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Given the Controversy Surrounding ‘The Flash’ and Its Star, Ezra Miller, Should the Film Be Released?

We’ve been hearing a lot about the DCEU lately—especially given Warner Bros. merging with Discovery—and several projects have either been canceled or had their fate appear up in the air. But one film, in particular, has seemed uncertain for quite some time now—and the history behind it (and its star) has left many confused as to why it continued to move full speed ahead. Ezra Miller has been the subject of a disturbing and (seemingly continuous) downward spiral that has left both fans and spectators alike in shock and disgust. But just when did these controversies start and what does this mean for the actor’s upcoming DCEU standalone film The Flash? Should it be canned?

Trigger warning: This story will contain mentions of abduction, abuse, and grooming. 

Miller’s Background

Ezra Miller in Fantastic Beasts- The Crimes of Grindelwald (2018)
(Warner Bros.)

Born in 1992 to a well-known publisher and a dancer, Ezra Miller came from a privileged background and first got their glimpse into the world of acting while starring in the Robert Wilson and Philip Glass opera White Raven. They would, later on, star in Afterschool, which premiered at Cannes, playing a high school loner who unexpectedly witnesses a death. Following the film’s release, Miller dropped out of school. In a 2012 interview, they spoke of their high school experience as an era where they often burnt and broke things. Miller’s big break would come in 2011—with the release of We Need to Talk About Kevin. In the movie, Miller plays the titular Kevin who goes on a murderous rampage on school grounds using a crossbow, which, by the way, Miller has kept (an odd keepsake considering its role in the film).

When 2012 rolled around, Miller played fan favorite Patrick in the adaptation of (the highly-popular YA novel) The Perks of Being a Wallflower, alongside Emma Watson and Logan Lerman. During filming for the movie, Miller had one of their first documented run-ins with the law, after being pulled over in Pittsburgh because of a broken brake light. Police found 20 grams of marijuana on them, but the charge for drug possession was dropped. However, the judge did give the actor two citations of disorderly conduct. In 2015/16 Miller’s star rose, with roles in the Stanford Prison Experiment and the Fantastic Beasts franchise. By 2016, they would finally make their first appearance as the Flash in Batman v. Superman. However, there was some other odd, though seemingly harmless, behavior they exhibited during this time period—including singing a weird rendition of Rihanna’s ‘Work’ and giving an interview in gibberish while dressed as Toadette from Mario Kart. However, as time progressed, this erratic behavior turned increasingly violent.

The Present Controversies

In February of 2020, early reports from Business Insider discussed what appeared to be a cult-like commune in Iceland—led by Miller. While there, Miller displayed multiple instances of violence in bars, including putting a woman in a chokehold, in a video that went viral, where he was also accused of screaming at her and spitting in her face. Fast forward to January of this year, and Miller would film a video of themself (on their since-deleted Instagram) directed at the Ku Klux Clan, saying:

“This is Ezra Miller—a.k.a. the Bengal Ghouls, the Mad Goose Wizard—and, um, this is a message for the Beulaville chapter of the North Carolina Ku Klux Klan. Hello. First of all, how are you all doing? Um, it’s me. Look, if y’all want to die, I suggest just killing yourselves with your own guns, okay? Otherwise, keep doing exactly what you’re doing right now—and you know what I am talking about—and then, you know, we’ll do it for you if that’s what you want,” the actor says in the clip. 

Two months later on March 27th, ‘The Flash Enters the Speed Force’ from the Snyder Cut won the all-new (and questionable) Oscars Fan Favorite Moment on the same day Miller was arrested in Hawaii, following another altercation in a bar. Apparently, the Barry Allen actor had issues with how the patrons sang Lady Gaga’s ‘Shallow.’ I wish I were making this up. But I’m not.

Anyway, Miller was bailed out by the couple they were living with in Hawaii. However, two days later, the same couple filed a restraining order against them, after the actor allegedly stole a passport and wallet from the pair. In April, we are still in Hawaii by the way, the actor would again be taken into custody after throwing a chair at a woman. A chair. All these, so far, are the least of what Miller has done. It only gets worse from here. 

In June, Miller would again trend after the parents of a teenage activist accused the actor of grooming their child. In these TMZ-obtained documents, it is narrated that Miller and the teen met at a protest when they were 12 and Miller was 23, and the actor allegedly flew the latter to London to visit them on the set of Fantastic Beasts. (The teen was only 14 at the time, while Miller was 25.) Their parents also allege Miller was giving their underage child alcohol and drugs. The, now adult, teen has since rebutted their parents’ claims that Miller has been intimidating them and using force to keep them by their side—in a statement on Instagram. That said, a 25-year-old bringing a 14-year-old child to stay with them in another country is problematic and inappropriate at best.

