Over the last couple of months, Sarah and I have been mulling over how to cover The Flash. We don’t talk about it all the time, but when it comes up it’s one of those conversations that exasperates both of us – because it’s part of our job to cover the industry, and The Flash is a big movie, but it’s also… you know… the whole Ezra Miller business.
Just one year ago Ezra Miller was making headlines for alleged sexual assault, accused of grooming minors and threatening people with firearms and possibly running a cult. After several months of controversy, last August Ezra issued a statement explaining that they were “suffering complex mental health issues” and was now committed to “ongoing treatment”. And since they're the star of a major studio blockbuster, the corporation of course is prioritising profit and protecting their investment, seemingly using its considerable influence to shield its star from accountability.
Ezra has been pretty invisible through promotion for the movie … until last night, when they showed up to the premiere and was greeted with applause when they were introduced at the screening before being handed the mic and expressing their gratitude to the movie’s directors and the studio executives, including David Zaslav, and others who have supported them:
Ezra Miller thanks #TheFlash director Andy and Barbaraâ€™s Muschietti, the Warner Bros. brass and DC co-chairs Peter Safran and James Gunn for their â€œgrace and discernment and careâ€ and the cast pic.twitter.com/82vNFjioQ4— Deadline Hollywood (@DEADLINE) June 13, 2023
So… I guess the comeback is underway…? Or is it complete? And does the media and the audience just accept this because the industry seems to have accepted it? What is the media and the audience’s responsibility in a situation like this? Questions have been asked but answers have not been available – and now that the movie is about to open this weekend, if it does well, there will be even less need for answers. Tracking in early May had The Flash opening at around $120 million; that dropped to $70 million by the end of the month but who knows, that could climb if the reviews are strong and word-of-mouth carries it, and whatever campaign the fanboys are up to.
Which brings us back to Sarah and I and how to manage this coverage. The point here is that we still haven’t figured it out beyond we probably shouldn’t promote the movie. But then again, in just talking about the movie, and the Ezra Miller dilemma, isn’t that sort of a promotion for the movie? Like the fact that Jessica Chastain showed up – and she’s a big deal, her presence now sparking speculation about what her role might be in the movie: is she Poison Ivy or Reverse-Flash, whatever the f-ck that means – do we ignore it or do we mention it?
I’ve clearly chosen to mention it, and I really do want to write about Bennifer at the premiere in a separate post, so now I guess I’m complicit in this mess too. Which is frustrating but, like, this is a site about celebrities, and these are capital-C celebrities, so how do we not cover these celebrities? We’re trying to run a business here too and pay our team for the work that they do. And that in and of itself is hypocritical because two paragraphs ago I was just saying that Warner Bros was all about business. So that’s the summary of the Ezra Miller problem. Maybe the story is just the premiere and we can forget about it after today. But if it blows up at the box office, we just might have to talk about it another day. And now I feel like I should apologise because while I can’t quite articulate what I’ve done wrong, nothing actually feels right.