By Jaie Laplante, Executive Director & Director of Programming
The 22-year-old actor Ezra Miller invigorates two summer movies opening over the next month. In Sophie Barthes’ well-toned new adaptation of the classic Flaubert novel Madame Bovary, opening this Friday, Miller cuts a startlingly contemporary figure out of Bovary’s student-clerk lover Leon Dupuis. In Miami-born filmmaker Kyle Patrick Alvarez’s disturbing reenactment of the 1971 real-life The Stanford Prison Experiment, releasing in July, it’s Miller’s insouciant Daniel Culp that is the blistering, smelling-salt warning for the audience that something is going to go very, very wrong.
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Miami audiences were treated to Miller’s talent from the very beginning of his career. He appeared in back-to-back Festivals, starring as a disturbed elite boarding school student in Antonio Campos’ Afterschool (2009 Knight World Competition), and then playing Andy Garcia’s obsessed-with-overweight-women young teenage son in City Island, a Gala hit at our 2010 Festival. Miller gained international attention as the psychotic teenage problem child in Lynne Ramsey’s We Need To Talk About Kevin (2011), which played in the Official Competition at Cannes Film Festival, and a touching supporting role in Stephen Chbosky’s screen adaptation of his own hit young adult novel, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, followed in 2012.
In all six of these films, Miller demonstrates a magnetism and charisma that unquestionably marks him as a movie star. He projects a strong, confident physicality and an easy-going nature that suggests fluidity with amicable connection; in quieter moments, he reveals an almost feline vulnerability that both sexes equally truckle toward. The actor’s comfort with his off-screen sexuality (he came out as “queer” to media at the age of 19) undoubtedly contributes to the direct, honest quality of his on-screen persona (even when playing the psychotic Kevin).
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In Madame Bovary, the concern and care with which he infuses the young Leon, especially when it is clear that his lover Emma is not at all well, mark a complex youthful maturity. Perhaps more than any other actor in the excellent cast, Miller seems to stay effortlessly in the period while most reflecting Barthes’ contemporary psychological parallels in her effort to refresh the tale for 2015.
In The Stanford Prison Experiment, which is not a movie about human evil, but rather how quickly people will believe something to be real that they know is not real, it makes perfect sense that Miller’s character is of the strongest mind, the most unshakable sense of self, the least likely to succumb as easily as his fellow students do to the controversial techniques of Dr. Philip Zimbardo.
In recognition of Ezra Miller’s outstanding talent, Warner Bros and Marvel Comics have recently announced Miller’s first major starring role will be in the 2018 big-screen adaptation of The Flash.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]