Exclusive Interview with Roswell, New Mexico’s Michael Vlamis

The penultimate episode of Roswell, New Mexico was packed full of emotional moments for the core characters, especially for Michael Guerin, played by Michael Vlamis. In the episode, Michael is reunited with his alien birth mom and for the first time seems truly happy. But he experiences some traumatic moments as well. He forges a psychic connection with her and viewers get a momentary yet still heartbreaking glimpse of what their life could have been. However, the lowest point comes when he has to make the choice to leave her before she’s vaporized into dust.

With the season one finale airing next week, I caught up with Vlamis and we talked about how what Michael saw at Caulfield prison is going to affect him moving forward, why he believes Alex saved Michael’s life by calling him his family, whether or not he personally believes in aliens and so much more. Keep reading to see what he had to say!

I can’t not start with Tuesday’s episode. I mean I don’t know if you are able to answer this, but Max [Nathan Dean Parsons] wouldn’t really shoot Michael, would he?

Oh man. You know what? I think that’s up for you guys to decide. But, I will say that I might be his brother and everything like that, but you do some crazy stuff for love. You saw [Max] in that scene telling Jeanine [who plays Liz] that he’s kind of protecting that serum and he’s kind of holding on to that choice of if Noah lives or if Noah dies. So he’s not going to let me do something stupid, and he’s not going to let me go down easy. So be prepared for a fight.

The other big thing that happened with Michael this week is that he was briefly reunited with his biological alien mom. That whole scene is heartbreaking and emotional and in a lot of ways traumatic for Michael too. And we kind of saw a tiny glimpse of it in the scene with Max, but going into the finale next week, how is what Michael saw at the prison going to affect him moving forward? 

Oh man. I mean first and foremost, it gives him an answer to something that he has been asking his whole life, but not outright, [which is]: was he ever loved? I know that he knows that Alex loves him, but he’s just had this longing for home and family and where he’s come from his whole life and to actually have gotten to see his mother and that she loved him, I think will change him for the future. I think for right now [though], it’s made him crazy. I was an absolute lunatic when we were shooting those scenes and the scenes to come; I’m pretty out of it mentally. But he got answers [and now knows] at one point he was loved, just like Max and Isobel were with their family. So I think that gives him a little bit of hope deep down, but that hope just got blown up in front of him. So before he kind of gets his bearings, I think he’s going to do something; he’s just going to be a little all over the place.

So we actually got some Twitter questions for you. Somebody (@ms_lemire) wants to know: did meeting his mother give Michael any kind of closure so that he’ll stay on earth or do you think that made him want to leave even more? 

Oh man, that is definitely up for speculation. That’s something that, you know, when I was going from scene to scene, I didn’t fully think about because in that moment when something traumatic happens, your thoughts aren’t even laid out clear enough for you to make such a grand decision like that. It’s all about right here and right now. He’s looking for answers. So I think the answers that he’s hoping to get from Noah will inform that decision. Things need to die down and he needs to get answers or maybe he doesn’t get answers — you’ll find out what happens — but whatever the next information that comes I think will inform his decision. So that question that they are asking will probably be better for me to answer in season two.

Gotcha. So I want to go back to the beginning of the whole thing real quick. What was your audition process like for this show? 

Oh man. I couldn’t even get an audition. 

Really?

Yeah, they wouldn’t see me. They said that I was a more of a comedic actor, so they didn’t think I was right for the show. So I found out about it through my acting teacher, Sandy Marshall, who has since retired, but she is an absolute beast and really helped shape me and my acting style. She told me that she was coaching actors who had been going out for the show and that she thinks I should get an audition because she thinks I would fit well in the world. So I hit up my manager and we could not get my audition. They did not want to see me. A few days went by and finally it was the day before Carina MacKenzie’s last day of auditioning actors, before they were offering actors test deals going into the weekend where you go in for a test deal and you literally audition in front of 30 executives at Warner Bros. It is ridiculous, that anybody would be put through that is absurd. But that’s what they decide to do. So I actually just filmed the audition tapes in my bedroom with my roommate. I sent it in and I got a call a few hours later from my manager saying, “They want to see you in the morning. Go home, get some rest.” I did not go home. I did get any rest. I went into that audition the next morning looking very haggard and I think it worked really well for my character. I was in a pretty dark place mentally at the time. Cosmo did an article recently talking about my breakup at that time, but it really did shake me to my core. So although I was working really hard and I prepared for that audition, I didn’t care about anything at that time in my life because I was depressed.

