Michael Maize has been around the media block for over 20 years. If you were a kid in the 90s, then you might have seen him in Power Rangers in Space. In the past couple of years, he has been seen in popular television shows such as Mr. Robot, Gotham, and most recently Happy. I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Michael about his upcoming projects. Keep reading to see what he had to say!
You have played a variety of roles. How do you decide which ones are for you?
I love the human condition. I have empathy for all walks of life and love getting into the minds of a wide variety of characters. The script is the biggest deciding factor for me. If it is great writing and the character is written within a compelling world, then the role is for me – regardless of the “type” of that role.
You’re currently starring in Happy, which is one of my new favorite shows. How does it differ from other roles?
Happy was one of my favorite projects to be involved in over the past years. The script and the character were fascinating to me. And what made this project different is that it truly went outside of the box in terms of style. So, I did not feel restrained in any way when it came to making choices as the character. It is truly a wacky, deranged world that Nick Sax is within, and I felt very free when entering the scene. I still always come down to the truth of the scene though. So, for this role it was about the truth of being screwed over by Nick in the past. I had been searching for him for many years with fury, and then he just shows up at my door step. So, I wanted him to suffer for his actions. Then, I let the edges of that anger run wild within the broad range of the show’s tone. My character organically grows from these actions.
In all honesty, Le Dic on Happy!
What is it like playing a character on a comic book tv show (Gotham)?
I played Grady in Gotham as well as Dink in Iron Fist. These are both shows based on a comic strip. Happy is based on a graphic novel. All three shows have a common thread for me which is freedom. Because there is a heightened sense of reality, I love the freedom of playing with the domain of the characters. They make decisions that humans don’t normally make in the real world. I find this fascinating and challenging all at once. When I first walked on to the set of Gotham, I was thrown back by the greatness of the design and style. The fine attention to detail, the intense colors, the broad spectrum of life… I immediately felt the urge to jump into this world of artificial realism.
Could you tell us more about Stano and how your character fits into the story?
The film is about a guy named Sonny, played by Joe Manganiello. He had his whole life in front of him, set to be a future Yankees player at the age of 18, as well as having the girlfriend of his dreams, played by Sofia Vergara. He got in a bar fight and accidentally killed a guy which sent him to jail for 17 years. Once out, he is set to make his life better and starts coaching for the minors. I play Tommy, the brother of the victim, who is hell bent on getting in the way of any success happening for Sonny.
A lot of the charities you support involve animals. What led you to devote your time to them?
I have a deep fondness and respect for animals and animal rights. I have had pets all of my life and have strong connection to them. I volunteer regularly for Boxer Rescue Los Angeles. They are a very kind and hard-working no-kill shelter that actively finds homes for boxers in need. I also volunteer with BARC Shelter in Brooklyn. I walk the dogs there and post them to social media. Last year, I transported a dog from NY to LA on JetBlue to my friend who happily adopted him. I was very happy to give this dog a new life!
I also recently became a supporter of Austin Pets Alive. A large amount of animals and pets are victims of natural disasters. The majority of the aid goes towards the human population and rebuilding the locations themselves, so it is important to remember the animals that are left behind and now need help and/or homes. Austin Pets Alive housed many, many pets after the last hurricane. They provided food and shelter for the abandoned pets until their owners were back in their homes again. They also helped relocate the pets with owners who had to give up their animals after the storm.
If you weren’t an actor, what profession would you be in?
I went to school to be a doctor. If acting wouldn’t have so strongly pulled me in the direction that it did, I most likely would be a pediatrician in Chicago right now….
All of us at Talk Nerdy With Us are nerds in some way so we love to ask: what are you nerdy about?
I love to bake. I love the math and science of it. My analytical mind thrives on a + b = c. I find it fascinating that you can take a complex recipe, meticulously add the ingredients together, and it makes a chemical creation within the oven.
Michael can be seen next in Stano, which comes out later this year. You can also follow him on Twitter for more updates!
Photo credit: Michael Becker