Date of publishing: 24th
Michael was born in Los Angeles July 25, 1987. Michael's
acting career was launched at the age of 10 on the
television show “Frasier,” playing young
Niles. He later starred as Luke Girardi on the hit
television series “Joan of Arcadia.”
Michael's versatility has been spotlighted in guest
appearances on over 25 television shows. In his guest
appearance on "Stargate SG-1."
Michael was critically acclaimed for his portrayal
of Colonel Jack O'Neill cloned in Welch's body. He
has had such diverse roles as a Buddhist monk, autistic
teen and young man battling with the law.
Michael is no stranger to the stage; he had the wonderful
opportunity to play Ian McKellen’s son in "Enemy
of The People" with the Royal National Theatre.
Over the past several years Michael's talents have
brought him acclaim on the big screen. He has appeared
in "An American Crime," "Buster’s
Class Reunion," "American Son" and
"The Beautiful Ordinary," and has recently
completed his most challenging role in "Lost
Dream." He also stars in "Day of the Dead",
"All the Boys Love Mandy Lane" and "Twilight".
Watch for many of these films to come to theaters
Michael has been involved with the charity Kids with
a Cause since 1999. He received the 2005 “Star
Innovative Award” for his environmental contributions.
Michael has received two Young Artist Awards for his
excellence in both film and television.
(Biography from www.michaelwelchonline.com)
Nuytens: You are
quite young but you have already an impressive filmography!
Was acting always what you wanted to do? You first
got an acting class at nine, but how did you start
Michael Welch: Acting isn’t
what I always pictured myself doing. As a kid I was
a HUGE fan of movies and television, but I don’t
remember a great desire to be a part of them. I had
more realistic aspirations; I was either going to
be an astronaut, fire fighter, professional roller
blader, skydiver, or Power Rangers-like superhero.
I always loved being on stage. The most fun I ever
had was when I got up in front of my school, once
a year, to tell a joke at the talent show. Once it
became apparent that I could make a living being on
stage, in movies, and on television, the speculation
was over. I was set. At ten years old, I knew what
I wanted to do for the rest of my life with total
clarity and absolute certainty. I’m extremely
lucky that I’ve been given all the necessary
opportunities to live out my dream.
Gilles Nuytens: I
see you've got your first role in 1998 in an episode
of Frasier, how was it for a 10 years old boy to audition
for such a big show? And how did you feel during this
Michael Welch: Those suits didn’t
scare me! At that point I already had five or six
auditions under my belt, so I was a veteran in my
book. My delusion and naiveté’ are probably
what made me successful as a kid. My parents instilled
a very healthy perspective for a young actor just
starting out. There was no pressure to book jobs,
only to have fun and work hard. I didn’t walk
into those auditions with any desperation. The room
was my stage, the hotshot producers and writers were
my audience, and I just went in there to have a good
time. And if I got the job, that was just really sweet
icing on an already delicious cake. Of course, once
I experienced working on an actual set, there was
no turning back. Frazier started it all. It gave me
my first real taste of this profession and I’ve
been hooked on it like a drug ever since.
Gilles Nuytens: You
said a few years ago in an interview that you were
interested in writing or directing, do you have any
project in the pipeline?
Michael Welch: Oh no. That stuff’s
hard man! Do you know how hard it is to write a decent
screenplay, direct it, and produce something that
will move, entertain, or effect people on some level?
It’s almost impossible, at LEAST as difficult
as brain surgery. That’s why we have to keep
going back to the same people- Coen Bros, P.T. Anderson,
Scorsese, Eastwood, Haneke, Matt Stone and Trey Parker-
to get truly masterful work. I hope one day I’ll
be able to create something like that. I’m not
ready now, but I’m 20 years old. I plan to be
acting into my late eighties. I have no idea where
my career is headed.
Nuytens: Who influenced
you as an actor, do you have any mentor or simply
actors you love so much (their skills) that they influenced
Michael Welch: I’ve had four
acting teachers over the years, all of them with completely
different styles and techniques, that have helped
build my foundation as an actor. I’ve been inspired
by hundreds of actors throughout my life. As far as
the kind of actor I want to be… I’m shooting
for something like, an Edward Norton meets Gary Oldman
meets Shia Labouf meets Christian Bale, kind of a
Gilles Nuytens: What
draws you to a role usually?
