Exclusive interview and first look photos of Miller as you've never seen him before.

By James Hibberd
November 18, 2020 at 10:32 AM EST
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Fantastic Beasts star Ezra Miller has a big and secret role in The Stand, and EW has your first look.

The Justice League actor will play Trashcan Man, a pivotal character from Stephen King’s 1978 post-apocalyptic novel.

The casting details have been kept under wraps until now. Take a look Miller’s dramatic transformation above.

The Stand is about a global pandemic that kills more than 99 percent of the population and leaves two groups of survivors to battle for the soul of America. Trash is an unstable pyromaniac who joins a group of survivors in "New Vegas" led by the demonic Randall Flagg (Alexander Skarsgard).

“It’s so different from any way that anyone has seen Erza before, and he's so committed to it,” says The Stand showrunner Benjamin Cavell. “He’s a huge fan of the book and had fallen in love with this character and wanted to play it for a long time. On our first call, he described Trash as ‘the embodiment of pyromania.’ The only thing this guy was capable of, and the only area in life he was comfortable, were with  the explosives and instruments of fire and destruction.”

Here’s a look at Trashcan Man in action:

Credit: CBS All Access

“He wears basically no clothes except for his extensive tactical gear,” Cavell adds. “So he just kind of in underwear and combat boots … the character has to be right on the edge of over-the-top. But no matter how strangely he’s behaving there’s always this Ezra Miller soul as a twinkle coming through. I can’t say enough about how brilliant he is in it.”

"What excites me is the deception of behavior and appearances," Miller wrote in an email from the Fantastic Beasts 3 set where he's reprising his role as Credence Barebone. "Trash is the underestimated and misinterpreted amongst us." 

The outfit, by and by, was Miller’s inspiration.

"'Fireproof underwear' were two of the first words out of my mouth in the first conceptual meeting,” Miller wrote. “I was very interested in working directly with the wardrobe department in creating a look based entirely on the practical demands of the characters pyromania. Trash wears nothing but what is necessary to craft incendiaries, ignite them, and get as close to the flames as possible — in order to revel in the fire.”

The reveal that Miller is playing Trashcan Man follows months of speculation that goth rocker Marilyn Mason was secretly in the role. It turns out, those rumors did have some basis in reality, but for a different character.

“We were talking to [Manson] early on about playing The Kid, who drives Trashcan Man to Vegas,” Cavell reveals. The showrunner noted he was initially excited to include The Kid because he’s a colorful character from King’s extended version of The Stand who wasn’t in the previous 1994 miniseries adaptation of the material. But during the writing process, Cavell realized – as presumably did King when he completed his first edition of the book – there just wasn’t enough of a reason to have the character in the story. “We thought we were going to be able to restore the character of The Kid, but there really isn’t a lot of reason for The Kid to exist."

In the show, a Boulder-based group of largely "good" people is led by the angelic Mother Abagail (Whoopi Goldberg) and includes James Marsden as Texas everyman Stu Redman, Odessa Young as the heroic Frannie Goldsmith, Jovan Adepo as troubled musician Larry Underwood, Amber Heard as the mysterious Nadine Cross, and Owen Teague as the toxic incel Harold Lauder.

Filling out the cast is Henry Zaga as Nick Andros, Brad William Henke as Tom Cullen, Irene Bedard as Ray Bretner, Nat Wolff as Lloyd Henreid, Eion Bailey as Weizak, Heather Graham as Rita Blakemoor, Katherine McNamara as Julie Lawry, Fiona Dourif as Rat Woman, Natalie Martinez as Dayna Jurgens, Hamish Linklater as Dr. Jim Ellis, Daniel Sunjata as Cobb, and Greg Kinnear as Glen Bateman.

The limited series premieres on CBS All Access on Thursday, Dec. 17.

Related content:

The Stand (2020 series)

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