Ezra Miller on Music, Mental Illness, and More

There are still five months to go until the release of Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, which, among many other things, means there are still five months to go until we get a chance to see Ezra Miller reprise his role of Credence Barebone. But luckily for us, Miller has given some interviews recently to appease us while we wait.

This month, Miller is one of the cover stars of the June 2018 “Pride” edition of Gay Times. In the teaser article for the issue, the parallel is drawn between Credence’s attempts to hide his magical abilities and the experiences of LGBTQ+ people in the 20th century. Miller confirms that this parallel attracted him to Fantastic Beasts.

I was drawn to the role for a wide plethora of reasons, and that was definitely one of them.

In a Vulture interview, Miller and his Sons of an Illustrious Father bandmates, Josh Aubin and Lilah Larson, talk music, mental illness, growing and working together as a band, and more. When discussing their music, Miller described the audience he envisions when writing.

I think part of our process sometimes feels like therapeutic time travel. It’s like trying to write the music that we needed a while ago [and] then attempting to somehow play it for our younger selves.

Aubin spoke about what growing and working with the band means to him.

It’s like any process of finding life partners or people where you can comfortably be yourself.

And while the three bandmates seem very comfortable with themselves and each other now, it hasn’t always been that way. Miller talked about past turbulence among Sons of an Illustrious Father, which he attributes in part to undiagnosed mental illness.

It’s hard to talk about your fear, even to people really close to you. I think there was a lot of mental illness that I did not know how to manage or deal with in the earliest times of the band. I was 15 or 16, I didn’t have any real means of monitoring myself, and I was also working in film and having this strange type of exposure. I was feeling insecure about that relationship to the world and what it would actually mean for me, I was feeling insecure in my decisions up to that point to take that path, and I was feeling insecure about the ways it held the potential to really separate me from people I love. That was tied into the illness that I was discovering in myself.

Eventually, Miller said, things changed.

I think, as is often true in cascading deteriorations, I hit walls, and I felt them, and there were people who I loved who were there to both catch me and point out to me that I had just been running towards a wall, and that’s why I had collided with one.

That said, Miller doesn’t want to oversimplify his experience with mental illness or imply that it is an issue of the past.

To say that there was even a series of turning points would be to disassociate myself from the continuation of that struggle in my life, which I don’t. If there’s a difference, it’s a major one between the space where you don’t even want to hear the voice inside yourself tell you that anything is wrong with who you are, to the space where you can really embrace that there’s a lot wrong with who you are but that doesn’t mean that it’s wrong for you to exist or to be here or to be alive. It doesn’t mean you don’t deserve love or connection or even, dare I say, moments of stability and joy.

Want to hear more from Miller while you’re waiting for November? Read the full Vulture article here, and buy this month’s issue of Gay Times here.