Michael Welch: It depends on where
I am in my life and what’s keeping me creatively
motivated at the time. Sometimes I’m drawn to
really dark and intense roles, other times I’m
into simple, realistic, coming of age / slice out
of life stories. Sometimes I’m focused on comedies,
other times dramas, you get the idea. What I really
look for are projects I believe in and roles I can
connect with and really sink my teeth into…
If you want to get specific, I’d love to play
Jeff Buckley in the inevitable biopic to be made about
his life. He was about as flawed, complex, and brilliant
as they come. I don’t know if I look enough
like him though. Also, I can’t sing.
Gilles Nuytens: What
interested you in Twilight and in the character you
Michael Welch: As some of you may
know, I had never heard of the books before I auditioned.
Just as I had never seen Stargate SG-1 before auditioning
for that. I’m a loser... I liked the idea of
“Twilight” a lot because I love anything
to do with vampires. I thought the story was really
interesting, that’s what got me excited about
the project initially. And then, the 50,000 posts
on imdb within 48 hours of the “Twilight”
film announcement got me pretty pumped as well. Mike
Newton is a great guy, isn’t he? I think he’s
a real sweetheart. And by the way I think he’s
fun, I don’t think he’s annoying at all.
I realize though that many people who find Mike annoying
also tend to find me annoying. So that’s cool,
‘cause I like Mike.
Nuytens: Did you
get the role you wanted for this movie (Twilight),
or did you audition for another role? How was the
process/experience, any story to tell?
Michael Welch: I first auditioned
for Edward. I’m really glad I didn’t get
it because I don’t know if I could have handled
the ensuing wave of “He’s not hot enough,”
that was sure to follow. Let’s face it, this
movie lives and dies on that boys’ chiseled
face and I’m glad it’s him to carry that
weight and not me. Edward possesses a legendary, Helen
of Troy-like beauty. Mike is a completely tolerable
guy, who could look passably cute under the right
kind of lighting. That’s more my range. I auditioned
for Eric the same day I was working on an episode
of CSI: Miami. I had a terrible morning and that night,
I was scheduled to shoot the, always pivotal, victim-crying
scene. I was not in the mood to audition that day,
but of course I’m glad I did. Catherine wanted
me to stick around and read for Mike, but I had to
leave and get to work. Luckily for me, she had one
more casting session and let me come back. At the
final callback for the high school kids, most of the
roles were down to two-three people. The only other
person auditioning for Mike was Hunter Parish, a fantastic
young actor from “Weeds.” One of the first
things I said to Catherine was, “By the way,
I don’t care if you hire the other guy because
that kid is awesome.” It probably wasn’t
the smartest thing to say, but it’s the truth.
He’s amazing, and I like when good people get
work. Hunter and I are completely different actors.
We exude different energies on screen. If we both
bring our respective A-games to the audition, it just
becomes a matter of judgment. Afterwards, the creative
people and the money people all have to get together
in a room and decide which person best fits THEIR
vision of the character. At that point, it has nothing
to do with us. It has to do with them and their opinions.
That’s why I don’t mind loosing work to
deserving actors and I think most of them feel that
Gilles Nuytens: Do
you still see your friends from Joan Of Arcadia?
Michael Welch: Yeah. Aaron Himelstein
and Chris Marquette have been good friends of mine
for years. We hang out whenever possible. I just saw
Aaron in a play at the Young Playwrights Festival
in Los Angeles. He was in a one-act show with Mae
Whitman, a ridiculously talented young actress. It
was amazing... I haven’t seen Jason Ritter in
a while but he’s my brother for life and he
knows it, so I’m not too worried. I see Joe
Mantegna and Mary Steenburgen on occasion. Again,
these are all lifetime friendships so I’m sure
all of our paths will cross many times. Amber Tamblyn
and I have been keeping in touch via text message.
We were both strongly supporting different political
candidates during the primary season and had some
fun loving things to say to each other. Don’t
worry, it was just typical, back and forth, brother-sister
banter, nothing spiteful I promise. I haven’t
seen Becky Wahlstrom, Mageina Tovah, or Sprague Grayden
in a long time. I would love to eat, drink, and be
merry with all of those people.
