Michael Willett – Faking It
By: Lisa Steinberg
Q) I saw the teaser video on your Twitter for “Regeneration: Phase One” and it looks incredible.
A) It’s part of an art piece instead of a straight up music album.
Q) There are some fascinating layers to it. Tell us about the concept for the “Regeneration” video.
A) I have had this idea for an album that evolved for a while. It starts in one place musically and then ends in another place. That’s kind of because I get bored with everything and as soon as I do one thing I need to do something else. So, all of the songs sound different and they all are sort of like a little short story in and of itself. The first one is about being young and primal and sort of unevolved. You sort of try things out and are bashing around seeing what comes of things. It isn’t until you see the effects in your actions later that you start to problem solve.
Q) How many chapters will we be getting from you?
A) There are going to be three “phases.” I’m calling them phases so there will be Phase One, Phase Two and Phase Three. Each one has a completely different look and feel and sound. So, I’m excited to create a bunch of different products as well as art pieces that are inspired by the medium and phases. They will all be available on my website. I’m going to release them slowly so this month we will just be releasing Phase 1. At some point, I will also be releasing music videos along with certain songs.
Q) How did the production side of these phases piece together?
A) It’s mostly my idea and my inspiration. I’m a big fan of classic rock. So, there is a lot of that driving the sound, but I really tried to update it by making it a little bit more pop-y. I believe that music is universal so I wanted it to be relatively accessible to a lot of different age groups. I feel like young and old can appreciate this. I want to bring people together through music. In terms of production, I worked with my producer Jef Joslin and he really helped me to take what it is in my head and flesh it out. He plays like every experience so it made it easier. I only play the piano and a little guitar. So, these were all things I had started in my journal or a voice message on my phone that I constructed into a narrative. This is the first interview I have done that I have gone in depth about my music, so thank you.
Q) You’re not just an actor, but a lot of people aren’t familiar with the musical side of you. So, we wanted to be sure fans got to know all sides of you.
A) I look at all types of art as a form of expression. When I have an idea, I go, “Is this a song? A painting? A movie?” I just want to keep doing that. I want to encourage people to use this as a way to be inspired. This is only the beginning and I think that it applies to so many aspects of life. I have worked with people in the past and wasn’t satisfied with it. I wanted to do something bigger and better and that is what “Regeneration” is.
Q) Will you be doing anything else creatively like writing a book or releasing a book of paintings?
A) Anything is possible. I definitely will be releasing some things on the website for sale that is in line with the music. It will get you inside the whole world of Regeneration like maybe some clothes and all kinds of stuff. There will be canvases and art work – all kinds of stuff!
Q) There have been so many great layers to your “Faking It” character Shane. Now, we find a whole new side to him. Which has been your favorite version of Shane to play?
A) That’s a good question. Like I said, I get bored really easily so I like being able to play a person that is able to change and grow. If you stay the same all the time, I think I would be bored. I really liked when Shane reveals that he is a really good guy. He may say he isn’t a good guy, but he actually is. And I think those moments are revealed when he is having one-on-ones with Amy, Lauren, Liam or any of them. This season I have been really happy to play a lot of these really comedic moments that I have been so blessed with because the writers gave me the opportunity to play with them and make a fool of myself. That’s, honestly, where I’m having the most fun.
Q) In the trailer, we see Principal Penelope saying that Hester is back. Is Mr. Turner gone for good or not for long?
A) Well, as far as I’m aware, he’s gone and good riddance. Mr. Turner – I didn’t like that guy. It’s definitely a new Hester. The old Hester could no longer be and I think that’s what Season 3 is about. It’s about what do we do now? We can’t be what we were before so what kind of system can we function in? I think that’s kind of poetic as far as how the country is going these days.
Q) Shane and Karma have kind of been frenemies for a bit now. The trailer also shows they have a new friendship they have formed over the summer. Is this a temporary cease fire?
A) Stockholm Syndrome? [laughs] I don’t know. I think it started off as a way to protect Amy, sort of. First of all, Shane had no choice. Karma (Katie Stevens) just joined in the life saving thing over the summer, but they do become friends and I do think it is real. They leave Amy (Rita Volk) to do her own thing and explore her inner self over the summer. I think that’s what Karma needed to realize. It’s just for summer, not forever. You can still be friends! What happens is that Shane is in the middle of it now. He has to take a side now and he doesn’t want to.
Q) Things as they say are “Karmy-cated.”
A) [laughs] Very!
Q) Another great friendship is Liam and Shane. Where do they stand this season?
A) It’s hard for them to find their footing again after all of that has gone down. I don’t know if things will ever be the same unless either of them just outright says something. I don’t know if that happens this season. It’s more about them having these new experiences together. (That sounds sexual, but it’s not. [laughs]) They are not so close anymore, but they still have some fun adventures together.
Q) One of my favorite aspects to last season was meeting Shane’s family and discovering why he is the way he is. Talk a little about your exploration of that and what you enjoyed.
A) They are all very similar, his sister and his mom. It was fun to have this mirrored character with the mom and the sister. The expression is “the apple doesn’t fall from the tree” and that is definitely true in this case. You can see that his family is very sex-positive so it makes sense he would be aggressive in that venue. His mother sells dildos for goodness sake!
Q) Will we see any repercussions from Shane’s sister and what happened?
A) I don’t know. I guess that’s why it is hard for Shane and Liam (Gregg Sulkin) to be totally close, because of the friction he has over him having friction with his sister. That’s the problem…She doesn’t come back though. Sorry Lindsey!
Q) What will we see romantically for Shane this season?
A) He does have a new love this season. That doesn’t happen until a few episodes in (maybe fourth or fifth). He is sort of swearing off boys in the beginning of things (maybe I am making that up in my head), but he is not going to have a committed relationship yet. He feels like he ruined the last one epically so he questions his own integrity. So, he would rather have meaningless hookups I would think.
Q) He’s definitely not someone who handles feelings well.
A) He wants other people to do feelings. When it comes to him, he is like, “Shut up! I don’t want to talk about it!”
Q) Is there anything else you would like us to be sure we share with your fans?
A) March 15th for both! It’s a great day for “Faking It” and Regeneration: Phase One. Use the hashtag #FeelTheSpark because the more people use it we’ll do free giveaways every week for people who use it the most.