Even though it won’t be on the Warner Bros release calendar until June 23, 2023, The flash will be Warner Bros Discovery CEO David Zaslav’s first movie crisis, due to escalating coverage of incidents of volatile and odd behavior involving the movie star, Ezra Miller.
Zaslav has made it clear that he wants to grow the DC universe on an MCU scale and has all the ingredients for a first step forward in The flashincluding the return of Michael Keaton as Batman, along with a revival of Ben Affleck, a $200 million budget, and a stellar director in Andy Muschietti, who delivered the blockbuster It for the studio. Warner Bros Discovery CEO exercised his well-known penchant for micromanagement by refusing to give the green light Wonder Twins because it’s too niche. Zaslav will soon have to make a decision about what to do with the finished picture that is The flashand what to do with a young actor who appears to have serious compensation issues.
Deadline has learned that the studio has been trying to get help for Miller, but the troubling headlines continue to pile up. Could you send a potential liability on a worldwide publicity tour and have the actor anchor a huge studio franchise game?
Zaslav has several choices and he will make one soon. Among them: he can pull back from heavily promoting the summer 2023 film, limiting it to some P&A and no publicity tour. Or he can downgrade it to streaming with HBO Max and take a write-off. Or go for it to make the movie a hit and drop Miller if they can’t straighten things out. Warner Bros did when it dropped the Grindelwald character’s Johnny Depp in the Fantastic Beasts franchise, following the actor’s well-publicized failed British lawsuit; the studio replaced Depp with Mads Mikkelsen.
“There’s no winning here for Warner Bros,” a studio source tells us. “This is an inherited problem for Zaslav. The hope is that the scandal will remain at a low level before the film is released, and hope the best comes out.” In Zaslav’s plan to make DC an explosively successful division like Marvel under its newly structured studio, with its own new boss, the non-binary identifying Miller, we hear, is just not part of those plans for the future in the future universe, regardless of whether there are more accusations or not.
The latest round of unflattering headlines came twice in the past two weeks for 29-year-old Miller. The everyday beast reported that there was a temporary harassment prevention order issued this week by a 12-year-old and a mother in Greenfield, MA against the actor after Miller allegedly threatened the family and acted inappropriately towards the non-binary child.
Last week, the parents of an 18-year-old named Tokata filed Iron Eyes paperwork asking a judge to issue a protection order against the actor on behalf of their child, saying Miller nursed and brainwashed Tokata.
“Ezra uses violence, intimidation, threat of violence, fear, paranoia, delusions and drugs to control a young adolescent Tokata,” the file, which was obtained from multiple outlets, reads.
The 18-year-old’s parents claim the two met at Standing Rock Reservation in North Dakota when their child was just 12. The parents allege that Miller gave Tokata alcohol and drugs, flew the child to London and places such as Vermont, New York, California and Hawaii. Last week, Miller deleted his Instagram account in light of the North Dakota tribe’s subpoena; the actor is said to mock the authorities about their whereabouts.
Tokata posted a video on Instagram defending Miller.
“It’s nobody’s business and nobody owes a story or a result,” Tokata said in the two-minute video. “This is my life and this is my decision and I am disappointed in my parents and the press – in every way.”
Ahead of recent news of Tokata’s parents’ allegations against Miller, the actor was arrested twice in March in Hawaii for dusting at a karaoke bar, followed a month later by an arrest for second-degree assault on a residence, for going to allegedly throwing a chair at a woman at a private party Miller was attending and cutting her forehead. During the first incident, the Hawaii Police Department Hilo Patrol reported that Miller became “agitated” when customers began singing “Shallow” from A star is born.
“Miller started yelling obscenities and at one point grabbed the microphone of a 23-year-old woman singing karaoke (disorderly conduct) and later lunged at a 32-year-old man playing darts (harassment). The bar owner has asked Miller to calm down several times, but to no avail.” The actor was arrested and charged with both offenses with a $500 bail. Bail was provided and Miller was released.
Two days later, the couple living in a hostel with Miller filed a restraining order against the actor after Miller came home from the karaoke bar and reportedly threatened to “bury” them. Miller allegedly stole the woman’s passport and the man’s wallet. The restraining order was lifted in mid-April.
An even more disturbing incident took place in April 2020: A video went viral and appeared to show Miller strangling and throwing a woman at a bar in Reykjavik, Iceland, an incident that happened after Miller was confronted by pushy fans. Miller was escorted out of the room.
Born in Wyckoff, NJ, Miller’s career began to grow with a turnaround in Showtime’s California and playing a sociopathic murderous teenager in the critically acclaimed Lynne Ramsay film We need to talk about Kevin. Other notable credits followed in The benefits of a wallflower are and The Stanford Prison Experiment before Miller landed the role of The Flash in Zack Snyder’s Batman vs Superman. Miller, displaying a keen energy and humor, resumed Justice League. Miller also worked with Warner Bros. in the Fantastic Beasts trilogy as Credence Barebone.
Warner Bros has so far declined to comment on Miller or where these mounting incidents will leave the studio and the actor’s future. Deadline has reached out to Miller’s legal representatives and will update if they have statements about the recent restraining order against the actor.