If you’re not familiar with T’Nia Miller just yet, you’re in luck! Not only is she phenomenal in The Haunting of Bly Manor which just dropped on Netflix, but she’s also got loads of other must-see titles on her resume including Sex Education, Years and Years, and more.
With The Haunting of Bly Manor making its big debut on October 9th, I got the chance to have an extended chat with Miller for Collider Ladies Night. Not only did we get the chance to revisit a whole batch of titles she’s worked on like Dubplate Drama and Stud Life, but Miller also walked me through her earliest experiences finding the drive to make it as an actor. Her mentality is rather simple, actually; Miller just wouldn’t let herself think otherwise:
“I don’t know if it ever clicked. I think, like Hannah, there was a denial that it wouldn’t not click. ‘I’m going to do this, and I’m going to do it, and let it be done!’”
Clearly Miller was laser-focused on achieving her dream from the start, but that doesn’t mean her journey was easy and, it turns out, her experience in drama school was quite troubling:
“I don’t know what it’s like in the States, but in this country they feel like they have to break you down. You know, they have to break you down to build you back up again. Only, they’d break me down and I wasn’t built back up again. And, you know, you’d have all of these children — I say children who were 18, 19 — they’ve left home for the first time. They’ve got floods of tears and are like, ‘Okay, now you’re getting to the rawness and the realness.’ I’m not crying! I’ve done had a mortgage, done divorced my husband and now I’m with this beautiful woman, decided I’m not doing men anymore, I have two kids, I go shopping at the supermarket at three o’clock in the morning because it’s the only time I can shop. This shit is not gonna make me cry.”
Hopefully, this gives you a sense of what a force Miller is in general, and that’s a quality that shines through in much of her work, too. Having found great success after that experience in drama school, what does Miller strive to do to stop others from struggling through something similar? Here’s what she said:
“I think it’s a very individual journey, but I think that you have to just speak up. You really just have to speak up. I had an incident recently where we were looking at the American accent and I had a coach. I was like, ‘I want this rich and grounded accent. I want the sort of African-American sound.’ And they said, ‘Yes, but she’s educated.’ What? So you can have an African-American sound, that means you’re not education? So these are the things, and I was like, ‘Aw I don’t want to have to correct you. I don’t want to do the emotional labor of that.’ I was having a conversation with my managers, and my manager said, ‘Well, I’m not too tired! I’m gonna deal with it!’ But normally, I would either speak to the person and say why that isn’t alright in a really beautiful way, because this person’s not malicious; it’s just their ignorance, right? But I’m just too old and tired for that now, so I didn’t. But I think it’s just having the confidence to have those conversations. But for the most part, I’m really thankful for this career. It’s been a beautiful experience.”
I’ve got very high hopes that this beautiful experience will continue for Miller, especially after the world can see her work in Bly Manor. If you’d like to learn more about Miller’s journey to the show, you can watch our full conversation in the video at the top of this article or listen to it using the podcast embed below:
- 00:35 – Miller’s favorite movies growing up.
- 02:05 – Miller knew from a very young age that she wanted to be an actor.
- 03:15 – The driving force behind Miller’s positive mentality about making it as an actor when she was first starting out.
- 04:30 – How Miller got into drama school with a scholarship.
- 06:50 – Why drama school wound up being a scarring experience; the importance of speaking up.
- 11:28 – Miller talks about making the decision to shave her head.
- 13:20 – Miller looks back on making Dubplate Drama.
- 14:13 – What it was like leading her first feature film, Stud Life.
- 16:05 – How the gorilla filmmaking style of Stud Life prepared Miller for future projects; does Miller prefer a fast-paced shoot or one with more downtime?
- 17:15 – What stuck with Miller most about Years and Years?
- 18:40 – Miller actually turned down Sex Education before agreeing to do the show.
- 19:48 – Of all of the directors Miller’s worked with, who has the biggest reaction behind the monitor when they’re loving a take?
- 20:30 – Is Miller coming back for Season 3 of Sex Education?
- 21:04 – Miller didn’t fully understand how special Bly could be until she binged The Haunting of Hill House; what it was like working with Victoria Pedretti and Oliver Jackson-Cohen as such a big fan of Hill House.
- 23:02 – Miller talks about the meaning behind Hannah’s earrings.
- 24:19 – Did Miller get to keep anything from set?
- 24:50 – Bly Manor spoilers begin here!
- 25:14 – Miller actually thought Hannah was a more minor role when she first signed on; when did she first learn about Hannah’s condition?
- 26:55 – Does Miller need to know who’s in control of Miles and Flora when doing scenes with Benjamin Evan Ainsworth and Amelie Bea Smith?
- 29:03 – What does Hannah whisper to Owen at the end of Episode 3?
- 29:49 – Miller breaks down her experience working on Episode 5.
- 35:48 – Rapid fire questions begin! Find out what Miller collects, her lockdown food vice, if she has any pets, the job on a film set she’d like to learn more about and her biggest fear overcome right here.