(First of two parts)
LOS ANGELES—Being paired with Ezra Miller in our recent London interview did wonders to Ben Affleck. The actor, who can sometimes be very serious in media conversations, loosened up in the presence of Ezra, a fun, smart and articulate young guy.
Laughter and amusing exchanges between the two stars of Zack Snyder’s “Justice League” permeated a meeting room in Rosewood London Hotel, except when the chat switched to the sexual allegations now rocking Hollywood.
Ezra, 25, plays The Flash, while Ben, 45, of course, portrays Batman. Their lighthearted banter reflects “Justice League,” which is laced with humor, as it should be, unlike some superhero movies that are too serious, not fun at all.
Ezra has described himself as queer in another interview: “The way I would choose to identify myself wouldn’t be gay. I’ve been attracted mostly to ‘shes,’ but I’ve been with many people and I’m open to love wherever it can be.”
Ben himself seemed impressed with his costar, who talks with passion on matters close to his heart and does not mouth generic soundbites.
The actor-director said, “Ezra exposed me to a lot of different and interesting ideas which I am not going to share with you (laughs), but they were very fascinating. He is a very interesting guy.”
Excerpts from out talk:
Ben, are you happy that this is a lighter Batman and that he actually has a sense of humor? Ben Affleck (B): I like this version of Batman a lot. It was a lot to carry around the sturm und drang of being angry and resentful at Superman the whole time. That lent to a darker tone. With this one, Batman is not a Joker, and he isn’t as funny as, say, Ezra, who is hilarious in the movie. But he plays the straight man to The Flash and to other people.
Having Jeremy Irons play your servant (Alfred Pennyworth, Batman’s butler), how was it during the shooting? B: I kept telling him to get me coffee, and he never showed up (laughs).
Ezra Miller (E): Jeremy is not actually the guy you would want as your servant in real life. He serves no man. Nobody even tells Jeremy exactly when to go to set or where to go. He just shows up on his bicycle (laughs).
What have you learned from Jeremy? B: He won the Oscar for “Reversal of Fortune,” but it was his performance in “Dead Ringers” that made such a searing impression on people. It was so finely tuned and calibrated that Jeremy has always been somebody that I considered a master and somebody I want to learn from.
E: I learned from Jeremy that you should bring a bicycle to set (laughs).
Do you see yourself doing another Batman movie? B: For me, I always evaluate this stuff on the merit of the material. I want to direct a “Batman” movie, but I never got a script I was happy with so they’re starting over and writing another script …
I know that I love working with this group of people. It was a real joy for me to make this movie because of Ezra, Ray (Fisher), Jason (Momoa), Henry (Cavill), Gal (Gadot) and Zack (Snyder, director). We really enjoyed one another’s company.
It’s the 20th anniversary of “Good Will Hunting.” Can you talk about some of your memories writing the script and acting in that film with Matt Damon? B: We just wanted to get this movie made and it was like a miracle. This guy came along and made it. And now, in retrospect, it’s a tainted memory because it was Harvey Weinstein who said on the telephone he was going to buy the script and whom I never met until he visited Robin (Williams) on the set.
But they (sexual allegations against Harvey) will forever color that memory a little bit and more darkly, because while they were the good ol’ days for me, I know that they were some pretty awful days for people who ran into Harvey Weinstein. But nonetheless, I am pretty proud of the movie itself. I had a great time with Matt.
E: I was 5 (he and Ben laugh). I was into Batman.
Your reminiscence of your “Good Will Hunting” days reminded me of what Matt recalled about your struggling days together in LA—with you having to sleep on a sofa that was too small for you, your first joint $300,000 check for your script and both of you buying a Jeep Cherokee each. B: It’s not what I would repeat, but yes (laughs). We had his-and-his Jeep Cherokees. We flipped a coin over who got the black one and who got the forest green one (laughs).
E: Which one did you want?
B: I don’t even remember (laughs). We split the $300,000 in half. We had to pay taxes and bought new cars. Then, we were broke (laughs).
You look back on those times in your life as—like the time that Ezra is in right now—which is being in your 20s, starting out and having all of this exciting stuff happen. It’s wonderful, and it’s a different perspective. It was exciting.
I am glad that I had Matt, my brother (Casey) and other guys to go through it and support me. I slept on a Naugahyde sofa, so it wasn’t really leather. I would just wake up in pools of water (sweat) (laughter).
What have you learned from love? B: If you want to know about love, this is the man right here (points at Ezra). I am a lover, not a fighter.
E: Oh geez. I am more into unlearning. We get taught a lot about love from a young age, and it gets a lot of hype. It gets positioned in our psychological framework on quite a pedestal and, sometimes, within a very tight frame of what it can look like.
So, for me, what the process has been in love is less about learning. And more about unlearning all of that rubbish, as they would call it here in England (laughs), that surrounds us in culture and media in the way we are educated, like sexual education, the worst of the worst.
Read my sister’s (Saiya Miller) sexual education comic book, “Not Your Mother’s Meatloaf.” That is some good sex-ed and what the kids need.
Yeah, that is my answer—unlearning—and just allow for your feelings to guide you and follow the call of love as opposed to following the call of a person who wants to enforce or dictate what love can be for you. Those people suck.
B: Ezra is younger. I genuinely learned a lot from him. We had some good, long talks about relationships and life. He exposed me to different and interesting ideas which I am not going to share with you (laughs), but they were very fascinating.
E: Stuff like queerness and polyamory.
(To be continued on Sunday)
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