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Michael Eklund

Michael: "I started to live life again".

Conducted by Phil Davies Brown
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 interviewing.

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 soar.

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.

Michael: "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 making movies.

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.

Michael: "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 next?
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 Michael.
And we wish you the very best of luck in the future."

All photos of Michael courtesy of Mitchell Parsons, www.mitchellparsons.com

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