That made me so free in that audition. I went in there and I did anything that I felt compelled to do. And at one point I remember I whipped the water bottle off the wall and I think a lot of the executives thought I was absolutely out of my mind, but um, but Peter Roth, head of Warner Brothers Television, he saw something in me and he gave me an opportunity. That’s kinda how that went. It was a crazy process. They made me wait a week before I found out if I booked the role. After my final audition, a week went by and finally I got a call saying I got it. 

Wow. That’s a crazy process. 

It was nuts. A lot of people don’t know this, but I think a big reason I booked the show too is because after my audition, when I was leaving and all the other actors who were testing — there was probably like four actors or so at Warner Brothers that day — had left, I was lingering around a little bit, signing out on the sign out sheets and get my parking validated. And as I was leaving, timing just worked out perfectly [because] Peter Roth and Carina MacKenzie, our show runner, were catching the elevator together. And I saw them and I went up to them and I said, “Hey guys, I hope it’s not awkward if I share the elevator with you.” They kind of laughed and I had that extra moment post-audition in the elevator with the two people that were going to be making those decisions and I think that extra moment of bonding in that elevator really kind of sealed my fate.

That’s awesome. Were you familiar with the original series at all, or at least aware of how important it was to fans? 

You know, I was aware of the original series. I especially knew about it because I went to Chapman University and Tom Hanks’ son, Colin Hanks, went there for a bit and he was in Roswell, so I would always look up to people that kind of went down a similar path that I went down. But I hadn’t really watched it. I had no idea how important it was to the fans. I knew that it was on for a few seasons, but [it’s] pretty amazing how important it was. I mean, if a show’s only on for three seasons and has the cult-following like it does, you know that it was something special. 

Right. So even though the two shows are completely different, was it nerve-wracking to be a part of a project that fans obviously had such high expectations for from the moment it first started?

Not for me. I have learned that you work yourself up over something for no reason most of the time. And all I can control is what I can control; I can’t control someone’s reaction. So I really didn’t think once about how anyone was going to see me or perceive me or think that I did a good job. I mean, I remember one night late at night when the trailer came out a Comic Con – before the pilot ever aired – I went on and I looked at all the YouTube comments and people were trashing my character. They were like, “This guy’s got no charisma. He’s not like the original Michael Guerin whatsoever.” And you know what? I’m not going to lie – I loved it. I loved it so much because it’s more fun to be successful when you’re the underdog. I don’t want to be the guy that everyone thinks is going to do great. I want to surprise people. I want to shock people. I want to surprise myself. So that kind of added pressure, I love pressure, I live for pressure, that kind of put me in a whole mindset that was like, “I just gotta do the best work you can and see what happens.”

So we can’t not talk about Malex. Most of the questions that I got for you were about Malex. In regards to this past week’s episode, somebody asked (@nopeimamermaid): do you think Michael believed Alex when he told Michael that he was his family? 

I mean, yeah. Yeah, definitely. I think that, but I think I’ve always known that, you know? I think even through any resentment that’s built up or animosity or just anger in general, you don’t get mad at people that you don’t care about. You get mad at the people closest to you because that’s who you can be the most vulnerable with. Right there, him telling me that we’re family, that’s such a huge moment. When he said that, it’s like, “I already know that, but I don’t need to hear this right now. We’re about to die. It’s the last thing I want to hear and I don’t want you to die.” I think Michael, in that moment, was almost ready to go with those other aliens. I think nothing mattered at all to him and he was ready to just be with his family and be gone. But I think Alex did save his life right there. It would be very interesting to see what my character would have done if Alex never came down because he probably would have just been hitting that window until he finally got through or the building blew up. So that loved saved his life and that same love kind of has also ruined his life in a way. It’s a really touchy thing, but I definitely think I believe that.

Kind of going off of that, just in general, were you expecting fans to be as enthusiastic about Malex as they have been?

Honestly, no. People were ripping the fact that I was bisexual when the first trailer came out and when people started getting wind about about the romance. They were like, “This isn’t how the original was. We want Michael and Maria.” So I was like, “Oh man. People hate this.” And then as soon as the show came out, it completely reversed and now people are hating the fact that I have strong feelings for Maria [Heather Hemmens]. So it’s really funny and it really makes me feel good about the work that Tyler [Blackburn] and I put in and the commitment that we have towards one another. I never looked at it as bisexual, straight, whatever. I just looked at it as a love story and I’m going to treat this person as if I am deeply, madly in love with them.

