How Deadpool's T.J. Miller Ruined His Career In Seconds

Sometimes it only takes one bad role to ruin an actor's career. Sometimes it only takes oneself. And in the case of comedian T.J. Miller, it only took one phone call. Back on March 18, 2018, Miller called in a fake bomb threat from an Amtrak train. As the U.S. Attorney for the District of Connecticut wrote, he reported a woman on the train acting suspiciously, and believed she had "a bomb in her bag." She had "brown hair and a scarf," he said, and later had "red hair and a red scarf." Police wound up storming the train and found nothing. Miller was charged with "intentionally conveying to law enforcement false information about an explosive device," per CNN, and Connecticut prosecutors later dropped the case and ordered that Miller undergo "Cognitive Remediation," instead, per Variety.

By that point in his career, Miller had moved on from his improv comedy roots to film roles in "Cloverfield," "Deadpool," voice acting in "The Emoji Movie," and how many people might remember him: whacko tech entrepreneur Erlich Bachman in HBO's "Silicon Valley." He might not have been a Hollywood A-lister, but he was building his career on relatively solid grounds. That is, aside from the type of volatile on-set behavior described on Oxygen that might have contributed to his character being written out of "Silicon Valley." Also, he had allegations of sexual and physical assault levied at him around the same time which allegedly happened when he was in college in the early aughts, as Daily Beast describes. All in all, the fake bomb call was more of a final step that broke Miller's career.

A 'manic episode' following brain surgery

On the surface, it's difficult to see what could have led T.J. Miller — or anyone else, for that matter — to call in a fake bomb threat. As the U.S. Attorney for the District of Connecticut wrote, Miller had been seen earlier that evening having "hostile exchanges" with a woman in the Amtrak train's first-class car. Train employees said that Miller had boarded the train drunk, had some drinks while on board, and got kicked off in New York because of it. Meanwhile, Miller stated that he'd had "one glass of red wine" up to that point, and when asked if he had a mental illness he replied, "No, absolutely not."

However, that's not exactly true. In fact, as Deadline writes, Miller had undergone brain surgery several years prior for an unspecified congenital brain deformity. He learned about this condition in 2010, opted for surgery after suffering a brain hemorrhage and seizures, and had a "golf ball-sized" portion of his frontal lobe removed. Thus began his increasingly erratic behavior — as we cited on Oxygen, and which Vulture corroborates — that culminated in what Miller calls the "manic episode" that led to him calling in the fake bomb threat. By all accounts, Miller legitimately believed that the lady he called into the police was a threat. Variety states as much, saying that such considerations — plus Miller's mental health history and willingness to pay for the police response to his call – led to his charges being dropped.

Miller's career since the fake bomb threat

As T.J. Miller says, he endured explosive backlash immediately following the fake bomb threat incident. "Imagine having thousands of people be like, 'I hope you die,'" Deadline quotes, "The human brain is not prepared for that — especially if you have a little less brain." The "little less brain" comment references the brain surgery that removed part of Miller's frontal lobe. Regarding the time leading up to his crime, he said, "I started to go insane, not just chemically but physically ... I started to exhibit characteristics of somebody who is losing their mind." Doubtlessly the fallout to his actions didn't exactly help in this regard.

Even only by looking at Miller's IMDb, we can see that his career also took a tremendous hit following the fake bomb threat. He appeared in "Deadpool 2" that same year in 2018, but that movie had finished filming prior to the incident. After that Miller showed up in a couple of small acting and voice roles in TV and film. Other than this, he's been pretty quiet — until recently, that is.

Miller's actions back in 2018 might have canned his chances at a larger, grander career, but he's once again heavily involved in the standup comedy circuit. His 2022 standup special "Dear Jonah" and 2024 Denver-based "420 Special" are both available on YouTube, and his Instagram largely reflects bits from such shows. In 2023 he also embarked on "The Gentle Giant Tour" across Europe. At the time of this writing, he has shows booked out through June 2025.