‘The Flash’ Production Designer Isn’t Worried Ezra Miller’s History Will Derail the Movie: ‘People Will Forget That’
As Warner Bros. gears up to release “The Flash” in theaters this summer, many moviegoers are wondering how star Ezra Miller’s history of legal troubles and alleged abuse might impact the release and press tour. The film’s production designer, Oscar winner Paul Austerberry (“The Shape of Water”) isn’t sweating it. During a recent interview with CBC, Austerberry said “people will forget” Miller’s history when the film releases.
As reported by the CBC: “Austerberry says he’s not too concerned about how the stories surrounding Miller will affect the film. ‘People will forget that,’ he said, noting that Miller did a superb job playing the titular hero as two distinct characters, which required production to shoot the film in ‘two different chunks,’ with Ezra switching roles every few days.”
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Variety exclusively reported last August that Miller was seeking treatment for “complex mental health issues.” The actor was cited in Vermont with felony burglary last year after state police investigated an incident involving several bottles of alcohol being taken from a residence while the homeowners were not present.
In 2020, Miller made headlines after a recording surfaced in which they appeared to be choking a woman outside of a bar in Iceland. No charges were filed. The actor was also arrested twice in Hawaii in 2022, once for disorderly conduct and harassment. In the Hawaii incidents, Miller pled no contest to a single count of misdemeanor disorderly conduct and paid a $500 fine and $30 in court costs. The harassment charge was dismissed.
Miller apologized for their actions last August in a statement to Variety, writing, “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.”
Ahead of “The Flash” release, new DC Studios head James Gunn hyped the movie by calling it “one of the greatest superhero movies” ever made. Gunn’s fellow DC Studios head Peter Safran added that Miller’s future as the Flash would depend on their continued recovery.
“Ezra is completely committed to their recovery,” Safran said. “And we are fully supportive of that journey that they’re on right now. When the time is right, when they feel like they’re ready to have the discussion, we’ll all figure out what the best path forward is. But right now, they are completely focused on their recovery. And in our conversations with them over the last couple of months, it feels like they’re making enormous progress.”
Warner Bros. unveiled “The Flash” in its entirety last month at CinemaCon, where the tentpole earned strong first reactions from journalists in attendance. Miller’s performance was called a high point of the film. Director Andy Muschietti told press at the event, “Ezra is well now. We’re all hoping that they get better…They’re taking the steps to recovery. They’re dealing with mental health issues, but they’re well. We talked to them not too long ago, and they’re very committed to getting better.”
In his CBC interview, Austerberry said the biggest challenge of “The Flash” production design was incorporating elements from previous DC movies while still making them feel fresh. “The Flash” journeys through the multiverse as Miller’s superhero connects with Michael Keaton’s Batman, which meant recreating the Batcave audiences first saw in Tim Burton’s 1989 “Batman.”
“The trick was to make sure that it looked more modern than the original one, but it still had to hearken back to certain design cues from the original,” Austerberry said.
“We’re designing these things and designing the film for the big screen; this is a big screen, movie-going experience,” he added. “I hope most people see it on the big screen … This kind of movie is made for the multiplex. It’s made for the big spectacle.”
“The Flash” opens in theaters nationwide June 16 from Warner Bros.
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