Michael: "I started to live life again".
Conducted by Phil
August 4th, 2006
On screen, Michael Eklund comes
across as a fun guy, and I'm pleased to report that he coems across
equally as well in real life.
The man may have just worked with Pacino, but he's one
of the most down to earth actors I have ever had the pleasure of
Read on for a fantastic look at a working actor's life
and be sure to look out for Michael as his star power continues to
How did you get into acting?
I risked it all....The story involves two women, a movie theater, two
thousand dollars, and U-haul. When I was in school I knew what I wanted
to do. I wanted to study acting. But I didn't know how to do that. At
the time I was dating a girl who influenced me to put away my dreams and
pursue a career as a graphic artist. She always told me that it was
impossible to be an actor, it was unrealistic. She would always tell me
that only special people can do that. Of course I was young and stupid,
so I believed her. I moved to Calgary and went to art school. She went
to Ottawa to go to school. After a month apart she cheated on me and
dumped me. It sucked. But that year turned out to be one of the best
years of my life. She couldn't have helped me more. I started to live
life again. Instead of just sitting in my room talking on the phone to
her raising up insane long distance phone bills. I went out, met people,
and started thinking and focusing on my art. It was this year that really
pushed me to find myself. It was almost time. I knew it was coming. But
I didn't know what. I have this inner voice in my head and we both knew
that I was not happy doing art. I gave it a shot, I could have had a good
career in it, but I knew I didn't love it. And I believe you have to love
your work. Whatever you are doing you have to love it. I didn't love it.
I went back to Saskatoon for the summer, and got a part time summer job at
the local movie theater before I went back to art school. And then it
happened. A girl came into the movie theater to apply for a job. She
walked in and I was speechless. I couldn't stop looking at her; I don't
think she even noticed me. All I could ask her was what her name was.
She said Megan Bennett. Five days later Megan started working at the
theater, ten days later we were dating, 40 days later I dropped out of art
school. Megan was studying acting at the University of
Saskatchewan. Finally....my influence. Megan showed me that it was not
impossible to be an actor, it wasn't unrealistic, that it was for special
people but that we were all special people. Megan is the sole reason that
I am acting today. Two years later we decided to give it a shot. Why
not? We saved up two thousand bucks rented a U-haul and hit the road to
Vancouver to live our lives as artists. That is how I got into
acting....I risked it all. I followed my heart. I listened to my inner
voice. I took a chance.
I'm still risking it all. You never know what's going to happen next.
You began your career with
parts in many high profile TV shows such as The Outer Limits, how did it
feel to be part of such a well known genre show?
I remember the original Outer Limits show when I was a kid, I remember
watching reruns of it when I was little and it scaring the crap out of me.
So when I was fortunate enough to be on the new Outer Limits show it was a
nice feeling to feel that a piece of my childhood was still with me. It
was the times when I was a child that made me fall in love with film and
television. So when you catch yourself in the moment and take a second to
reflect on your life and everything you did to get yourself to where you
are and you open your eyes and realize where you are at that very moment,
which was on the set of The Outer Limits, I found it to be a very surreal
and ironic experience. Who would have thought as a kid, watching that
specific show that 20 years later you would be standing there on a
television set on a show you watched as a kid, acting with actors you grew
up watching. It was a wonderful experience to be a part of it.
"We had a great time fighting
those darn bees".
I believe your first feature
film was Uwe Boll's Blackwoods. What was Uwe like to work with before he
became known as the modern day Ed Wood?
Blackwoods was my first feature film, so obviously I was excited. It was
the first time that I worked with Uwe Boll, and I have to say that I have
always had great experiences working with him. Uwe Boll has always been a
fun director to work for. He allows his actors to have fun, and has
always encouraged them to take risks in their work, which is how I like to
work. Uwe is a far more talented director than Ed Wood. I don't believe
Uwe gets the credit that he deserves. He has always been kind,
respectful, professional, and enjoyable to work with, even before he has
become what he is today. In my mind he hasn't changed a bit. He loves
what he does, he likes to have fun, he works really hard and he enjoys
Killer Bees was a modern
version of the B-movies of the 50's and 60's was it fun to work on?
Killer Bees! was so much fun. C'mon a movie about a small town being
invaded by deadly killer bees? Just saying the word BEES is fun. How
could you not go into that film thinking you are not going to have a
blast? It was a total spoof on the B-movie classics of the 50's done in a
modern day setting. I got to work with C. Thomas Howell, which was
another factor about the film that interested me and convinced me to be a
part of it. He was another actor I grew up watching as a kid, so to work
with him was a real treat. My character Deputy Slim will always hold a
spot as one of my favorites. We had a great time fighting those darn
bees....I remember that we had a lot of laughs making that film.
You worked again with Uwe Boll
on the critically lambasted but much fun House of the Dead, in which you
played my favourite character, what was the mood like on set? It's been
rumoured that the producers were not happy with how the movie was turning
out whilst they were still shooting it.
I am happy to hear that your favorite character in the film was
"Hugh". There are a lot of Hugh lovers out there, even though he only
lasted the first 45 minutes of the film before having his neck broken by
one of those damn zombies. Originally Hugh was in the film a lot more.