Nuytens: That show
never really had a real ending, were there ever any
talks about doing a final come back in the form of
a TV movie or mini series, just to close the story?
What are your feelings about it?
Michael Welch: I know right? There
was no conclusion at all! They made this big hoopla
over Wentworth Miller’s new character and then
dropped it like a hot, moldy potato. It was going
to be the pivotal battle of good vs. evil, right there
in Arcadia, Maryland (not a real place). It was a
very exciting cliffhanger with no payoff. As a fan
AND participant of the show, I was incredibly disappointed.
But check this out… Wentworth shot a pilot in
Chicago right before working on the last two episodes
of “Joan.” No one knew if that pilot was
going to be picked up by the Fox network at that time.
The “Joan” producers decided to roll the
dice and hire Wentworth, assuming that his pilot wasn’t
going to be picked up because most of them aren’t.
That show was “Prison Break” which is
about to go into it’s forth season. If “Joan”
HAD been picked up, I have no idea what we would have
done. The writers would have had to come up with something
crafty to explain the absence of our new character
when the third season rolled around. That, or Wentworth
would have had to fly back and forth from LA to Chicago
every two-three days.
We haven’t talked about a reunion show, but
if Barbara Hall wants to revisit these characters
and write something for us, I’m sure the cast
will be more than happy to reassemble. But SHE has
to be the one to do it. Otherwise, it won’t
Gilles Nuytens: So,
tell us a little bit about your experience in "Day
of the Dead".
Michael Welch: Zombies are fun to
work with. It’s easy to react off of them. If
mindless, undead, superhuman cannibals came after
you and your family, you’d flip out too! I know
you would! It was a lot of fun to buy into that reality.
Gilles Nuytens: "Lost
Dream" & "The Thacker Case", you
seem to have the lead role for these 2 upcoming movies,
can you speak about these roles, your experience,
the challenges, etc?
Michael Welch: These were fun and
challenging roles. Both of these characters were lost,
searching to find themselves and their place in the
world. One came from a humble background in America’s
heartland, the other from a prestigious, political,
east coast family. “Lost Dream” was my
first lead role. It was a fictional story about two
very different boys who find common ground in cynicism
and hopelessness. They experiment and take a journey
together to find the American dream, the strength
to deal with their lives, grow into men, and create
their own versions of happiness. “The Thacker
Case” is based on a tragic, true story of a
young man named Kevin Thacker who was killed in Iowa
in the 1980s. His parents received financial compensation,
but the perpetrators were never prosecuted because
of bureaucracy in the justice system. “The Thacker
Case” is a film about finding justice. “Lost
Dream” is about finding hope. Good movies.
Nuytens: In which
show would you really like to get a part (and why)?
Michael Welch: I would love to be
in “Dexter.” I don’t how I would
fit into the show. I just want to work with Michael
C. Hall. He is SCARY good in that role, and he was
just as amazing in “Six Feet Under.” I’d
like to buy Michael C. Hall a cherry soda and pick
Gilles Nuytens: How
far would you go to get a role you would miss for
nothing, what would be the craziest thing you would
do to get that role?
Michael Welch: Well, I’ve already
worn a dress for a part in my friend’s movie.
Pride, dignity, and self-respect were never really
that important to me? I just don’t give a diddly.
Maybe that’s why the cewl kids never let me
hang out in their parking lot circles and smoke cigarettes
(I don’t smoke cigarettes anyway :P). I don’t
think I would want to physically harm someone against
their’ will. Other than that, I’m not
sure what my limits are. I know I have them because
the whole point of John Waters’ “Pink
Flamingos,” is that everybody has limits (Warning:
if you are under 18, do not rent John Waters’
“Pink Flamingos”). There isn’t much
I won’t do for a project/role I believe in.
And for certain directors, forget it. I’ll do
ANYTHING. If Paul Thomas Anderson wants me naked in
Antarctica, I’m there.
