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A breakdown of Ezra Miller’s downfall: Why the media should put the actor’s mental health first

The past few months have been saturated with the questionable antics of the famous everywhere. From the Jared Leto allegations we’ve all heard by now to the ongoing Johnny Depp and Amber Heard case, we have been awash with celebrity controversy. Another story that has undoubtedly made the pile are the concerning reports of The Flash actor Ezra Miller, who has recently made news once again for a second worrying arrest in Hawaii.

The recent conduct by the actor has, of course, led the internet down a rabbit hole to figure out just what went wrong. Research by Vox into Miller’s past life is integral to understanding the star’s behaviour. Citing the actor’s childhood, mental health repercussions from their method acting tactics and being thrust into the spotlight at a young age, the publication points out that while their aggressive actions are inexcusable, it is vital contextual information that may explain Miller’s sudden downfall.

The entertainer, who identifies as non-binary, rose to fame following major roles in The Perks of Being a Wallflower at just 18, and We Need to Talk About Kevin at 19—but was catapulted into serious stardom after joining huge franchises like The Flash as well as a lead role in Fantastic Beasts. With the third instalment of the Harry Potter spinoff series released on 15 April 2022, GQ suggests the franchise is in serious jeopardy thanks to the numerous controversies surrounding participants Miller, Depp and, of course, JK Rowling.

Though it wasn’t the first time Miller was caught in a scandal, it was in March 2022 that news broke of the actor’s arrest in Hawaii. Among this, a timeline of the performer’s aggressive or concerning conduct has resurfaced. Before we dive into this history, it must be noted that it is in no way making light of Miller’s mental health issues or substance use.

Ezra Miller choked a fan

It was in early 2020 that Miller first made headlines for physically threatening demeanour. In a video that was shared in a since-deleted tweet, they can be seen choking a woman outside a bar in Iceland. The internet was divided at the time, with many assuming it was merely a joke. However, a source from the establishment in question (Prikið Kaffihús) told Variety “that this was a serious altercation at the bar, and that the man, whom they identify as Miller, was escorted off the premises.”

The video shows Miller approaching a young woman saying, “Oh, you wanna fight? That’s what you wanna do?” as he backed her up against a wall. The woman, who appears to be laughing and jokingly preparing herself for the ‘fight’, is choked by Miller who then proceeds to throw her to the floor. The individual filming the event responds, “Woah, bro. Bro,” and immediately ends the footage.

Variety confirmed at the time of reporting that the alleged incident took place around 6 pm on 1 April 2020 at Prikið Kaffihús, which Miller was known to frequent when in town. The publication also reported that there had been no previous issues involving the actor at the location, with a Variety source citing this specific situation occurred when the individual (later identified as Miller) was accosted by a group of “pushy fans.” The episode escalated beyond measure with The Flash star getting aggressive with one woman in particular.

Harassment

As of the latest news surrounding the performer, it was on 29 March 2022 that news broke of Miller’s arrest by the Hawaii Police Department, which had occurred the previous day, on charges of “disorderly conduct and harassment.” In a post published on the police department’s Facebook page, details of the case were revealed.

Responding to a call regarding a disorderly customer outside of a bar in Hilo, investigators later determined the individual in question was Miller—who had become increasingly agitated by karaoke singers at the establishment. According to the Associated Press, the karaoke goers were belting out Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga’s ‘Shallow’ before they were accosted by Miller.

“Miller began yelling obscenities and at one point grabbed the microphone from a 23-year-old woman singing karaoke (disorderly conduct offence) and later lunged at a 32-year-old man playing darts (harassment offence). The bar owner asked Miller to calm down several times to no avail,” the post read. Charged on both offences, bail was set at $500—the Fantastics Beasts favourite provided the bail and was subsequently released.

