I recently got the opportunity to talk to Michael Showers about his role in Brad Pitt’s new film, ‘The Tree Of Life’. Here, Michael talks about how he got involved in the project and about how he got into acting in the first place…
Michael Showers (L) pictured with David Morse (R).
Hey Michael. Thanks for taking the time out to talk to me. ‘The Tree Of Life’ is in UK cinemas right now, and looks fantastic.
What’s the general premise around the film?
The main premise I took away from it is that who we eventually become is largely shaped by the relationships and the impressions that we formulate in our childhood. And how in later years, one can look back and see how those experiences have influenced the direction of our lives.
Tell us a bit about the character you play in the movie…
I play Mr. Brown, an abusive husband that berates his much younger wife in front of their children while young Jack watches from the outside window. The scenes were much larger in scope than what made it through the final edit. Unfortunately the scenes portraying the happy family exterior were excluded so it did not show the totality of the dysfunctional relationship that posed as a perfect family on the outside while getting a glimpse of how many families disguise what goes on behind closed doors.
How would you say this film is different to say other dramas released this year? It’s hard to say ‘It’s like x’, isn’t it?
It seems that Terrence Malick is trying to tell a story and elicit emotional involvement from the audience without a typical plot structure, relying upon his characters actions and cinematography rather than dialogue.
How did you get involved in the project in the first place?
It started when my agent Austin called me to tell me about the audition. After two separate lengthy auditions and an intense yet enjoyable sit down meeting with Terrence Malick spread out over nine months I learned I got the role.
The film stars Brad Pitt, Sean Penn and Jessica Chastain – what was it like working with them on-set?
I did not have any direct dialogue with them in the scenes we were in together. During the beach scene and around the set they were all great. I think everyone knew we were a part of something special.
Let’s talk a bit about you Michael. What made you want to get into acting in the first place?
I always felt in my childhood that it was something that I wanted to do. After 15 years in a more traditional career I realized I could not put off my dreams anymore so I summoned the courage to risk a semi comfortable life for the challenge of a nearly impossible dream. I have been fortunate and have worked with a lot of great actors over the years.
You’ve had a number of different roles on a number of TV series and films – who has been your favourite actor to work with so far and who has given the best advice to you?
I can’t say anything bad about any of the actors I have worked with, but as hard as it is for me to choose I’d have to say David Morse and William Sadler. Not only are they professional, courteous, generous and extremely supportive actors – they each taught me valuable lessons that I am sure will help guide me in my career.
You’re currently starring in ‘Treme’, which I’m hearing good things about from a local source and co-star, Jacqueline Fleming – what’s it like working on that show?
Working with some of the most creative people and one of the best networks has been an amazing opportunity. I have been fortunate that I have worked on five episodes, all opposite David Morse who is a tremendous actor whom I highly admire. Everyone involved with this show from top to bottom is committed, creative and passionate about the story of New Orleans.
What has been the most interesting piece of local / national news you’ve heard in the last month?
I do not want to go into too many details on the political and police stories here in New Orleans, but I would have to say I am drawn towards the stories involving the NOPD. Since I play the Homicide Captain in ‘Treme’, I find myself continually trying to understand what it must have been like for people during and after Katrina.
What does a Michael Showers day usually consist of?
Number one thing is Starbucks! I am addicted to the stuff. When I am not working, I spend a lot time with my dogs. I have a Weimariner and Boxer that are basically my shadows. I spend a lot of time reading the daily newspapers and researching upcoming film projects. I am a news junkie so if the TV is on, it’s usually on CNN.
What’s coming up for you in 2011? I hear you’re in post-production on a number of sweet looking projects…
I have several movies due out this year and in 2012. ‘Colombiana’, due out August 30th and ‘Blood Brothers’ are both movies that I am excited to see when they hit the theatre.
Thanks for the interview!