Seriously, I really want to feel good about Ezra Miller taking on the role of Trashcan Man in the upcoming The Stand but when the words “fireproof underwear” come into play it’s just so easy to sigh and wonder what Miller has done to one of the more eccentric roles in this story, and where he got this idea from the character of Trashcan Man, the token pyromaniac in Stephen King’s story. Being fair to the actor and the story, it does bring a certain wow factor that’s part sarcasm and part ‘let’s see where this goes’ attitude since it doesn’t feel wise to discount it entirely. So far from the pictures that have been shown of his appearance it does feel as though he’s taking the character to an extreme that Matt Frewer didn’t quite think of in the original miniseries, but then one has to remember if Frewer had taken off in this direction people would have thought he’d gone around the bend, even more so than his character ever did. But then again, it was the 90s, and while things were edgy in that decade they weren’t out of control crazy in this manner. Plus, the burn scars all over Miller’s hands and on his body are a nice touch, but hopefully, at some point, he puts some clothes on since a pyro that wears next to nothing is different without a doubt, but unless the individual has a deep and abiding love affair with pain, which he might for all we know, this isn’t the best attire. But to be fair we’ll have to see how Miller plays this out.
Some folks think that Ezra Miller is a genius in the way that he takes on his characters and others beg to differ for their own reasons but he is talented, there’s no doubt. Trashcan Man is, from the book, a very troubled soul that has had a hard life and it started when he was young and his father, who was already mentally challenged, killed his siblings and tried to kill him and his mother. Donald, his full name was Donald Merwin Elbert, was though to be damaged from the start, but the trauma that his father ladled upon his shoulders that one night wasn’t the end of it, since the sheriff that ended up killing his father married his mother. By the age of 11, he’d gained the nickname that would stay with him by lighting people’s trashcans on fire, and once he was institutionalized by the sheriff the long line of abuse started up since by the time he got out the whole town was in on the act and was ridiculed and mocked relentlessly after that. After being sent to a psych ward and then to prison where he was raped repeatedly, Donald became a trustee and simply walked out when the superflu hit. In the 90s miniseries, he was seen blowing up an oil depot that was located in his hometown, a sort of prize that he’d always wanted to claim since his love of explosives and fire drove him in such a way that he could barely focus on anything else.
One could say that the Trashcan Man had plenty of inner demons to deal with, but whether it was this or his penchant for explosions that made him special to Randall Flagg is hard to say since the dark man called Donald to his side much as he did several others, while many others that came to Las Vegas in the story were simply drawn to him as many were drawn to Mother Abigail. The story of The Stand is one of good versus evil, something that King does quite well in his own style, and for Trashcan Man the distinction wasn’t that big of a deal, he simply liked to blow things up and embrace the feeling that fire gave to him. Miller’s take on the character at this point feels as though it’s going to be pretty wild and maybe a little out of control, but it could also be what will fit this version in a very pointed way. One thing that’s a big hope for this character is that there will be moments when he’s absolutely lucid since there were a few of those moments in the miniseries, such as when Flagg spoke to Donald and managed to calm him down. Strangely enough, Trashcan Man isn’t a very intelligent individual, but he knows enough to rig an efficient and capable bomb to do what he needs it to do. Some might call him an idiot savant, but the truth is that the character is intelligent in his own way, much as anyone is when it comes to focusing on what keeps them satisfied. It’ll be interesting to see what Miller has done to this character.