At around this timeframe, Miller would post memes on their own Instagram poking fun at how the police cannot find them. By June 16, The Daily Beast would publish a harrowing report detailing yet another alleged victim of Miller’s. This time, a 12-year-old child. According to the victim and witnesses, Miller made uncomfortable comments and physical gestures toward the child, and then, while playing a board game with the group, Miller exploded in anger, and when questioned (his trigger was a claim that a boardgame was cultural appropriation), showed a weapon on their person and made a threatening statement. A judge granted the family a temporary harassment prevention order following this and further incidents.

During the same month, another investigation (this time from Rolling Stone) would reveal that Miller has a farm in Vermont where they house three young children and their mother alongside unattended guns and marijuana plants. Toward the latter end of June (yes, we are still in this month for this story), an exclusive report from Variety recounted yet another experience of a victim, this time from a woman who alleged that Miller both harassed and insulted her. 

“I asked them to leave about 20 times, maybe more. They started insulting me. I’m a ‘transphobic piece of shit.’ I’m a ‘Nazi.’ It became so, so stressful for me. They were going around my house, looking at everything, touching everything, spreading tobacco leaves on the floor. It felt disgusting and very intrusive,” the woman, simply identified as Nadia in the report, recalled. 

Miller’s latest run-in with the law came with reports of them being arrested in Vermont for felony burglary. They had allegedly stolen several bottles of alcohol.

What happens to The Flash?

Ezra Miller plays Barry Allen/The Flash in the DCEU's Justice League.
(Warner Bros)

The question on everyone’s mind right now is, well, what happens with The Flash? Given the recent announcement canceling Batgirl (also known as my personal villain origin story), should we expect the same treatment for Miller’s rendition of the famous speedster? Surprisingly, the answer is both yes and no. 

According to The Hollywood Reporter, executives over at the Warners’ lot are exploring three options:

First, since Miller has recently been spotted with their mother and seems to be inclined to receive professional help, the studios are reportedly thinking of having the actor give an interview explaining their behavior this past…year? This tell-all would then be supposedly followed up with limited press for the film, which would still open in theaters. In a statement to Variety, Miller seemed to be starting an apology path, saying:

“Having recently gone through a time of intense crisis, I now understand that I am suffering complex mental health issues and have begun ongoing treatment,” Miller says. “I want to apologize to everyone that I have alarmed and upset with my past behavior. I am committed to doing the necessary work to get back to a healthy, safe and productive stage in my life.”

The second option would also mean the film would still be released. BUT without Miller doing any press. And the role would be recast for future Flash appearances (Grant Gustin comes to mind. Anybody?).

The third, and allegedly final, option is what most people are expecting: scrapping it. And while, given the severity of the accusations against Miller, that certainly would seem appropriate on one hand, on the other, this option would hurt everyone else who worked on the 200-million dollar film, too (recasting/refilming scenes would be nearly impossible, as Miller is in every scene).

The Numbers Look Bad for Miller

A recent survey conducted by A Morning Consult revealed that more than two among five adults in the United States would rather see the film canceled in its entirety. Only a third of its respondents answered that they would prefer for the movie to be postponed and have its main lead recast, while 14% answered that the studios should just release it as it is. 

Interestingly, a glaring 70% agreed with fully supporting a studio in having a problematic actor/actress removed from doing press for the film, while over 61% said they would support having a troublesome star’s name removed from credits. Coincidentally, this is exactly what happened with Miller’s latest film Dalíland where production icily decided to cut their name in the cast list for the official TIFF announcement. 

In an interview with Vanity Fair, the film’s director Mary Harron went on record about her experience filming with Miller, whom she apparently already had in mind to play a young Salvador Dalí over a decade ago when she first thought of developing Dalíland.

“It might have been different, especially if we were shooting, if there had been bad behavior during that. But this all happened after the film was not only filmed, but edited and mixed and done. I also felt like everybody shot all those things in good faith. Nothing bad happened during our filming, and the film is the film.” She further adds, “I’m not condoning anything they’ve done wrong. I think it doesn’t matter how talented someone is, if they’ve done anything wrong, they have to face it. I also think that clearly this is not just a young star acting out. This is much more serious. This seems like something that needs a serious intervention, which I hope has happened.”

What do you think should happen to The Flash?  

(featured image: Warner Bros.)

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Danielle is a twenty-something writer and postgrad student based in the Philippines. She loves books, movies, her cat, and traveling. In her spare time, she enjoys shooting 35mm film and going to concerts.