Ezra Miller Arrest Prompts Emergency Warner Bros. Meeting About Star’s Future
Exclusive: An insider says Miller had “frequent meltdowns” during production last year on ‘The Flash’ and described the actor as “losing it”
Will Smith isn’t the only Hollywood star facing career backlash in the wake of a public outburst.
On March 30, Warner Bros. and DC executives held an emergency impromptu meeting to discuss Ezra Miller’s future with the studio following The Flash star’s recent arrest for disorderly conduct and harassment. According to a knowledgeable source, the consensus in the room was to hit pause on any future projects involving Miller including possible appearances in the DC Extended Universe.
The studio has more than a year before it has to make any hard decisions about a potential sequel to The Flash. Warner Bros. also has avoided making any key decisions on tentpoles ahead of Discovery taking control of WarnerMedia in a $43 billion mega-merger. WarnerMedia chief Ann Sarnoff announced on Tuesday that she is exiting the company as AT&T spins off its entertainment division to Discovery. Last month, Warner Bros. moved the Andrés Muschietti-helmed first installment The Flash — a production fraught with drama — from Nov. 4, 2022 to June 23, 2023.
One insider says Miller had “frequent meltdowns” during production last year on The Flash. While the insider stresses there was no yelling or violent outbursts, they described Miller as “losing it.” “Ezra would get a thought in [their] head and say, ‘I don’t know what I’m doing,’” the insider tells Rolling Stone.
According to the March 28 police report, Miller became agitated after patrons at a Hawaii bar began singing karaoke. Miller shouted obscenities and grabbed the microphone from a 23-year-old woman as she was singing and allegedly lunged at a 32-year-old man playing darts. The 29-year-old movie star was arrested and charged on both counts and was released on $500 bail. The incident took place at Margarita Village in Hilo, Hawaii, the day before Miller’s Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore castmates were celebrating that film’s world premiere in London.
Even more troubling, a local couple filed a temporary restraining order against Miller on March 29. The couple claimed that after Miller’s arrest, Miller burst into their bedroom and threatened them, with Miller saying to the man, “I will burry [sic] you and and your slut wife,” according to the report. The petition also alleges that Miller stole the woman’s passport and the man’s wallet, which included a social security card, driver’s license and bank cards. A judge granted a TRO the following day. The judge is expected to make a decision on whether or not to extend the restraining order by the end of the month.
The Hawaii incidents are the latest in a series of troubling events involving Miller. In April 2020, footage of the actor apparently choking a woman at an Iceland bar circulated on social media. The Justice League star was kicked out of Prikið Kaffihús bar, but no arrests were made. (Miller has never commented on the incident.) Sources say the Iceland footage gave Warner Bros. pause at the time, but Miller was not kicked off Secrets of Dumbledore like castmate Johnny Depp, who lost his libel case against a British tabloid, which had referred to the actor as a “wife beater.”
In January, Miller posted a since-deleted video on Instagram threatening a North Carolina chapter of the Ku Klux Klan. The actor told members of the chapter to kill themselves with their own guns, otherwise “we’ll do it for you if that’s what you want.”
Miller shot Fantastic Beasts and The Flash back to back for the studio in London in fall 2020 and spring 2021, respectively. Given the positive buzz on early footage of The Flash, the film was expected to catapult Miller into a rarified group of actors who can carry a major box-office hit.
But the Hawaii incidents are expected to cause PR headaches for the star and Warner Bros. In the TRO petition, the couple noted that Miller “is famous and wealthy; this makes access to weapons much easier; as well as sending associates to harass the petitioner.”
Miller is known to have a fascination with weapons. During a 2018 cover interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Miller offered to show this reporter the crossbow from the film We Need to Talk About Kevin, in which the teen actor portrayed a high school killer. “You wanna see the real bow and arrow from Kevin, man? ‘Cause I got it right back there. I really do,” Miller said at the actor’s Vermont farm. “People usually don’t want to see it when I ask them. They usually say, ‘No, I prefer to not see that bow and arrow.’ And I say, ‘OK. It’s up to you.’”
During the interview, Miller also defended gun rights. “People need to protect themselves,” the actor said. In fact, Miller, who identifies as nonbinary and uses they/them pronouns, said they don’t have a problem with people owning semi-automatic weapons. “Nope.” That passage initially appeared in a sidebar story on the actor but was pulled at the behest of the actor’s publicist following a mass shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue.
Miller first burst onto the scene as a teenager in Antonio Campos’ 2008 drama Afterschool, which centered on an Internet-addicted prep-school student who captures the drug overdose of two girls on video. The actor quickly landed at the top of wish lists among the major studios and was paid low seven figures each for both Fantastic Beasts and The Flash stand-alone. But Miller‘s behavior has become increasingly erratic in recent years, putting their career in expensive tentpoles that require lengthy publicity tours in jeopardy.
A source says Miller was never expected to attend the Fantastic Beasts premiere because their publicity plans for the film were limited given that they was saving contractual promotion commitments for The Flash. Fantastic Beasts hits theaters in the U.S. on April 15.
Rolling Stone reached out to Margarita Village, Prikið Kaffihús and the couple who were granted the restraining order but did not receive a response. Reps for Miller and Warner Bros. declined comment.
As for Smith, who also is a part of the DC Extended Universe as supervillain Deadshot, Warner Bros. and DC had been developing a Smith-led stand-alone film for Deadshot but had put it on the backburner long before his Oscars assault of Chris Rock. Smith, whose price tag was $20 million for Warner Bros. King Richard, priced himself out well before his controversy. Despite Smith’s apology to Rock, studios are reevaluating the actor’s involvement in various projects around Hollywood.
From Rolling Stone US.