Restraining order

Just hours after his release, police were called to a hostel property where residents claimed the 29-year-old actor had burst into their bedroom and threatened them. The couple in question filed a restraining order against Miller the following day, alleging they also stole their belongings. The order, which was temporarily granted, suggested the Justice League star “burst into the bedroom of the petitioner(s) and threatened” the male partner, “saying ‘I will bury you and your shit wife’,” reported The Independent.

The couple has since dropped the petition against the actor on these claims.

Arrested for assault

Just a week later the petition was dropped, once again in Hawaii, Miller was arrested for assault. Hawaii Police Assistant Chief Kenneth Quiocho told the Associated Press that while the actor has been visiting the state, they have been the source of at least ten police complaints since 7 March 2022, with no indication of how long Miller has been staying on the island. “They were ‘manini’ incidents—a Hawaii Pidgin term that can mean minor or small—such as filming people at a gas station, refusing to leave the sidewalk area of a restaurant and arguing with people,” the publication continued.

However, Miller’s latest interaction with the Hawaiian police force appears to be anything but manini. On Tuesday 19 April, around 1 am, officers responded to a call of an assault at a private residence in lower Puna. “During the course of their investigation, police determined that the individual, later identified as Ezra Miller, became irate after being asked to leave and reportedly threw a chair, striking a 26-year-old female on the forehead, resulting in an approximate half-inch cut,” the statement read.

“The female victim refused treatment for her injury,” it continued. Following the call, Miller was located on a roadway as part of a traffic stop and arrested at around 1:30 am. The celebrity has since been released but the incident remains an active investigation.

Miller’s spiral playing out in front of the world, while inexcusable, should be attempted to be understood. For a lack of better words, we must ask ourselves why? What is happening for the actor to be continuing down this road? And should we, as the media, do a better job of empathetically investigating the root of celebrity manic episodes instead of continuously relishing the spectacle?

From Jared Leto to Christian Bale, here are 5 crazy things method actors have done for their roles

Method acting is a term used to define a range of training and rehearsal techniques that seek to encourage sincere and expressive performances through identifying with, understanding, and experiencing a character’s inner motivation and emotions. The concept was first drafted by Russian theatre practitioner Konstantin Stanislavski in the early 1900s, who famously said, “Remember; there are no small parts, only small actors.” Though he did not use the term “method acting,” he encouraged actors to create naturalistic performances, which gave a noticeable contrast to the traditionally more theatrical and heightened style of that era.

A method actor is often consumed by their role—they meticulously research their character to gain insight into what it feels like to be them and why they make the decisions they do throughout the course of the play, series or film concerned. Long story short, it leads method actors to empathise with their characters’ emotions—whatever they may be.

Over time, it seems that the idea that an actor must authentically experience and feel the lived reality of the character they are playing has shifted into the only thing that US Hollywood actors deem to be ‘good acting’. Don’t get me wrong, it has given us a century of brilliant performers, acolytes of the so-called Method: Marlon Brando, Dustin Hoffman, Ellen Burstyn, Jane Fonda, Robert De Niro, Harvey Keitel, Faye Dunaway, Jack Nicholson, Hilary Swank, Leonardo DiCaprio, Heath Ledger and more.

But some of the modern actors who are known to swear by the practice have oftentimes taken things too far. To show you exactly what “too far” means here, we compiled a top five of the craziest things actors did in the name of method acting.

1. Jared Leto had to be pushed to and from the bathroom in a wheelchair for ‘Morbius’

When you think of method acting, chances are the first person that comes to mind is Jared Leto and how reportedly insufferable he’s been on countless movie sets over the years—his long history of paedophilia and predatory behaviour is also widely known, yet not many seem to be actually going after the actor for it. But that’s a story for another time.

More recently, Leto’s been making waves for his over-the-top behaviour while filming his latest movie, Morbius—which, it should be said, has received awful reviews since its release. In an interview with Uproxx, the Marvel movie’s director Daniel Espinosa was asked, “Someone told me that Jared Leto was so committed to playing Michael Morbius that even when he had to go to the bathroom, he would use his crutches and slowly limp to get to the bathroom. But it was taking so long between for pee breaks, that a deal was made with him to get him a wheelchair so someone could wheel him there quicker and he agreed to that. Is this true?”

