T.J. Miller Was a Huge Asshole on the Set of ‘Silicon Valley’

Former actor and current Yelp reviewer T.J. Miller is obviously a talented individual. You know, aside from the fact that he was in The Emoji Movie. He kind of carried Silicon Valley, and if you cut him out of the first four seasons, you’ve just got Thomas Middleditch being neurotic and Kumail Nanjiani bickering with Martin Star. But when Silicon Valley comes back for season five later this month, Miller won’t be coming back with it. The remaining cast and creator Mike Judge discussed his departure with The Hollywood Reporter.

“There are a lot of different ways you can find out somebody doesn’t want to do the show anymore,” says Judge, seated now in his cluttered office on the Sony lot, a short walk from the set. “And it’s not fun to work with someone who doesn’t want to be there, [especially when] they’re one of the main people and you’ve got however many crewmembers and extras and people who are [not paid as well] and they’re all showing up before 7 a.m., and then are just like, ‘Oh, OK, we’re not shooting today.'”

Table reads would start late as the cast and crew waited on the untamable actor, and when he did arrive he typically hadn’t cracked open the script. Schedules would regularly have to be rejiggered, and sources from the set recount tales of Miller falling asleep between takes, leaving cast and crew to nudge him awake. And though everybody involved with the series praises his raw talent — some even employing the word “genius” to describe him — many say it had become impossible to predict which Miller would show up on a given day. “There was almost a danger to having him around,” says one insider. “He was explosive, and there were moments where you’d go, ‘Whoa, that’s not where I thought that was going at all, but that was fucking awesome’ … but it was a trade-off.” In the end, all parties involved decided it was best if he moved on.

Miller sounds like a bit of a diva in these stories. It kind of sucks when the funniest actor in your show is so hard to work with. This is also what led to the cancellation of Small Wonder; apparently Tiffany Brissette would stumble to the set drunk hours after call time and yell “I’m a fucking robot, dickhead!” during every take.

Miller gave THR a different reason for his onset behavior.

Reached by phone in Alabama, where he was doing a set that night, Miller says in response: “In real life, I’m not always high like Erlich is. And this will blow your readers’ minds, but I’m not high when I work because it gets in the way of the comedy. I also am not a guy who’s blackout-drunk, bumping into things on set. … What was occurring was I was out doing stand-up all the time, even if it meant I only got three hours of sleep. So, the thing I have a problem with? It’s pushing myself to do too much.”

That’s entirely believable and even a reasonable explanation for what was going on. But I’ll bet he didn’t pull that crap with Steven Spielberg on the set of Ready Player One. It seems like a long way down from the sort of insightful, character-driven comedy Silicon Valley did to an extended Family Guy cutaway gag of a movie. Everyone talks about how talented Miller is, and he clearly is talented, but he ends up in the worst fucking movies; first he did The Emoji Movie and now he’s in a movie where the entire script was just “Hey, remember this thing from the 80’s?” on every page.

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