A chat with Ezra Miller: star of ‘We Need to Talk About Kevin’
By Michelle Tennis
With plenty of on-screen credit under his belt and a second full-length
album by his band Sons of an Illustrious Father recently released, Ezra
Miller has plenty to talk about these days.
Case in point: Miller stars in the psychological thriller, “We Need to Talk
Now playing and written and directed by Lynne Ramsay, the film follows the
mother of a teenage boy [Miller], who went on a high-school killing spree.
It explores nature versus nurture on a whole new level as the mother’s [Tilda
Swinton] culpability is measured against the son’s innate evilness. “We
Need to Talk About Kevin” also stars John C. Riley.
Despite his busy schedule, Ezra graciously took a few minutes to discuss
with CinemaCLIPS his current role in the film. Here are a few highlights
of that interview.
CinemaCLIPS: What attracted you to the role/script?
Miller: Initially it was the fact that he seemed like someone who might
be from the offset hard to understand or identify with at all on any level.
But I felt like there was a true way into his head and a way to identify
with him as human beings. It was sort of this idea that everybody hungers
for the love and attention of a mother or guardian. If circumstances are
such that the love or attention cannot be received, people will almost instinctually
do a wide variety of things to try and get that attention.
CinemaCLIPS: Did you do anything different to prepare for this role?
Miller: I did something similar to what I’ve found useful in other roles.
It’s recognizing that a human being is composed of the emotional experience
of memories. It’s trying to go back through a person’s life and find the
times of emotional formation in that person’s memory. That was of course
made possible in this film by the fact that the entire story is told in
hindsight and in memory. You get to see some of the formative times in Kevin’s
early life. Essentially sitting alone in a room and emotionally experiencing
that character’s past was the best way for me to feel that I was he in the
present moment of the scenes that we did.
CinemaCLIPS: Whom did you connect with most during filming?
Miller: There were a lot of really intense connections formed and observed
throughout the making of this film. I’d say a lot of them happened in different
ways. Certainly I found a very strong connection with both Lynne Ramsay,
the director, and Rory Stewart Kinnear [co-writer of the screenplay]. Lynne
and I formed the type of connection where to give me a direction by the
end of shooting sometimes she hardly had to say anything at all. She could
simply look me in the eyes and I would understand what she needed out of
a piece of the story. Rory was able to constantly engage in intellectual
[analytical] discussions of what was happening at any given time in the
story for the character. They make an amazing team in that regard…sort of
like the head and the heart duo. I really came to love them quite a lot.
I felt like we formed not only a very great connection as friends, but also
really an amazing working relationship.
CinemaCLIPS: What challenges did you face while filming?
One challenge was to maintain my own sense of self in the midst of really
delving into a character that was so powerful and commanding in his internal
struggle and strife. I really couldn’t quite let go of the character’s internal
feelings until after the film was done. It was not something necessarily
I intended to do to maintain his thearical presence. It was something that
ended up happening as I was making the movie. Occasionally I felt like I
was losing my mind. But the quality and nature of the story was such that
I would’ve been happy to do so for Lynne and the whole team to make the
movie any bit more real and believable.
CinemaCLIPS: What did you learn from this project?
I walked away from this film with an immense amount of gratitude for the
way I was raised and the care I received as a child. I’m really starting
to understand that parenthood is a very delicate process. I’ve been very
fortunate to have parents who always took the time to really understand
where I was coming from, even in my most irrational periods of growth.
If the story continued past the credits, what would become of the relationship
between Kevin and his mother?
Miller: It’s hard to say, but I do think that the possibility now does exist
that they could form an honest communication with one another. Even though
they are both demolished as human beings from this experience. Perhaps even
come to a place where they could be in one another’s presence almost comfortably.
Something they’ve never had in the entire course of their relationship.
I feel like there’s hope for it at the end. It’s a slight glimmer of hope
that they can have an honest relationship down the line.
Editor’s Note: “We Need to Talk About Kevin” is now playing in select theaters.
Check local listings for showtimes. For more information on Sons of an Illustrious
Father, visit http://sonsofanillustriousfather.com.
Michelle Tennis, social media manager and feature writer for CinemaCLIPS.com,
can be reached at
CinemaCLIPSdotcom@gmail.com or follow her on twitter @CinemaCLIPS.
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