Michael Maize – Gotham
By: MaryBeth McMahon
Q) What drew you to “Gotham” and the character of Grady?
A) “Gotham” feels very outside-the-box and fantastical as a television show. The colors, characters and concept of the show are always pushing boundaries on “Gotham.” As an actor, I love to teeter on the edge of reality; while still staying realistic and true to the circumstances. “Gotham” is a show that allows the opportunity for both of these to happen. As I walked through the sets, I loved how dynamic and vibrant they were and I brought this into my role.
Q) What can you tell us about your role as“Gotham’s” newest villain?
A) Jonathan Crane/The Scarecrow (Charlie Tahan) is the newest villain for this upcoming season. Grady is part of Merton’s gang, with Grady being Merton’s (Michael Buscemi) right hand man. Grady has a past connection to Jonathan Crane a/k/a the Scarecrow.
Q) How does the presence of your villain this season play off of Bruce’s maturing Batman, vigilante persona? Do you have any run-ins with Bruce, or better yet, Jim Gordon?
A) Grady and the rest of Merton’s gang have very close run-ins with Penguin (Robin Lord Taylor) and his gang. Bruce’s (David Mazouz) vigilante persona is continually fueled by Oswald Cobblepot and his antics on the show. Grady indeed has a run-in with Jim Gordon (Ben McKenzie). One that will definitely stick with you…
Q) In the third season of “Gotham” we saw many villains making alliances with each other. Does your character fall into one of those alliances or is your character a villain that acts as a lone wolf?
A) Grady and Merton’s gang are trying to act as a lone pack of wolves, but that indeed gets more complex as another villain or two become involved.
Q) “Gotham” is very successful at making both its heroes and villains equally likeable. What do you envision viewers taking away from your character that will instantly have them rooting for the bad guys?
A) Grady is very passionate and does not take no for an answer. He pushes the boundaries to get what he needs.
Q) Where do you connect with your character on “Gotham?”
A) Grady is definitely a very nervy guy. But he overcomes his fears and uses these to fuel him into intense action. I am very similar to that as a person.
Q) On top of your upcoming role in the fourth season of Gotham, you are also slated to star in SyFy’s new series“Happy.”What details can you provide regarding the plot of this show and your character?
A) I play the role of Le Dic. In the graphic novel, Happy, you see that Nick Sax comes to the crazily wicked Le Dic to try and win some much-needed money at his poker table. Sax gets help from his new friend Happy (an animated blue unicorn) in trying to win against Le Dic and his table of degenerate henchmen. The TV show sticks closely to the graphic novel in terms of plot and style; but the specifics of how close are hush hush right now. So, you will find out just how close when you tune in this fall! My character comes back later in the season, but even I do not know how my role unfolds.
Q) You play the role of Tommy in an upcoming film called Stano. What can you reveal about the film’s premise and your character?
A) 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 eighteen, 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 seventeen 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.
Q) You recently had a recurring role on “Mr. Robot” as Lone Star. What have you taken away from your experience on this series?
A) I truly learned that “less is often more” in working on “Mr. Robot.” The style of the show is extremely understated and grounded. In terms of my acting, I completely internalized the character and then just let is breathe from the inside. I loved “Mr. Robot” as a series from the first time I saw its pilot (one of the best pilots of TV history in my opinion). It was fantastic to dive into the deep, dark tone of the show and let the writing do most of the talking.
Q) What are some recent projects that you are working on, in addition?
A) “Gotham” premieres September 21. “Happy” premieres on November 29. Stano will come out sometime next year. Other than that, I plan on being in NY for the fall auditioning and preparing for pilot season in January. I recently signed with MGMT Entertainment as new management. I am very excited about the new shift and look forward to the next year ahead with them.
Q) You have a history of playing action-packed roles in film and television. What draws you to these types of roles?
A) I am a very dynamic person, fueled by my emotions. I love to push boundaries and reinvent myself. Action packed roles provide avenues that are often extensions of my own paths that I am concentrating on. Or, in many cases, my own passion can become very vibrant within the skeleton of an action-packed role, even if the given circumstances are different. I think it is more fun and challenging to play characters that are far from my own self. That is to find the truth within a character and the way they tick as a person in their reality.
Q) Your experience in the industry is very extensive, going back over two decades and consisting of roles in very popular shows and films. What inspired you to pursue acting?
A) I remember watching my older brother perform in a couple plays while growing up. It hit a chord inside of me and I was always drawn to it. In college, I was on the fence between being a doctor and an actor, while I took courses in both! My passion and increased concentration on my talent finally won in the end, and there was no turning back…
Q) You also have a background in producing short films. Have you always envisioned becoming a producer, or is that a passion that came about as you embarked on a career in acting?
A) I never saw myself as a producer. It is something that organically developed with time. About five years ago I was frustrated with the roles I was being offered in film so I decided to take matters in my own hands. I collaborated with writers to create two different films/characters that I loved. And, then in turn, I produced and starred in the films. It was a truly great learning experience that I will never forget. I think that every actor should experience working behind the scenes. The ability to have empathy for everyone on the set truly helps your role as an actor. After all, it is a team sport!
Q) Outside of acting, you are extremely busy and dedicated to supporting a variety of charities. What are some of the charities you support? What inspires you to get involved in these charities, and in turn, have such a positive impact on a number of communities?
A) I feel it is very important to give back to society in every way we can. I am a big supporter of LGBTQ rights. In today’s current political atmosphere, hatred and homophobia have been given a new voice. After accomplishing major goals in the recent past, the LGBTQ community has been struck down again in many ways. The flames have been billowed and the bigotry is very strong. I believe that love will conquer all, but we must fight for the love to survive by proclaiming our truths. The Trevor Project is a fantastic organization focused on suicide prevention of LGBTQ youth. And Broadway Cares is the NY theater community’s response to the AIDS crisis, raising millions of dollars yearly. I have a deep fondness and respect for animals and animal rights. I volunteer regularly for Boxer Rescue Los Angeles (boxer-rescue-la.com) and BARC Shelter in Brooklyn (http://www.barcshelter.org). 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 I think it is important to remember the animals that are left behind and now need help and/or homes.
Q) While you portray countless action-packed roles on screen, what do you prefer to do in your downtime?
A) I like staying active. I workout at the gym, do yoga at home through yogaglo.comand get out for a hike whenever I can. I currently meditate with the app HEADSPACE as well. I love to travel with Japan, Iceland and British Colombia being my favorite locales. My partner and I have a beautiful A-frame cabin up in Crestline, CA. It’s really great to go up there and chill. It’s only 90 minutes from LA, yet it feels like you are in a complete different world.
Q) Is there anything else you would like to say to your fans?
A) I plan to continue to push the boundaries with my acting career. Stay tuned and thanks for coming along for the ride!! It is a crazy world out there right now. Stay true to your heart and your passions!
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