21 Questions: Michael Schwartz [Actor]

Michael Schwartz
Sully: Midnight Movie: The Killer Cut

Michael Schwartz is a graduate of the University of Southern California and also studied at the British American Drama Academy in London. In the past year, Michael has performed on various Los Angeles stages in Company (Bing Theatre), Marat/ Sade (Sacred Fools Theatre, LA Weekly Award: Best Production of the Year) and 42nd St. (Fullerton Civic Light Opera). After filming Midnight Movie, Michael participated in the Director’s Lab at Lincoln Center in New York.

-Tell us about your career and what you are currently working on or involved with? 
While I continue to act in film, I have focused a lot of my time since shooting “Midnight Movie” directing theatre. In the last few months, I have Assistant Directed both at the NY Philharmonic with Company, starring Neil Patrick Harris and Stephen Colbert, and at A.C.T. in San Francisco. I am currently working on the film version of Company, which hits movie theatres nationwide June 15th, and I’m also directing a short musical at the Old Vic Theatre in London next week, where Kevin Spacey has been the Artistic Director for the last 6 years. I hope to continue balancing my life as an actor and director, in both theatre and film.

-Is this what you thought you would be doing with your life, what was your first passion?
I never had a doubt. Would the 5 year-old kid who raided the Halloween costume closet to put on elaborate shows with his friends be doing anything else?

-To whom do you credit your success to, who gives or gave you the most support?
I certainly wouldn’t be where I am today without the guidance of strong mentors and the support and good humor of close friends. But seeing as how I still e-mail little articles and anecdotes back and forth with my parents nearly every day, I’d have to give them the majority of the credit.

-If you could meet or work with [living or dead], who would that be and why?
You know, I literally have journals and journals of lists on things like this. Well there’s not much point in naming someone dead, though I would have loved a coffee with Van Gough. I’ll say both JJ Abrams and Joss Whedon, two endlessly creative and ambitious men. Growing up on musicals and X-Men comics, my appreciation of Hugh Jackman is great. I’ll throw Fincher in there too. He hasn’t made a film I haven’t liked and admired.

-What would you like to be remembered for 100 years from now?
Someone who constantly strives to build and connect communities around the world through storytelling and art…And wasn’t a jerk about it.

-Who inspires you?
People who stay true to who they are with grace, clarity, and good humor.

-How are things different today, than the same day 1 year ago?
Hm. More weddings…I finally got a New York Winter coat….I didn’t think it was possible, but I have even less days off now. Oh. Oh. You know what’s different? I’ve started framing all those things I always wanted to frame. Framing is expensive. But ya know what, it’s totally worth it.

-What is the last song you bought or listened to in your musical device?
Lost Cause by Beck. (It’s featured in the show I’m directing at the Old Vic, aptly titled, Lost Cause.)

-Last good film you had seen, and the best movie you would recommend to someone asking?
Oh man. Well. I saw “Bridesmaids” last week. Loved it on every level. My last rental was “Rabbit Hole”. Loved that too. I’m a big fan of John Cameron Mitchell. As for recommendations? I’d have to know what the person was in the mood for.  Romance? How about “Before Sunset”. Foreign? “Lives Of Others”. Slit-your-wrists depressing but astonishing, musical and revolutionary? “Dancer In The Dark”. Take out the slit-your-wrists depressing part? “Once”.

-What is the single greatest moment in your life?
That time I beat my older brother and father to the top of the Grand Canyon by over 2 hours. Wusses.

-Favorite Horror Film?
The Shining.

-Favorite Book?
To Kill A Mockingbird. Runaway Bunny. The Wisdom of Insecurity.

-Favorite Song?
Oh come on. One? Coltrane. “In A Sentimental Mood”.

-Favorite Film Character?
Chunk. Goonies.

-Favorite Film Composer?
Thomas Newman and Gabriel Yared are real consistent for me, though if Trent Reznor keeps up for the next 15 years, I may change my answer.

-Favorite Thing In Your Home?
The vintage cameras I took from the dark room in my grandfather’s childhood home in Brooklyn before it was demolished last year.

-Favorite First Pet?
I had a rat as a kid named Odg. A real smart anagram for God. Clearly. I would talk to Odg and Odg would talk to me and I thought I was the second coming of the Joan of Ark. So yea, I was a totally normal kid.

-Favorite Coffee Or Tea?
I am a fan of the Starbucks green tea latte. I just wish the iced version wasn’t, ya know, 99% ice.

-Favorite Phrase?  
Non Illigitemi Carborundum.

-Favorite Hiding Place [Not that we are looking]?
I played Hide and Go Seek In The Dark with my Dad and brothers growing up. There was a coat closet in the basement that had a secret closet inside of it. I would literally hide there for HOURS. Like, my Dad would give up, my family would have dinner, go to bed, and I’d remain perfectly still and silent, eyes closed, in Narnia or Oz or wherever I thought I was. I was clearly quite competitive by nature. Even if nobody else seemed to be interested in the competition.

-If you could tell someone something someone told you, "words to live by" what would that be?
The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance…Oh. And never eat yellow snow.

2 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I'd like to sit down with those two directors as well! Great interview, guys.

youngelfman said...

Awesome job by Michael Schwartz in MIDNIGHT MOVIE. I will forever watch my combination of snacks in a movie theater thanks to Sully :-)