Yeah. Kind of going off that since you mentioned Maria, do you personally have any feelings about who Michael belongs with? Do you think he belongs with Maria? Do you think he belongs with Alex? Or is it just kind of like a right person, right time thing? 

I think it’s right person, right time. I heard someone say once that “people come into your life when you need them and they stay for as long as you need.” There’s a really sad truth to that, especially with how high the divorce rate is nowadays. You know, I had three buddies call off weddings in the last month after being with someone for like six years. That’s just life and that’s what happens when people grow apart. I don’t know who Michael Guerin really needs to be with more, but I think he needs a breath of fresh air. I think that’s a big reason he’s probably leaning towards Maria. And it’s not that out of the blue, right? He’s been with women his whole life. Iit makes a lot of sense for him and they’ve always had this weird, funny, playful chemistry. So it makes a lot of sense and sometimes it takes that first kiss or someone to show interest in the other person for you to wake up inside and realize like, “Oh, I like this person.” And I think that’s what’s happened between them. So even though they haven’t been romantically involved for that long, I think it started off very passionately and I think it is something that Michael Guerin needs right now.

Let’s wrap this up with a few fun questions. Music is obviously a big part of the show and especially music from the late 90s and early 2000s. So hat’s your favorite song from that era or favorite band/music group?

That’s a tough question. I really have so many. I will tell you my favorite song that has been in the show so far is “First Day of My Life” by Bright Eyes. I’m a big Bright Eyes fan and the fact that that played over me and Alex’s first kiss was absolutely amazing.

But I mean, in the 90s, the band that I fell in love with the most and I still have just such strong feelings toward is Blink 182, and unfortunately, there’s not any Blink 182 in the show. But as a kid, you can feel like an outsider at times, [and] that reckless, literally they had a song called “Reckless Abandon”, and that was the way that Blink 182 performed and the way that they played their songs and what they wrote about. And as a kid who is trying to do things the right way or make everything perfect, it’s so nice to have an outlet of a band that’s just throwing caution to the wind and just living their life and singing curse words. I went to a Blink 182 concert and they replaced some of their lyrics with just a bunch of curse words and it’s just so freeing. Is it the best music ever? I don’t know. But it really resonated with me. So that was the band in the 90s that really kind of sat the most with me I think.

That’s awesome. Do you personally believe in aliens? I’m curious. 

It’s something that I’ve never spent a ton of time researching, until I booked the show. Once I booked the show, I read way more about the whole Roswell conspiracy, which is so interesting and I’ve learned a lot more about aliens. But it was something that even though I didn’t research, I’ve always believed that there’s more out there. First of all, it is more fun to believe that possibility. I’m very imaginative, like I want to believe. Also it’s like, of all the planets and how big our galaxy is, our solar system is, you’re going to tell me that we’re the only living organisms that just popped up one day. I don’t know. That’s hard to believe for me. 

Yeah, for sure. I completely agree. So last question — our website is called Talk Nerdy With Us because we all have some kind of inner-nerd. So what is something that you are currently nerding out about? 

Oh man. Oh God, what do I nerd out about? It’s such a weird thing to be in this industry because when people ask what you nerd out about or what your hobbies are, I really don’t have any hobbies because my career is my hobby. This is what I did as a kid. Like sitting in your basement with your buddies in sixth grade and writing stories — I literally did a spoof on Lord of the Rings called Lord of the Boot and it was this dumb comedy I made on my little camera — that is pretty dang nerdy, you know? That is still what I fully do. So in the off time right now, I just finished another movie that I wrote, I wrote a TV show, I just started another movie I’m working on, and all of my writing projects are getting some really good traction right now. So I’m constantly nerding out over just storytelling and writing. I am obsessed with storytelling and I don’t feel complete without it. So that’s probably what I’m nerding out over the most right now is my writing. I’m really enjoying it. 

So you’re definitely trying to do some more stuff outside of acting, like in the writing realm and maybe even directing one day?

Yeah, definitely. I mean I’ve directed in the past. I made a short film through Snapchat that won the Tribeca Film Festival in 2016. So I’ve kind of done that. I produced my first feature film last year that hopefully will come out by the end of this year. So I’ve always had more than just acting to my name, kind of filmmaker title that I like to call it. So writing right now is something that I’m really proud about and that I’m really passionate about. I just want to get to a point where I have my own company, like Seth Rogen with his company, Point Grey, and I could just employ all my friends and make the projects that I want to make. That is my overarching goal in this industry.

The season one finale of Roswell, New Mexico airs Tuesday at 9/8c. Make sure you follow Vlamis on Twitter and Instagram.

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