Ezra Miller is making the publicity rounds for Fantastic Beasts the Crimes of Grindelwald—and as much as I’d love to celebrate his inventive and give-no-f*cks attitude towards red carpet fashion that is probably giving narrow minded people conniption fits, I just can’t. He makes my skin crawl, for reason entirely my own that have nothing to do with who he is as a person, but entirely to do with who he was as an actor. I cannot forgive him for the character he played in We Need to Talk About Kevin, a movie I went into blindly and had no idea what it was about (MY BAD.) Without getting too into the weeds, We Need to Talk About Kevin is about the relationship between a mother and her son, who we ultimately find out was responsible for a mass casualty event at his school. Ezra Miller played the son.
It’s a testament to his acting ability that seven years on, I cannot look at him without getting slightly angry and creeped out. It means I’m missing out on following a career of someone who makes interesting choices and stands out from the pack. I wish I could get on board with him, but it won’t happen. Is it irrational? 100%. Is it going to change? Nope.
Another actor I had a very hard time looking at for years was Michael B. Jordan—for the exact opposite reasons from Ezra Miller. Instead of being angry at him, I was just sad. What happened to him as Wallace in The Wire broke me a little inside—and then a few years later he was in Fruitvale Station, which was equally heart breaking. For a while, I knew if I was going to watch something he was in, chances are he wasn’t going to live to see the end credits—and he’s just so damn good at what he does that he makes these deaths all the worse, because of the empathy you feel. Jordan even addressed this at some point that his mom told him he had to stop dying on screen. I agree with his mother 100%. It wasn’t until Black Panther could I look at Jordan and not be sad for Wallace—I mean sure, we know what happens to Killmonger at the end, but it’s based on a comic book, no one’s ever really gone. How many times has Bucky Barnes supposedly died?! It also probably helps that he played Wallace when he was 15, and now Jordan is 31—he looks a bit different now, don’t you think?
Finally—because I always like to look on the positive side of things, there’s actors who are so good in one role that you can overlook terrible performances because they have so much goodwill built up based on what they did once. Let’s call this one the Riggins Effect. Mainly because Friday Night Lights was such a well-acted, fantastic show, and yet how many of us have given Taylor Kitsch multiple chances to live up to Tim Riggins, and yet we get rewarded with John Carter?! I’m still holding out for the day he turns in another Riggins-esque performance, but instead he’ll probably be in the inevitable Twilight reboot, because that’s the way 2018 and beyond is headed.
Now it’s your turn—share actors whose work made such an impact on you that it either ruined future performances, took a long time to accept that they weren’t their character, or keep giving second chances to.
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