Espinosa answered with a yes, to which he added that Leto felt he needed to mimic and fully embody his character, who lived with chronic pain as a result of a specific blood condition. “I think that what Jared thinks, what Jared believes, is that somehow the pain of those movements, even when he was playing normal Michael Morbius, he needed, because he’s been having this pain his whole life,” the director explained. “Even though, as he’s alive and strong, it has to be a difference. Hey, man, it’s people’s processes,” he concluded.

Yep, some overworked, underpaid below-the-line worker (maybe multiple) was given the task of pushing a multi-millionaire feigning a limp to urinate. And we don’t even know if Leto was assisted beyond being transported to the loo. His reputation as a nightmare to work with is not new either—we all remember when he sent dead animals to his co-stars on the set of Suicide Squad.

2. Daniel Day-Lewis caught pneumonia on the set of ‘Gangs of New York’

We have to admit, Daniel Day-Lewis’ acting was pretty impressive when he played the role of Bill the Butcher in Gangs of New York. But still, when the man decided he would rather freeze to death than wear a coat that couldn’t possibly exist in the 19th century, he just might have gone too far. The actor was so stubbornly and stupidly adamant not to wear a warmer coat between takes that he caught pneumonia.

“And I will admit that I went mad, totally mad… He [Bill the Butcher] was a bit of a punk, a marvellous character and a joy to be—but not so good for my physical or mental health,” Day-Lewis admitted himself when speaking to The Independent.

Prior to this little number, while preparing for In the Name of the Father, the actor lost 50 pounds (22.5 kilos) and spent two days in solitary confinement without food and water to get a feel of what some inmates go through. For Lincoln, he insisted everyone call him “Mr President.” Seriously?

3. For his role as Steve Jobs, Ashton Kutcher ate only fruit, ending with a hospital trip

For his role as the late American business magnate in the universally panned movie Jobs, Ashton Kutcher decided he’d try Jobs’ infamous fruitarian diet, which is made up of fruit, nuts, seeds and grains—nothing more.

Inevitably, Kutcher had to be rushed to the hospital and was diagnosed with pancreatitis. No one can tell us that the actor would have never been able to play Jobs without all those celery juices…

4. Choi Min-sik ate a living octopus for ‘Oldboy’ (four times)

Usually, actors are given the option not to eat a live animal for a specific scene—and more often than not, most people go for that option. But you always get some strange exceptions to the rule. Nicolas Cage famously ate a live cockroach while filming Vampire’s Kiss. Actually, he ate two because they had to film the scene twice—and it’s even be said that he wanted to munch on a live bat instead of a cockroach.

But that’s nothing compared to Korean actor Choi Min-sik, who you might remember from I Saw The Devil, Lucy, and the movie where he ate a very much alive squid, Oldboy. It only gets worse when you know that they shot that scene four times, meaning that the actor had to eat four freaking octopuses. Oh, and it’s important to note that Min-sik is both a Buddhist and a vegetarian.

5. Christian Bale dropped four stone in four months for ‘The Machinist’

Christian Bale’s portrayal of emaciated insomniac Trevor Reznik in the 2005 thriller The Machinist led him to lose four stone (25 kilos) in only four months using an extremely calorie-sparse diet to ditch the weight from his previous role in American Psycho.

As reported by Men’s Health, “Across the four months of pre-production, Bale subsided on a diet of black coffee, one apple and a tin of tuna per day.” Speaking to Esquire, Harley Street health expert Daniel O’Shaughnessy explained that “this is less than 200 calories per day, so it’s not healthy at all. An extreme diet like this will play havoc with your metabolism and cause a lot of stress on the body.” You don’t say!