Silicon Valley may have lost a beloved character with the departure of series star T.J. Miller, but the brilliant minds behind the HBO series aren’t too worried about it.
In fact, series creator Mike Judge told The Hollywood Reporter that Miller’s exit came as a huge relief to the production team, as he was apparently about as professional as the stoner he played on the Emmy-nominated comedy.
Sources tell THR that the decision to cut ties with the comedian was “a long time coming” and that his use of drugs and alcohol would get in the way of his job.
On some days, insiders claim, The Emoji Movie star would show up seemingly under the influence — others he wouldn’t show up at all.
“There are a lot of different ways you can find out somebody doesn’t want to do the show anymore… 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.'”
The report goes on to claim that Miller would show up late to table reads, usually without having ever read the script in advance, and would fall asleep between takes on set, “leaving the cast and crew to nudge him awake.”
This led to an inevitable exit at the end of Season 4, which (now tellingly) showed Miller’s character Erlich passing out in a Tibetan opium den:
But Judge says that wasn’t the way the writers wanted to say goodbye to the fan-favorite character, revealing that HBO and the producers offered Miller an opportunity to return for three episodes in the upcoming fifth season for a proper send-off.
Miller, however, declined the offer (which would have likely been a story line involving Erlich on a road trip across China), and decided to make a clean break to dive into his then-burgeoning film career — which has since been squandered by recently surfaced sexual-assault allegations.
In response to the creative team’s claims detailed in THR‘s story, the actor defended himself by saying he never came to work high — he was just tired from doing stand-up all the time. He professed:
“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.”
Disagreements aside, creator Alec Berg is confident that the show will survive without its breakout star, explaining:
“These guys are the Golden State Warriors of comedy. It’s like, yeah, we’ve lost Andre Iguodala but we still have Steph Curry and Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson and some other guy on the Warriors whose name I don’t know. But I don’t feel like we can’t win championships anymore… T.J. wasn’t LeBron.”
When Miller was told about that NBA analogy, he replied:
“Oh, that’s great … And it makes me like him more [because] he’s so good at being an asshole.”
Ha! Sounds like all’s good between these assholes?
[Image via HBO.]