In light of the scandals mounting against him, the belief that Ezra Miller is damaged goods who may never be able to rehabilitate his image is reverberating around Hollywood – particularly so at Warner Bros. Studios.
According to Deadline, Miller’s rampage is not only the first crisis of new CEO David Zaslav’s ‘Discovery era’, but how he’ll handle it is a serious question.
As the publication notes, though the studio has allegedly tried getting help for the actor, his continuous scandals have left Warner in a spot where they can’t exactly put Miller on a press tour even if he were to stay out of trouble – not that he can be counted on to do even that anymore.
The Flash is another matter. Though the film is finally in the can and holds a release date of next year, Miller has already effectively short-circuited its box office potential.
Will anyone even want to see it in light of history of arrests and assaults dating back to 2020 in Iceland?
Suffice to say, it’s a very bad thing for the studio if moviegoers don’t show up for the Scarlet Speedster’s reality smashing continuity reset, as the future of the DCEU hinges on the film’s success and plans are already in full swing.
With his introduction to the DCEU Multiverse, Michael Keaton’s Batman is supposed to stick around and train a new generation of heroes, including Leslie Grace’s Batgirl, whose solo outing is also being prepped for a 2023 release.
How can Zaslav manage the damage? Deadline says he has two main options: he can either “pull back on heavily promoting the summer 2023 film, confining it to some P&A and no publicity tour. Or he can relegate it to streaming with HBO Max and take a write-down”.
Yet, considering the movie’s initial $200 million budget and the untold costs of promotions and reshoots, as well as the cinematic universe plains laid out above, it’s unlikely Warner will cut their loses and throw The Flash onto streaming à la Wonder Woman 1984.
There is, however, one card left for Zaslav to play that, audacious as it may be, could be more soothing to a corporate bottom line – even to a fault.
According to Deadline, the newly appointed CEO can also choose to “lean in toward making the movie a hit and then drop Miller if they can’t straighten things out.”
Notably, the old Warner regime under Toby Emmerich and Ann Sarnoff did just that with Johnny Depp and his role as Gellert Grindelwald in the Fantastic Beast franchise over the now infamous accusations leveled against by him Amber Heard.
Making this even more likely is that Miller has shown himself to be far more toxic than even the false version of Depp presented to the public by Heard via his numerous arrests, recorded assaults, and now his facing of multiple child grooming accusations.
The nonbinary actor, as a self-proclaimed life coach, allegedly used his status to get close to adolescents as young as twelve.
This week, his transgressions came back to haunt him when a Massachusetts mother and child issued a temporary harassment prevention order after accusing Miller of menacing them and acting inappropriately with the child.
A witness for the order even alleged that, at one point during their encounter, Miller told the then-11-year-old child’s mother, “I’ve talked extensively with your child, and they have a lot of power to them.”
“At one point, you’re going to realize that you don’t have any control over them anymore,” the actor said. “They’re an elevated being, and they would be lucky to have someone like me guide them.”
A week earlier, the parents of teenager Tokata Iron Eyes issued a separate order of protection against Miller for the negative influence they allege he has over her.
“Ezra uses violence, intimidation, threat of violence, fear, paranoia, delusions, and drugs to hold sway over a young adolescent Tokata,” said her parents in their filing, as obtained by several news sources.
Amidst reports that the Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Court who issued the first protective order against him “cannot locate or serve Miller”, The Flash and Fantastic Beasts star deleted their Instagram after appearing to taunt authorities over their inability to uncover their current whereabouts.
In the face of her parents’ accusations, the now-18-year-old Tokata has stuck up for the actor, sharing a video to her personal Instagram on June 10th expressing disappointment “in my parents and the press in every way,” for their handling of the situation.
With each passing week, says Deadline, the studio’s silence on Miller makes it more and more arduous for Warner Bros. to recover the ball.
The studio is apparently aware of this, as one purported studio source told Deadline that “There is no winning in this for Warner Bros.”
“This is an inherited problem for Zaslav,” the source said. “The hope is that the scandal will remain at a low level before the movie is released, and hope for the best to turn out.”
Regardless of whether or not it’s too late for Miller to recover his own image, further sources informed Deadline that, as per the outlet’s own description, “even if no more allegations surface, the studio won’t likely keep Miller in the Flash role in future DC films.”
In other words, it seems that no matter what, Miller will – sooner rather than later – eventually be replaced as DC’s resident speedster.
Previously, rumors circulated that either Sam Claflin of Hunger Games fame or Maze Runner actor Dylan O’Brien would replace Miller courtesy of reshoots and digital FX work.
However, these were debunked by inside sources who explained that, especially with him playing three different versions of Barry Allen, Miller was just in too much of The Flash to reshoot his parts with someone else.
There’s always the chance that one of them could be introduced as an alternate Barry at the end of the film, who would go on to take over the mantle of the core ‘Flash’ from there, but at present, Miller is the one who will appear in the red threads when the film – if ever – hits screens.
Warner and Zaslav have a year to decide, but with each day, they find themselves with fewer and fewer workable options.
Moreover, if Miller continues to self-destruct, they may run out of them all together. If more of his sins were to come to light, it’s possible that The Flash could, once and for all, be rendered unreleasable poison.
Consequently and unfortunately for the WBD CEO, Zaslav’s grand scheme of a DC Studios equivalent to Marvel’s might would then risk certain doom.