He broke out as the creepy-psychopath-outsider in We Need to Talk About Kevin, and now Ezra Miller is moving to the friendlier side of the high school cafeteria in The Perks of Being a Wallflower (opening this weekend). He plays Patrick, an arty-stoner-clown whose forward-thinking irreverence could get any of us through the Breakfast Club years. We caught up with the 19-year-old at a Cinema Society screening of the movie last week and got to talking facial hair, burning things, and the cast’s hotel room jam band.
What were you like in high school?
I was like this. I was slightly shorter, I didn’t have any facial hair. Which I am still just working on, it is budding, it is fledgling at this point.
Have long have you been working on your facial hair?
Dude, I have been focusing on it since probably age five. I never believed hormones could do it all for me. So it was all about mental focus, telekinetically pushing the hair out of my face.
Have you seen progress with that?
Much, at long last.
Because you have no problem with the locks part …
Some people said it would take age but I really I think it has been the disciplined training.
So what was your vibe like in high school?
I think it was similar but it was always so hard to observe. I am hoping that I feel a little more comfortable and at home in the places I exist in than I did then.
Did you party a lot?
Oh yeah. Life is a grand party.
So not wallflower-style.
No, no. Involvement, but often failed and misadventurous involvement.
Did you grow up in the city or suburbs?
I grew up in the suburbs of suburban New Jersey.
It doesn’t get realer than that.
Pretty much not. Those Housewives are super real, as real as it gets.
Especially for teenage partying …
Well, yeah, you have to set things on fire and then yell to feel even remotely okay.
Did you related to that aspect with this character?
I see Patrick as having much more healthy responses with humor and dance and theatrics. I had those as well, but the burning and breaking things was still definitely necessary for me.
In high school you were more on the burning/breaking tip?
Yes, yes, certainly. Burning, breaking, yelling, hitting things turned into playing drums.
What did you do for fun in your suburban New Jersey phase?
The No. 1 thing the people I have spent time with in my life have done for fun is playing music. And that is what I have certainly done the most.
We drove around and smoked pot.
Oh yeah, no no, you drive around, you smoke pot, and then you return home and play music. But the driving thing is not recommended. I have some friends who got in horrible, horrible car accidents that riddled their bodies with steel so it is not necessarily advisable for the kids.
I heard you had a band going on set?
There were two band projects that spawned in Pittsburgh. The first was called Octopus Jam. It was the free-flow experimental virgin variety. And then the more formulated, calculated, whole, and brutal effort of our jam sessions became known as Waist Band.
How would you describe the band’s vision?
It was like vaudevillian, progressive, ska, techno, jazz fusion. Crown Plaza Suite style.
With a lot of snyth.
No, none. But the wailing of children sounds synthesized.