Gilles Nuytens: These
past seasons were very busy for you, in a personal
way, how did you manage that with a young man life
(I mean meeting friends, getting out, this kind of
Michael Welch: I have a very simple
life. I pay the bills, I have a beautiful girlfriend
and a stinky dog, great friends, and a supportive
family. I like to work, watch movies, eat, hang out,
GO out, stay in and get Chinese food, dance and boogie,
rock and roll, play drums, go places, do stuff, and
chill. I think I’m managing everything ok. I
have terrible organizational skills. My life is filled
with clutter. Andy Rooney would call me a B-type personality.
Gilles Nuytens: What
does SCI-FI represent to you, what are your favorite
SCI-FI movies, series or Books and what do you like
the most about them?
Michael Welch: Sci-fi represents
unlimited possibilities. It’s about taking what
we understand about life now, and applying certain
logical assumptions to take us into the possibility
of what life COULD be. It requires the same commitment
to consistency and realism while working within the
realm of what we know, and what we don’t know.
It acknowledges the fact that until we get certain
answers, it’s fun to speculate and create our
own possibilities about reality, the future, the universe,
and anything else we know very little about. It’s
where fantasy and reality meet to stimulate our imaginations,
entertain us, and maybe even give us some constructive
wisdom to apply in our lives today. Star Wars, Stargate,
Star Trek, Battlestar Galactica, Firefly, X-Files,
Futurama, Buffy, Twin Peaks, Dr. Who, Twilight Zone,
Babylon 5, 2001 A Space Odyssey, Twelve Monkeys, Terminator,
Dark City, Matrix, Alien, Donnie Darko, Galaxy Quest,
and Close Encounters all meet this criteria very well.
Nuytens: You played
in numbers of big TV shows such CSI, Numb3rs, NCIS,
Cold Case, X-Files and many more, have these shows
had as much impact on you and your career than Stargate
Michael Welch: Absolutely not. No
other guest-starring role comes close to the impact
that Stargate has had on my life.
Gilles Nuytens: A
funny one: I've read that you don't like Brussels
sprouts ... I live in Brussels (LOL) ... but I don't
like that anyway (joke ... well you should try Brussels
sprout soup, it's really better ... I was surprised
to like it last week lol). This said and more seriously,
did you have any crazy experience with a fan?
Michael Welch: Hahaha. Well, I’ll
take your word for it and try me some Brussels sprouts
soup. I’ll be honest.. it sounds just awful.
But I’ll give it a shot the next time I’m
in a vegan restaurant and don’t feel like eating
a tofu steak.
I haven’t really had any fan encounters that
were too crazy. Contrary to popular belief, most sci-fi
fans have a pretty decent grip on reality. I think
most people understand that I’m not really the
botched clone of Captain O’Neill.
I’ve had people run different Alien theories
by me, but I have no evidence to disprove them. I
had one gentleman inform me that Stargate SG1 was
based on classified government documents, and is rooted
in absolute truths. He then handed me a translation
page of what he claimed to be an actual alien race
that’s been featured on Stargate. I forget which
one, maybe the Goa’uld… It certainly sounds
illogical. I don’t think the government would
allow something like that to get on the air, but what
do I know? Nothing! That guy could be the smartest
person in the world.
Gilles Nuytens: A
last and philosophical one: how would you describe
Michael Welch: Wow, that’s
a dusey of a question but very interesting of you
to ask. I have no philosophical credentials. This
is just my opinion. No one has to agree with it…
I have always had a generally optimistic view of people.
I think when we act out of love, logic, and clarity
we are a remarkable species. But when we act from
fear, emotion, or ignorance we can make some pretty
terrible decisions. One thing I’ve observed
as a young adult is that if you live in a free society,
apathy doesn’t cut it anymore. Maybe it never
did. If I were to describe the state of humanity to
an English-speaking alien, not everything would be
positive. But I am certain that if we are made AWARE
of what we face, there is nothing we can’t do,
and no limit to what we can accomplish. It’s
gonna take a lot of love and logic to fight back against
the diseases of greed and narcissism that are inherent
in the human condition. But I think we have a pretty
good shot because I have faith in the greater good…
But what do I know? I’m just some dude that
was in a Cap’n Crunch commercial. Have a great
Gilles Nuytens: Thank
you very much for the time you took to answer these
about this interview on the forum