What can you tell us about your new film The
Los Angeles Ripper and your character in it?
It's a serial killer movie. A low budget grinder with a lot of passion behind
it. At times the movie is grossly, darkly comedic because of how ridiculous
some of the characters are. My character is full-on scumbag. A psycho...
sense of humor without knowing it, ridiculous social skills, and a drug
abuser. A real piece of sh*t.
Even when he's not out killing prostitutes, Grahm in the movie comes
across like a complete scumbag. Always presuming that you're not even half
the scumbag he is - how do you prepare for such a role, who or what do you
base it on? And how much of yourself have you put into Grahm?
The director, Craig McIntyre [Craig
McIntyre interview - click here], and I started meeting about 6 months
before shooting began. We started talking about the character, and what he
was like in general. I started reading a lot of literature on serial
killers, how they interacted in society, common traits amongst other
killers, and listened to interviews about what they felt when they killed
and the aftermath of their actions. Craig also had a whole sketchbook of
scenes and characters drawn out, so I had some really cool visuals to
think about. I basically let all that info float around in my mind for
those 6 months... grew a mustache, and boom! There was Grahm. So, the
character wasn't based on any one person. I have a bizarre sense of humor
which I tried to bring out, at times way out. I've had some drug issues,
so I was able to recall those feelings when necessary. It was an
interesting experience to play a role so insane. Kind of freeing in a way.
Nothing was too vile, so I could really let things rip when we were
Celeste Matrinez faces
Especially in the scenes with Kristy (as played by Celeste
Martinez), Grahm comes across as a complete asshole. So what can you tell
us about your collaboration with Celeste, and what was your relationship
like when the camera's weren't rolling?
Celeste is incredibly talented so it was easy for me to be even
crazier, and maybe more bizarre when we did scenes together. Her character
in the film is so sweet, and innocent and she played that really well.
When we were filming and I saw a look of complete disgust and shock/horror
in her eyes, it was fun to keep throwing more insanity at her. Between
takes we'd laugh sometimes, because it was all so weird and gross. I had a
great time working with her.
Both you and
Celeste Martinez have received co-writing credits on The
Los Angeles Ripper. Could you elaborate on that?
had a lot of freedom to try different bits of dialogue out while we shot.
It was a collaboration to get the dialogue to the point you see in the
film. We would do a take and sometimes discuss trying something else out.
The shell of all the scenes were on paper, and Craig allowed me to
improvise and play, AND was cool enough to give me a writing credit for
the dialogue we came up with while shooting.
Since The Los
Angeles Ripper is a pretty violent movie - what can you tell us
about the actual on-set atmosphere?
The first day of filming was done in a warehouse with some apartments
nearby. The scene included a lot of screaming, crying and yelling. After
10 minutes of shooting, 5 cops busted onto set. They said that neighbors
thought people were being tortured or abused. So, I think we got things
started with a bang. Everybody got along well, and all the actors were
easy to talk to. No drama or diva antics. We were able to work and then go
home. The atmosphere was really positive.
How did you get involved with The
Los Angeles Ripper in the first place, and a few words about your
director Craig McIntyre [Craig
McIntyre interview - click here] and your collaboration on the
Craig and I did another movie together about 8 years ago. I had a great
time working with him on that one. Once it wrapped, we kept getting
together to hang out, talk about movies, our dreams, drink a beer, have
laughs. A couple of years ago he started talking to me about The
Los Angeles Ripper
and asked if I wanted to play the killer. I have a ton of respect for
Craig's artistic abilities, and his directing style, and him as a person.
And I think he's brilliant. He's a good friend now. I trust him. It made
the collaboration on the film easy for me. I could be totally uninhibited.
Very cool dude, Craig McIntyre.
You have also worked with Craig McIntyre on his previous movie A
Few Screws Loose. How do the two films compare?
Both films have similar stylings. A Few Screws Loose is less narrative,
and a bit more experimental. That movie was also plagued with some huge
issues with actors keeping their commitments to the shooting schedule, and
one of the leads quit when the movie was 85% done. It was a bit of a
nightmare. You have such high hopes for a movie, and it's really
heartbreaking when some of the other actors quit before it's done. The
Los Angeles Ripper
is more narrative. And, it's a movie where both Craig and I
have 6 more years of experience at our jobs added to the project.
got you into acting in the first place, and did you recieve any actual
training as an actor?
I started acting in grade school.
Anytime there was a class project, I would convince the group that we
needed to do it as a film. In junior high and high school, my buddies and
I filmed comedy sketches and did parody commercials. I did theatre
throughout college, and have been in Los Angeles since 2002 doing movies.
Would you like to talk about some
of your films prior to The
Los Angeles Ripper for a bit?
I have a really fun
gross-out comedy available called The American Poop Movie. A lot of the
films I've done have been indies that couldn't quite figure out a way to
projects you'd like to share?
I'm reading a few scripts
right now. I did a few scenes in a film called Lost on Purpose. That one
is going to be really good. Craig is mapping out his next movie as well,
so I hope to work with him again. I’m also meeting with a few production
companies to develop some webshow ideas. I have an agent who is getting
me out for commercial and TV auditions on a consistent basis as well.
How would you describe your approach to acting as such?
I read the script for a movie, or audition, a few times and let that
percolate for a while. If it's something foreign to me, I'll do some
research. Then I really like to trust my instincts and make believe once
the camera rolls. If the director wants something different, my goal is to
be pliable enough to do something different. It’s such a fun job once
you book a role.
who inspire you?
I have a lot of respect for people that
have made it to the top of the list- actors that are national and
international heavyweights. I also have tons of admiration for actors who
can move between artistic projects and mainstream films. James Franco is
an interesting dude that I respect.
Your favourite movies?
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
Full Metal Jacket, The Shining, Porky's, Old School,
and of course, films you really deplore?
every movie I watch that I'm not in, but could have been in.
Facebook, whatever else?
Anything else you are dying to
mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?
I love working
it's the coolest feeling in the world. I have a lovely wife and daughter
who deserve for me to be able to provide a nice living for them.
Michael!! I appreciate all the support for The
Los Angeles Ripper
and A Few Screws Loose.