It was previously reported that Miller’s holding deal for the Flash is set to expire this month. Fisher reportedly signed a similar deal, and unless they re-up their contracts then Warner Bros. will officially be moving on. If we don’t hear anything by next week, it’s safe to assume these two are done as DC Comics superheroes.

We’re well into June and I haven’t heard or read anything online either way about the contract negotiations. That could just be a publicity stunt or a poker move from either party in the discussion. Has Miller hit the brakes on the publicly expressed arrogance of “I know best” about Flash? I’m not getting that from what he is quoted as saying in the ComicBook.com/DC piece above, although the quotation appears to be from the time just before the Crimes of Grindelwald release, i.e., well before this kerfuffle about scripts.

Miller himself explained the reasoning for the delay while doing press for ‘Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald’ last year.

“Anyone who knows anything about Barry Allen knows that he’s always late,” Miller said. “But then when he arrives, he gets stuff done. And that’s definitely how this film’s production schedule is proceeding. We’re a little late.

“But the reason why we are late,” the actor continued. “And this is the honest to god truth… We’re all — and I include myself in this — we are very meticulously focused on making a movie that’s not just one of the greatest superhero movies that we can possibly make. This movie’s also going to be a gift to the fans.”

Will Ezra Miller self-destruct as part of his live-theater role as Chaos-and-Pleasure-Seeking-Missile incarnate? I half expect he will in time, but I’m sure, media-magnet and star quote-generator that he is, we will hear all about it and soon. Let’s hope he comes out of this with enough of his relationship with Warner Brothers intact to continue in the Fantastic Beasts movies.

Hey, if Rowling is not going to be writing the screenplays for the next few Beasts movies (yes, that’s a rumor, too), maybe Ezra can lend a hand?


  1. Kelly Loomis says

    I read an article around the time of the press releases for Crimes and was very worried about Ezra as a person. Along with the piece in Rolling Stone about Johnny Depp, there seemed to be an almost self-destruct tendency which may play out as a real life tragedy. I wish better than that for these men but am not optimistic for them as time goes along.

  2. Kelly Loomis, I can understand that you are worried about Johnny Depp. He really has always had a strong self destructive streak and it shows. I read the fairly recent Rolling Stones portrait, too, and sense that Depp’s private troubles are far from over. But I can’t sense this at all in Ezra Miller, although you may have different informations. I’m not all that knowledgeable about him, since I’m not an ardent fan and find his interpretation of Credence’s role so far slightly annoying and whiny. But Ezra Miller as a person just seems to be young, still a bit immature and therefore strongly determined to be outrageous and “different” at all costs. But as far as I know, he isn’t into hard drugs and alcohol abuse. If he has an addictive streak at all, he may be a serious fashion junkie😋
    As far as his career ist concerned, I don’t find it alarming at all that he tries to influence and shape the roles he is taking on. This doesn’t mean he’s self destructive. He could just have a healthy sense of artistic integrity, and this overrides monetary interests. If that’s so, good for him! He may be a bit overconfident in his artistic abilities, though, and may therefore jeopardize some roles now and then, but if he really doesn’t like the way his characters have been developed, I don’t consider this unhealthy per se. It will be very interesting to see how he will develop as an artist and a person in the coming years.

    But Kelly, you made me realize something I haven’t thought about before: I never realized that Johnny Depp and Ezra Miller actually have a lot in common – except hopefully the self destructive streak. As far as his looks are concerned, Miller very much looks like a young Johnny Depp. We don’t realize this in “Fantastic Beasts” because the design of Grindelwald’s look strongly distorts Johnny Depp’s natural brunette elfin looks. But Ezra Miller’s character Credence Barebone looks strikingly like a younger brother or son of Johnny Depp/Grindelwald – far more so than like a relative of Jude Law’s Dumbledore😶 And I wonder now if this striking resemblance to a young Johnny Depp has something to do with the choice to cast Ezra Miller as Credence.
    Can this casting choice tell us something about the conundrum of Credence’s true origins? In a GQ portrait from 2018 Ezra Miller is described as barely belonging to the human race. He doesn’t fit a mold and as Credence Barebone he may well turn out to be one of the fantastic beasts! And that may be the reason why Newt is very much qualified to deal with and protect Credence.

  3. Kelly Loomis says

    Sabine, I can’t remember where I read an interview with Ezra, but he mentioned issues with mental health in the past and actually made a comment about hoping he lived past a certain age. It was a couple of years ago and probably attached to a press tour for one of his movies (could have even been with a FB movie??).

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