I had the opportunity to interview the very talented actor Sean Michael concern both his latest movie, Triggered, which I describe as survival horror thriller, and about some of his career skills concerning the craft of acting.
Baron Craze: This film, Triggered, I’ve been reading about it seems that no one has picked out a genre for the movie. We’ve got it as a thriller, action/drama, or survival horror. Which one is it and why?
Sean Cameron Michael: That’s a very good question. I’ve talked to the producers about this as well but it’s really a thriller – absolutely a thriller and it has some horror elements and comedy elements it’s paying tribute to different genres but for me it’s a spot on commercial thriller/horror.
BC: I’ve heard/read some of your previous interviews and from those you are usually attracted to roles over the past few years for certain directors or actors. Basically, who got you involved in this particular project?
SCM: I was approached by the producer Ariye [Mahdeb] and he said he wanted me for this movie. I was currently in Cape Town, South Africa at the time and I was on my way back to Los Angeles and I said it was a great script and I really want to work with Alastair [Orr] an up and coming indie film director in South Africa. So, he told me that Alastair really wants you so we can put you on a 36 hour flight back to South Africa we can do the film in two days and it will be lots of fun so I said yes. It was a lot of fun and a great ensemble piece. It was difficult at times, but we had a lot of fun making it.
BC: As an actor did you do anything in particular to prepare for your role?
SCM: My character was just a schoolteacher [Peterson] whose son died of an overdose and wife committed suicide and [he] blames the kids for that. They were friends with his son, and he blames the kids for his son’s and wife’s death. So luckily, I didn’t have to do too much running or physical action sequences it really just trying to figure out who this character was. What made him so damaged and so revengeful and needed to figure out what the other characters in the story needed from me. That’s always my thing as a supporting actor where do I fit into the story and how can I help those characters make some sort of impact. I really wanted to give the character depth
BC: In addition, quite a few of the readers of The Horror Times are actors, do you believe in the method acting, or rather saving it all for the scene allowing that energy to have greater natural impact with cast mates.
SCM: For me, filmmaking is such a technical experience. I don’t really regard myself as a method actor. I always play really intense characters I find it easier to jump in and out of that character in between takes. It makes it easier for my own sanity. I’m able to arrive on set and I have a pretty good idea on how I want to play this character and I’ll be able to switch it on when it’s needed for that character and switch it off. I think method acting works I’ve worked with a lot of method actors but for me personally I find it dangerous to live in that world with that character 24/7 because I play a lot of baddies and psychopaths. It’s not a great place to be and stay in. I’ll just save it for the camera and have a good laugh or joke between takes.
BC: Was there ample rehearsal time/table read – and if not how to do you adjust for that with respect to a role?
SCM: No, I think for the core cast there was more time with Alastair but for me he left it up to me to give my portrayal of the character. When I arrived in South Africa I literally arrived on set and Alastair wanted to know what was needed from him as a director. I’ve had a little bit of time to figure this guy out. So, I asked if he wanted it bigger or smaller and he was really happy in what I was giving. The elements weren’t playing along the rain was intense which made it slippery and muddy, but it was still a fun shoot. Alastair was great to work with. He really left it up to the actors on how things could be. He wanted their interpretation and then went with it.
BC: One last question, it seems you are attached to characters with some sort of psychological impact into the film. Is that correct?
SCM: Yes, it seems that over the past 50 years I’ve always played the same character. He’s either a good guy who turns out bad or a bad guy who turns good and the duality of the characters. I’m drawn to characters that are multi-layered and that have a lot more to them than meets the eye which makes them more interesting.
BC: Thanks, on behalf of The Horror Times.
Sean’s Social Links: