'The Flash' star Ezra Miller's off-screen controversies have made headlines. Co-stars still laud the actor's 'many talents.'
Miller was cast in the big-budget DC flick in 2014, and they've faced a string of controversial issues since.
It's been a long wait for the much anticipated superhero movie The Flash, which finally comes out June 16. Ezra Miller was cast in the lead role more than eight years ago, during which time they've been arrested on multiple occasions for disorderly conduct, physical assault and burglary, among other things, and also have been accused of grooming minors and leading a cult.
The actor, who uses they/them pronouns, even felt compelled to make a public statement about their actions last August: "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. 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."
Despite the controversy, Miller's co-stars and others who have worked with them have been supportive, from actor Michael Shannon, who's said that Miller is "lovely," to James Gunn, co-chair of DC Films, who has already lauded The Flash as "probably one of the greatest super hero movies ever made." Critics are fans too, especially of Miller's performance as two versions of their character — at least so far.
Here's what some of Miller's peers in the entertainment industry have had to say about them:
Michael Shannon, co-star in The Flash and the DC Extended Universe
"I thought Ezra was lovely — very kind to me when I was there," Shannon told Vanity Fair in May. "It's difficult to talk about, but I always give people a lot of slack in this business, because there's a lot of people in this business that have issues. And some people have more privacy than others. Any time somebody is out in the spotlight getting picked on, I feel for them. Even if it's warranted, it's still a horrible situation."
Kiersey Clemons, co-star in the DCEU and Asking for It
In February, Clemons told the Hollywood Reporter that The Flash was "a really great movie," and she touched on the difficulty of watching the media coverage of Miller and their mental health issues.
"What people forget is that a lot of people go through that but they don't do it with the whole world watching," Clemons said. "Although it comes with the territory, it's really unfair and has been hard watching that."
Jason Momoa, co-star in the DCEU
The Aquaman star shared the first trailer for the movie that Miller headlines when it dropped. He captioned it, "I'm so excited and proud of this movie. Love you, Ezra can't wait to see this aloha."
Andy Muschietti, director of The Flash
At CinemaCon in April, Muschietti raved about his leading man, as he promoted the movie: "They are an incredible actor. I had a chance to work with one of the best actors I've ever worked with. They bring the emotion, the humor. They wanted to do all the stunts, and I let them."
Mary Harron, director of Dalíland
Harron knew she wanted to cast Miller in her 2022 movie about the life of artist Salvador Dalí after seeing their 2012 movie The Perks of Being a Wallflower, but she faced some pushback.
"At that point, the producers and everyone were saying, 'Well, you can't cast them because they're not a big enough star,'" Harron told Vanity Fair in August 2022. "And then a year later they were too big a star and had to drop out because they got Fantastic Beasts, and then later got The Flash. I thought it's a shame because they're such a good actor. What about getting them to play young Salvador Dalí? It doesn't matter how busy they are. We can consolidate and shoot them in one week."
Because Ben Kingsley played the older version of the artist, Harron looked for someone with "tremendous focus and intensity" like him, which she found in Miller.
"They stayed very loyal to the project for years," Harron said, "even when other people dropped out right and left because of schedule changes and the pandemic."
Grant Morrison, writer of The Flash
"I know they've had these problems," Morrison, who worked on an alternate script of The Flash with Miller, told Rolling Stone in June 2022. "I haven't spoken to them for a while, and the last time I spoke was long, long before this. All I can say is that it's just not the person I know. I've heard stories just like everyone else. I just don't know. Ezra cut off contact from pretty much everyone for a while. It's not the person they were. They weren't aggressive in any way. I just thought Ezra was a super-intelligent kid with so many talents. So all I can say is that I didn't see that side in any way with them."
Paul Austerberry, production designer on The Flash
Superb is how Austerberry described Miller's performance in the DC movie they worked on together. "People will forget" their off-screen controversies once they see it, he told the CBC in April.
James Gunn and Peter Safran, leaders of DC Studios
Despite all that's happened behind the scenes, in a January news conference, Gunn called The Flash, in which Miller stars, "probably one of the greatest super hero movies ever made," according to Variety.
Safran, meanwhile, pointed out that Miller was "completely committed to their recovery" and that there would be a conversation about their future with the franchise "when they feel like they're ready."