Interview: Ezra Miller – “We Need To Talk About Kevin”
In his latest film, the young Ezra Miller has grabbed Hollywood by the balls. As the role of Kevin, across from the great Tilda Swinton he plays a psycho killer (Qu’est Que C’est) who through the film shows his true character and intentions. His insanity comes across perfectly though a performance that rivals many of the years best. We at the Dork were honored when we were able to talk (briefly) to one of our favorite actors of the year but first… a little video biography.
Ezra Miller first began his Hollywood career with Afterschool, a film in the same vain as We Need to Talk About Kevin (With a little Shamless Lip thrown in there). His angst and raw performance easily led to his typecasting as an “angry high-schooler.”
Next Ezra took on David Duchovny in Californication by dating his on-screen daughter. He also got to see Mr. X-Files bare ass. (Skip ahead to “3:30” in the video below)
Moving on from California and Duchovny’s ass, Ezra was cast in the indie comedy/drama City Island. Playing again, an angsty teenager Ezra moved from indie to bigger indie with full steam.
Climaxing (so far) with We Need to Talk about Kevin, Ezra brings a terrifying portrayal of a teenager that has so much mental strife that it is hard to show it in words. However through his brilliant acting skills Ezra is able to deliver his character in such a way that we can see the hurt, the anger, and the frustration in his character and where it all came from. It is essentially a role derived from many different true life events such as Columbine that hold a strong place in recent history. In this I was curious where Ezra gained some of the insight into his role as Kevin.
As an actor, what materials and references did you draw from for the role of Kevin?
Um… not many. I spent a little time looking into mass murderers of the past and finding the wide spectrum of reasons and rationals behind their actions before demising most of them and realizing the Kevin sort of stands alone and this his motivation is so deeply personal and specifically directed towards his mom that it wasn’t appropriate to bring a reference like Dylan Klebold from Columbine, any of those into the performance because the motivations were so different. What i did kind of gather from a lot of those investigations is that most people who come to a place that are willing to kill for their purposes have also come to a place where they exhibit sexuality in a sort of direct to the edible root sort of way. And that is one of the the only things I drew from other killers I studied. Mostly it was a matter of making Kevin out of his own memories. Really the only material I needed was the script.
Ezra’s performance was not given enough credit at awards season, being terrifyingly real and chilling to the bone. His character going back and forth with Tilda is a fascinating look into a broken mother-son relationship. Through this we have John C. Reilly as well, Kevin’s father, who Kevin acts completely different around throughout the film. Their relationship is a fantasy of sorts. Ezra helped explain the relationship between Kevin and his father.
Do you think Kevin’s love for his Dad is fake or is there any sincerity there?
I think essentially that Kevin comes to a point where he despises his father. Initially I think he likes his father more because he is able to toy with him emotionally and he derives a certain true comradery with him in his early life. But then I think as time passes and Kevin’s cause becomes more extreme and his purpose is more sinister. He starts resenting his father for being so easily manipulated. And I think essentially feels that his father’s love is derived from such a false place, a useless stereotype and is nothing real in fact at all. I think he only proves that to himself time and time again by demonstrating how easily fooled his father is. It proves that his father isn’t actually looking, proving he really isn’t paying attention.
Ezra’s intellect must make acting a walk in the park. Being in his early 20’s he proved with our interview that he was dedicated to inserting himself into the role as to create an accurate representation that did not copy or emulate, but be all it’s own. He makes it so disturbing that “We Need to Talk About Kevin” is hard to watch, hard to not cringe through, and most of all hard to believe it didn’t get a shit ton of recognition all over the place. (The Academy never liked films about teenage violence).
We Need To Talk About Kevin opens this Friday at the Ritz Bourse in Philadelphia