“It’s great that we were able to make a movie that stayed within the boundaries but also broke conventions in a way by having its lead character be homosexual. It doesn’t have to be a gay-centric film just because there’s a homosexual protagonist in it. We don’t just have to put these gender norms on something.”
by Samantha Bergeson
photography by Shanna Fisher
Logan Miller truly is a chameleon. The humble 26 year-old can transform into an impressive range of characters, ranging from sympathetic love interest— Kent in Before I Fall—to an antagonistic school bully in the upcoming film Love, Simon. Miller learned to adapt to changing environments at an early age. Born in Englewood, Colorado, he moved to New Mexico and Minnesota before the family settled outside of Dallas. His nomadic youth was due to his father’s job at Campbell Soup Company. “My father was making sure the entire Midwest had their sodium intake with their soup,” Miller joked. “He was just spreading the warmth of soup.”
Miller credits his nomadic childhood as the foundation for his versatility as an actor. “With acting, I have to work new people all the time, so moving quite a lot as a kid made it easy for me to adapt to new surroundings.” By age 12, he had recognized his leaning towards entertaining others. His passion for cartoons started a craze for dressing up as his animated heroes and creating home videos with neighborhood friends.
After taking a summer acting class, he landed a contract with a Dallas-based agent and his professional acting career was on its way. He began with local commercials, but it truly took off with his role in Ghost of Girlfriends Past alongside the “wonderful” Matthew McConaughey, Jennifer Garner, and a then-unknown Emma Stone. “I was then pretty confident this is what I wanted to do.”
When the film premiered in 2009, 17-year-old Miller landed his own Disney Channel television show, I’m in the Band, and was already gaining traction as the boy-next-door within Hollywood. “A lot of the guys who were on that show had been [acting] for so long that they said ‘Don’t expect too much. Don’t get in over your head.’ They gave me a great street schooling.”
As for his film endeavors, Miller has been on a roll. An indie darling, Miller is a constant fixture at famed film festivals Sundance and SXSW. He admits he prefers SXSW, but only due to its proximity to his Texan hometown. And, of course, its eclectic mix of music, film, and technology—much like Miller himself. One of Miller’s four films being released this year, You Can Choose Your Family, premiered at the recent 2018 SXSW Festival.
“My family was also from the Midwest and I kind of did something a little bit different with all this,” Miller explained. “I came to California and tried to be an actor, and all that was a bit strange for being a boy from the suburbs in Texas.”
Miller’s upcoming film deals with teens struggling to accept their identities. Love, Simon, the story of a homosexual young man preparing to come out in a high school with teen bullies, peer pressure, and unrequited love, echoes the theme of understanding much like Take Me to the River. The film is light in tone but lofty in subject matter. This dichotomy allows for important political and social topics to be discussed in an accessible manner.
“The movie just gives you a day in the life of someone’s situation. And whether it be gay, straight, bisexual, transgender, whatever, the main thing we can kind of relate with is that everyone is going through their own thing.”
He hopes the film will set a precedent for other movies with diverse leading characters. “I hope this movie leads to future generations not being afraid to tell a story.
“It’s great that we were able to make a movie that stayed within the boundaries, but also broke conventions in a way by having its lead character be homosexual. It doesn’t have to be a gay-centric film just because there’s a homosexual protagonist in it. We don’t just have to put these gender norms on something.”
The emphasis on millennials in the forefront of social acceptance also parallels our modern times. To Logan Miller, however, it is still a battle for young people to be heard when it matters most.
“The biggest thing we as millennials face is having power within your voice. I think we’re starting to see that shift change. We’re seeing kids, high schools, that were part of these mass shootings now voicing their opinions on Capitol Hill. I think it’s amazing. The big change that’s happening now is the fact that you don’t have to be 50 years old to start in politics…. There needs to be less ageism. We can all come together as a community and listen to the voices of the younger generation because they’re going to be there longer than some of these other generations.” According to Miller, all issues come down to society holding value in the voices of millennials. He uses his own voice not only for political and social activism but also within the film industry itself.
He brings his childhood love of cartoons to life by doing voice-over work for Marvel Heroes videogames and television shows Phineas and Ferb, Ultimate Spider-Man and Guardians of the Galaxy.
“Voice-over work is probably the most amazing gig as far as the entertainment business because you can wear whatever, be whoever, but change your persona entirely,” Miller said.
However it was his four-episode stint on The Walking Dead that spurred multiple fan encounters. Even today, he is still identified as his character from the show. “It was such a great opportunity to do [The Walking Dead]; always really fun too, to kind of see the story progress, being able to tell it as it happens and not knowing exactly what is going on. I think that actually helps with character development in some aspects too.”
He will continue venturing into horror action roles with the latest Blumhouse film, Prey, slated to be released this summer. Miller credits producer and founder Jason Blum, with breaking genre tropes in the industry. Blumhouse funded Get Out, an Oscar contender this year. “Back in the day people would see horror films as kind of within the B genre or in some way a camp or cheesy thing. But everything’s changing, sometimes for the better. I’m just very happy to be a part it.”
Currently creating a television show with his comedy collective DCS, Discount Channel Station. Miller is himself breaking down barriers. “The whole thing is just to make some of the worst television you’ve ever seen—intentionally, that is,” he joked. “I’ve got thousands of dreams and aspirations, and I hope that they all pan out.”
On a serious note though, Miller wants to continue working on meaningful films, either studio-financed or independent. but doesn’t only want to act in these movies.
“I would love to be in control of the stories,” Miller explained. “I’m kind of focusing on that a little right now with trying to create my own television series, working towards that and hopefully doing some directorial things in the future as well. But that takes time. I want to do it the right way.”