Following the announcement of T.J. Miller’s exit from Silicon Valley fans were up in arms, how could they get rid of one of the best characters on the show? It turns out all is not as it seems.
In an earlier interview with The Hollywood Reporter, creator Mike Judge tried to explain Miller’s suprise exit from the show to give the fans some clarity. He said:
“It was kind of becoming clear that he didn’t want to do the show anymore, but we wanted to leave it so that there would an opportunity to come back at some point […] When the season was done, we talked to T.J. and said, ‘Do you want to come back for part of it?’ And he just wanted to move on.”
Now, T.J. Miller himself sat down with The Hollywood Reporter to give his side to the story, and he had a lot to say on the matter.
On whether he broke his contract by leaving mid-run:
They came to me and said, “Look, we’re not going to pick up your contingency because we want to offer you doing five episodes out of the 10, or three episodes.” And then I said, “Oh perfect, I had been wanting to ask if you guys would be open to me leaving the show.” And then they suddenly said, “Wait, no, what? You can do whatever. What? What do you mean?” And that was so good of them. They said, “We just wanted you to have more time to do all of the things you’re doing.” And I said, “Well, the best way for me to be involved in the show is by no longer being on it.” I swear to God, that’s why the internet broke. Everybody was like, “What the f— are you talking about? You’re on this successful show. Don’t you want three more years of solid acting work and don’t you want to be a famous television actor?” And I was like, “No, not really.” I’d like to parasail into the Cannes Film Festival for The Emoji Movie because that’s the next new funny thing that will make people laugh.
On how his heavy schedule limited his ability to play Erlich for another full season:
They had to move the production schedule around. That’s how heavy duty my schedule is. Even the most successful comedy next to Veep on HBO was like this thing that I had to — I’m doing stand-up and I come back and I didn’t sleep at all. I was incredibly busy. People joke about it but I’m the hardest-working man in show business, maybe. So they were like, “Let’s make this easier for both of us.” And I was like, “I think this is an amazing opportunity.”
Miller addresses whether the show may not be as good without Erlich Bachman:
Christopher Evan Welch, who was 10 times funnier than I am, died. They lost someone to eternity who was much funnier than my character, and the show found a way to pivot and find its way. Erlich failed to prove to be meaningful or of any value to Pied Piper, and so he pivoted. That’s what every company in Silicon Valley does. That’s what America is. There is failure, but we pivot. My departure will do the same. Instead of dying, like everybody in my family would love, I go and make The Emoji Movie. It’s worse for American culture.
On the final conversations with HBO about his exit from the show:
It felt like a breakup with HBO. The final phone call was them going like, “Well, I don’t think this is the end of Erlich. I still want to see him on television,” and I was like, “I know but I think this is for the best.” HBO has never treated me as an employee, always as a collaborator. They were understanding and said, “Look, if you really think that this is the move and that you’ll be able to produce an hour special for us sooner than you would have if you were on the show, and if you feel right now under the current administration that you need to do stand-up because you need to be talking to the American public, then we support that.” So they were very, very cool about it, and that final conversation was super friendly and sad. It was heartbreaking on my end.
On if he’d ever return to Silicon Valley:
[HBO programming president] Casey [Bloys] called me and said, “Hey, when do we start season five? Just kidding. Listen, we love that you’re doing a special with us. I just wanted to check in.” So I would love to work with them forever. It’s just that I will never be on Silicon Valley again. That character, as you have seen, disappeared into the ether. And he did it at a time when no one was sick of him, when he had worn thin but not worn out.
In typical T.J. Miller fashion his interview is quite hectic and reasoning a little strange, but one thing is clear, Miller wanted out. Season 4 has just finished airing so if you’re wondering how it all ends for Erlich Bachman, check it out only on HBO.
Source: The Hollywood Reporter