He actually came back as a zombie at the end of the film to face his
friends for leaving him behind, but unfortunately it was cut from the
film. It was a fun film. To be honest I never heard the rumors that
anyone was unhappy with how the movie was turning out. It is something
that I am never aware of when working on a film. If that was the case I
never knew it. I remember the mood on set being fun and crazy....at least
when I was there. To all the critics out there that lambasted the film
all I can say is that it was a zombie movie for heavens sake! It was
another example of a film that if you were not having fun doing what we
were doing than you just should not be doing what you are doing. I always
try to stay out of the politics when I work. I am there to do my job, and
I take it seriously. I really enjoy what I do, so if I am having a good
time then I know everything is going well, and I don't remember one day
that I was not having fun.
Deadly Visions was released
here on DVD recently and was surprisingly good for what it was, was it an
enjoyable movie to work on?
I was only there for a short amount of time, but I really enjoyed my
character in Deadly Visions. I played Stan the eyeball doctor. I think I
had the most fun character in the whole film. It turned out to be a nice
little film. It's the perfect kind of movie to watch when you are
flipping channels in the middle of the night and don't know what to watch.
The director Michael Scott really gave me the freedom to do my thing. He
took my reigns off and let me dance.
I really enjoyed working with him. Nicollette Sheridan was a dream. It
wasn't too hard to look into her "eyes" all day.
"Here is a man who just wants
to make movies,".
You were recently seen in an
episode of Masters of Horror (Pick me Up) what was that like to work on?
Two words...Michael Moriarty. It was truly an honor to share the screen
with him. He has always been one of my favorites.
You also recently worked on 88
Minutes. What was that project like to work on?
What I liked the most about working with on 88 Minutes was that I was
given the freedom to do my thing. The director was Jon Avent and he was
one of those great directors that really lets you fly. He is a confident
film maker. I created a character that was quite bold and unusual and it
was really fun to play this character with such support from everyone.
The best thing I received from the experience was the reminder that we are
all just people. Al Pacino was just a regular guy doing his job, which
really set the tone to allow us to play and explore our characters, which
is rare sometimes. We had fun together, if it ever crosses your mind
while you’re doing a scene with Al Pacino that you are acting with Michael
Corleone from The Godfather (which I have never seen) than you may be in
trouble, because, you are not truly present in the work, and he will sniff
that out. But I will admit it probably helped me that I have never seen
the movie. He was very kind and shared some encouraging words about my
work that I will always remember. The overall experience was more than I
could ever have asked for.
We will see you again in Uwe
Boll's big screen adaptation of Dungeon Siege, which has an amazing cast.
What was it like to work on?
Again...two words...Burt Reynolds. The man is Hollywood. I had one scene
with him and he was the most gracious, professional, and giving actor to
work with. The movie was huge! Great actors wherever you looked, big
sets, big budget, big everything. Uwe Boll has come a long way from the
days of Blackwoods. I am very proud of Uwe for what he has achieved.
Even though people are tough on him from time to time you really have to
give him credit for what he has done. He works extremely hard, and is
probably one of the busiest people I know.
Has Uwe let the negative
reviews affect his enthusiasm for his work?
I don't think so. When ever I hear from Uwe he is always in good spirits.
He only focuses on the positive things. And that is the way it should be.
The negative feedback just holds you back. I think we have enough
negativity out there in the world as it. Here is a man who just wants to
make movies, and entertain people, and for that he gets criticized. There
are a lot of people out there who love his films, and those are the people
Uwe makes movies for.
Where can we expect to see you
First is The Entrance, directed by Damon Vignale. I am very excited about
this film! I think everyone is going to like this one. The
Entrance is a drama about an angst ridden drug dealer that I play named
Ryan James. He is slated for death and attempts to repay his sins and
regain his mortality with the aid of a police detective that he shares a
past with. What he doesn't tell her is that he is trying to substitute
her innocent life for his own doomed soul. The character is the
embodiment of an unethical, self-serving existence. This film explores
his life and death struggle for redemption while undergoing a terrifying
ordeal. What interested me about this story and the character was the
fundamental fear we all have that someone is always watching you and
judging you. The Entrance will be out sometime next year. Next, is 88
Minutes directed by Jon Avnet. 88 Minutes is a thriller about a college
professor who is moonlighting as a forensic psychiatrist for the FBI. I
play a really interesting character named J.T. Ryker who is Al Pacino's
doorman, who may know more about the murders that are occurring than he is
letting on. It's every actors dream to work with an actor like Al Pacino;
it was an honor, I can now cross him off my list. Then there is
Intelligence. Intelligence is a two hour movie by the creators of "Da
Vinci's Inquest," which will spin off as a new series this summer.
Intelligence is about a spy scandal which erupts after a Vancouver drug
smuggler acquires sensitive information about a local drug squad and tries
to cut a deal for himself. I play an undercover narcotics officer named
Rene Desjardine, who is a part of the Vancouver city drug squad who is
playing on both sides. In Intelligence there are no good guys and bad
guys, just people doing what they need to do to survive. And finally my
new CTV/Comedy Network sitcom called "Alice I Think," based on novels
written by Susan Juby, an extremely talented writer. "Alice I Think" is a
story about the misadventures of a teenage girl's unconventional family
and their odd collection of friends living in the northern town of
Smithers, B.C. The show follows the family as they encounter life's ups
and downs. In a nutshell the character I play is named Marcus and he is
the town’s only cab driver, actually he owns the only cab in the whole
town, although he usually can be too drunk to actually drive it. He is a
man/boy in his thirties who refuses to join the rest of society so he
dates teenagers from the local high school, and on the side is a drummer
in a band called the Hoar Hounds. It has been a weird mix of realities
for a while.
"Thank you ever so much for taking part in this interview
And we wish you the very best of luck in the future."
All photos of Michael courtesy of Mitchell Parsons,