If you haven’t read The Perks of Being a Wallflower, you most definitely should. It’s a really, really good piece of young adult fiction that deals with a lot of massive teenage issues, whilst being splendidly relatable. As they do with most pieces of memorable literature, it’s being made into a film starring Emma Watson (Hermione from Harry Potter), Logan Lerman (D’Artagnan from that recent and really terrible remake of The Three Musketeers, which was so bad that I suspect I might have been the only person who watched it) and Ezra Miller (Kevin from We Need to Talk About Kevin). Before we go careening down that tangent we all know I’m hurtling towards, have a look at the trailer for Perks of Being a Wallflower which is supposed being released on the 14th of September in the States.
Generally, I’m a bit nervous about the whole thing, but there is one fabulous thing that stands out in that trailer. That would be the incomparable Ezra Miller, who is so unnervingly beautiful that I have to psych myself up to look at his face. (I wish I was kidding. I am not.) Miller is playing Patrick, the closeted gay brother of Sam (Emma Watson) – the kind of wonderful and iconic character to is so OK with himself that it makes you feel like everything could probably be alright for you too. With the release date looming, the wheels have started turning for the press junket, which has led to Miller giving a most excellent interview in Out magazine. Before I get into the meat of what was said, can we all just take a minute to look at the photo shoot? …Because of… reasons… Guh.
I feel really creepy. He’s 19. (“Almost 20”, says the voice at the back of my head, like that makes it any better.) Whatever. Point is, not only is he glorious to look at but he gives a good interview as well.
Mainstream media outlets started paying attention to this interview because of the following quote:
“I’m queer,” he says, simply. “I have a lot of really wonderful friends who are of very different sexes and genders. I am very much in love with no one in particular. I’ve been trying to figure out relationships, you know? I don’t know if it’s responsible for kids of my age to be so aggressively pursuing monogamous binds, because I don’t think we’re ready for them. The romanticism within our culture dictates that that’s what you’re supposed to be looking for. Then [when] we find what we think is love — even if it is love — we do not yet have the tools. I do feel that it’s possible to be at this age unintentionally hurtful, just by being irresponsible — which is fine. I’m super down with being irresponsible. I’m just trying to make sure my lack of responsibility no longer hurts people. That’s where I’m at in the boyfriend/girlfriend/zefriend type of question.”
The way that these outlets are talking this quote up you would think that the headline for Out‘s article was “Young, Inexplicably Beauitful Male Star Outs Himself As Liking Hot Sex With Other Young, Inexplicably Beautiful Male Stars”. It wasn’t. But it has been the headline of pretty much every follow-up article in the mainstream press. Noticeably, a lot of these articles have also taken “queer” to mean “is a gay man”, which it obviously doesn’t. I would just like to say that the “coming out in Hollywood” narrative is lazy and exploitative journalism and that you all missed the point. Learn your terms and then maybe you can talk about it, ok?
In reality, this quote was somewhere near the back of the article. Instead, the piece focuses on the reasons teenagers around the world flipping love this book. It has great characters in a high school situation and you know they’re going to be OK and that’s kind of what teenagers need. Miller is really succinct when he talks about the feeling of being bullied in high school. “A lot of [adolescence] left me wanting to end my own life, just give up. It feels like the whole world — because it is. It’s your whole world. But, man — life is a really, really cool ride. It’s really amazing the type of shit you can get up to if you endure. Like, you can do anything you want if you can survive.”
And that’s awesome. The fact that he talked about his own sexuality is also cool, but mostly I’m just more impressed that, as a 19 year old who didn’t finish high school, he managed to articulately talk about sexuality in a way that didn’t marginalise anyone and was gender inclusive. Why don’t we celebrate that instead of turning all the articles into lengthy descriptions of how Ezra Miller likes to get off with people of the same sex?
Anyway, Perks of Being a Wallflower is out sometime in September. The article in Out can be found here. And here is another picture of Ezra Miller’s face. Because I like looking at it.