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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 11 December 2018

Flash spectrum: Ezra Miller talks about everything but the big movie

The star of indie gems such as Afterschool, Gonzo and We Need to Talk About Kevin is now the star of one of mainstream cinema’s biggest franchises, the DC Universe

Actor Ezra Miller Tim P. Whitby / Getty Images
Actor Ezra Miller Tim P. Whitby / Getty Images

Ezra Miller, aka The Flash from the DC Cinematic Universe, was in Dubai for the first time for Comic Con, and with his own standalone DC film in 2020, it sounds like he may be back before too long. “It’s an incredible event. There’s a balance here between the splendour and glory you might find at a big event like San Diego, and the sense of community and personal nature you might find at a much smaller Comic Con event,” he tells The National.

“I think it’s an amazing Con for that reason. It’s my first time in this region of the world, and what I always gravitate towards is safe space, space that sanctions people to be their fuller selves, express their fuller passions, delve deeper into their inner selves, to be able to flesh out who they want to be. Their fantasies, their ideals, the things that they’re obsessed with. These events give licence for them to be able to do that in a way that broader society often fails to. And to see that in this part of the world in particular, for obvious reasons, it’s very beautiful.”

Miller isn’t without his own conflicts – his personal ones often play out in the western media. Professionally, meanwhile, the star of indie gems such as Afterschool, Gonzo and We Need to Talk About Kevin is now the star of one of mainstream cinema’s biggest franchises, the DC Universe. Was this a career path he planned?

“Well, look, I loved enormous films when I was a kid, but my vision for my career path was just to play a wide field of characters that I resonated with, and that’s all I’ve done and all I ever wanted to do and all I wish to continue to do,” Miller says. “It’s about the characters, about the story, what I gravitate towards is what I’m feeling and what I’m interested in.”

As an artist who began his career as an opera singer in New York before progressing to full-on festival circuit indie darling, then blockbuster celeb, does he have a standpoint on where he’d like to place himself?

It seems Scottish director Lynne Ramsay may provide an answer of sorts. Miller starred in her critically acclaimed 2011 adaptation of Lionel Shriver’s novel We Need to Talk About Kevin, and speaks of the free-willed director with the highest regard. “Lynne has the same mentality that didn’t restrict my work to independent filmmaking, and wouldn’t restrict my work in either direction to either studio or independent filmmaking in future. I would love more than anything to work with Lynne again, maybe more than anything in my life. I think she may well be the greatest living filmmaker,” Miller says. That’s a huge claim for a filmmaker with only four features to her name. Miller says the pair share certain anarchic traits that will bind them in perpetuity. “I love Lynne as a very good friend, and we share certain attitudes and understandings,” he says. “I think it’s better for everyone if we stay clear of cookie cutter answers or trying to please everyone all the time or trying to fill some elusive mould. I just think if you answer questions honestly and try to be real human beings it’s better for us and ultimately better for everyone else.”

Miller adds that this honest approach need not apply only to films, but also to everyday life, in as much as that he exists as the star of a hugely bankable franchise. “It seems better to give examples of flawed, complicated, weird people to the media because everyone who works in the media and everyone who absorbs media and consumes media is also a weird, flawed, complicated person,” he says.

As my time with Miller draws to a close, it strikes me that I haven’t asked him the big question, although it’s one I’ve been told I can’t ask him – “What’s going on with The Flash movie?” The film has raced through directors, writers, release dates and names at the rate most of us change our socks. So, instead I ask how he takes his mind off The Flash movie, while ignoring questions about it.

“It’s not a problem for me. I have a lot of projects running,” he says. “I play in a band, we have an album in June. It’s very time consuming to make one piece of art, and I’m doing a bunch. What I really want to do is take a ‘me day’. I take ‘me time’ at the end of every day to just spend time in solitude, I’m committed to that, but actual me time, if it’s not music, but the people who I love and care about, if I have one day off I want to spend a day with them, and I realised I haven’t done that for two years.”

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