With production on Fantastic Beasts 3 pushed to the end of the year, Ezra Miller has found himself with an open slot this summer, but instead of finally making The Flash movie, he has signed on to star in the indie thriller The Mourner, it was announced Tuesday.
Casper Kiriya (Casshern) is set to direct from a script by Robin Shushan (AMC’s Feed the Beast), who adapted the Japanese novel Itamu Hito by Arata Tendo. The book was previously adapted as a Japanese-language film in 2015. Kiriya will also produce alongside Mike Marcus (You Kill Me) of Echo Lake Entertainment, and Paradigm will begin shopping the project to foreign buyers at EFM in Berlin.
The Mourner follows a jaded homicide detective who undergoes a spiritual awakening upon meeting a mystical young man (Miller) whose calling in life is to mourn the dead who have no one else to mourn them. It’s a curious role for Miller, but then again, he’s always been a curious cat. I’m just encouraged by his return to indie cinema, as he’s a versatile performer who has been stuck playing to the cheap seats in four-quadrant tentpoles like Justice League and the Fantastic Beasts movies. He hasn’t done any serious dramatic acting since the excellent Stanford Prison Experiment in 2015, which is kind of a shame, given his natural talent.
I’m also relieved that Warner Bros. isn’t rushing The Flash into production, because I could totally see another studio making that mistake. Clearly, the script isn’t quite ready, and directors John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein have never directed a big-budget movie with this number of visual effects shots, so they should take all the time they can to figure out what they want to do with Barry Allen and how they’re going to pull it off visually.
Kiriya recently directed Last Knights starring Clive Owen and Morgan Freeman, and while I didn’t see that film, I did catch his directorial debut Casshern back in 2004, and that movie features an impressive amount of CGI-fueled action. I’d actually be interested in seeing what Kiriya would do with something like The Flash instead of this rather-drab sounding indie movie, but I’ll withhold judgment until he finds the film’s female lead. This project is going to rest on her shoulders, no matter how good Miller is in this film.
Miller is a versatile performer who broke out in indies like Afterschool and City Island before landing the title role in Lynne Ramsay‘s drama We Need to Talk About Kevin. After that, he really made a name for himself in Stephen Chbosky‘s acclaimed coming-of-age film The Perks of Being a Wallflower and played a memorable scene-stealer opposite Amy Schumer in Judd Apatow‘s Trainwreck. He’s represented by Paradigm, which also reps Kiriya. Shushan is repped by CAA. Deadline broke the news.