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DG Aug 06 - Dude! It's Michael Beardsley! PDF Print E-mail
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Aug 25, 2006 at 02:00 AM
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DG Aug 06 - Dude! It's Michael Beardsley!
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DG: Some readers might recognize you, but not be able to recall exactly which movie they saw you in. For me, it was DUDE WHERE'S MY CAR? You also are well-known for your role as "Humphries" on FREAKS AND GEEKS, and have appeared in small parts in a huge number of film and TV projects. What do people seem to most recognize you from?

MB: Alas, most don't recognize me at all anymore. But back in the day, it was Freaks and Geeks the I was most often recognized from.

DG: Your website is just fabulous - I particularly enjoy not only the fact that you try to have a still and description of every role you've played, but have all kinds of interesting stories about each project you've done. That's a lot of work - what has the reaction been?

MB: Well, everyone I've shown my website to has been impressed, but there haven't been too many people that I have never met in person that have given feedback on it. I don't have a counter on it, so I don't even know how many people are going there. But there have been a couple people from high school that have stumbled upon it; that was very cool. Check it out at www.MichaelBeardsley.com

DG: You've been on a number of big budget Hollywood production sets, as well as those of tiny indie projects. What's the best thing about each?

MB: Big budget movies have the money to take the time when it's needed, and they have all the best effects, sets and props. And they pay me.

The little ones usually are much faster moving, which means that there's not as much down time for me. And the people involved are usually very passionate about what they're doing. On some projects I've done, the cast has outnumbred the crew (and the crew often appear as small parts in the movies).

DG: Of course, what are the worst things about big sets or tiny sets?

MB: Some directors on big sets have no idea what they want, so they film way too much coverage of everything (and they can afford to). They do take after take for "safety," even after they have the one. Even under the best circumstances, things move very slow.

On small sets, sometimes you get people that have no idea what the Hell they're doing. And quite often the actors don't get paid (not that money is what it's all about, but I do have bills to pay).

DG: You played some comic relief in BLOODSTREAM but managed to avoid the blood and gore. Are you a fan of horror movies, or are they just one part of the movie spectrum for you?

MB: I played a bad singer in Bloodstream. I love doing horror movies, but as for seeing them, I guess they are just another part of the spectrum. I mean, you have to go to them knowing what to expect. Especially B-Horror movies, you can't go to them expecting Citizen Kane. And like all types of movies, there are good and bad ones.

DG: In CHAIN OF SOULS you ended up playing a killer - did you do a lot of research or preparation for the role, or just throw yourself into it?

MB: Are you trying to get me to incriminate myself for a murder? I thought about going and joining the Scientologists, but in the end I just threw myself into it. I have a dark side that I can tap into. Looking back, I think I could have done more with it. I didn't have to audition for that part, they remembered me from Bloodstream.

DG: You play a student newspaper staffer and get to run away from a giant spider in SPIDERS! You know, some people would kill to have a role where they are running away from giant spiders in a movie. How was the shoot? Did you have to run and run and run all day long?

MB: I had to run from the giant spider for three days! Strangely enough, I'm wearing completely different clothes at different times. It was so much fun on that set. I'd worked on the movie two days about a month earlier, so everyone already knew me.

DG: Did they have any practical spiders or spider parts on set, or was it all CGI added in post?

MB: They had an eight-foot tall hydraulic spider mounted on the back of a truck, but it was mostly used for close-ups and P.O.V. shots. Usually it was Computer generated and I was running from nothing. I also got to do some stunt falls (that didn't make it into the movie). I was very tired by the end.

DG: You played one of the bubble wrap cult members in DUDE, WHERE'S MY CAR? I heard those suits were hot! Any hilarious stories from the set?

MB: Yes, our "Intergalactic Jumpsuits" were so hot! When we filmed the exterior barn shots in Thousand Oaks, one of the bug cult guys almost passed out (it was like one-hundred degrees that day). The interior barn shots were done in downtown Los Angeles, and it was almost as hot... when we did out "Zoltan" salute, sweat would shout out of our sleeves in either direction. One take was actually ruined when Ashton Kutcher and Sean William Scott were showered with sweat when Hal Sparks (Zoltan) pointed at them. The outfits were actually nice for the night shoots at "Captain Stu's", when it was cooler.

DG: Dude - that's my car! I mean, do you still have your red Ford Probe? I had a red 1989 Ford Probe one until recently. Did you ever loose a hubcap? Mine were plastic and they were still $99 EACH! Needless to say, I didn't replace them.

MB: My red Probe is being fixed at the moment, had a little problem with the hood flying open on the 405 Freeway. Not the cars fault, somehow backed into me the day before and the latch was screwed up. Sadly, that is the second time that's happened. I believe the hubcaps are all in order.

DG: Wow! When playing extra parts or even small roles, you run the risk of being left on the cutting room floor, sometimes after long and grueling shoots. How do you deal with that?

MB: Well, you gotta just hope they don't. I happened to me in the Ben Stiller movie Dodeball. There was originally a series of short shots that was to open the movie, but they cut the entire sequence. It's not even on the DVD's deleted scenes! As far as extra work goes, when I used to do it, it was just such a battle to get a couple seconds of screen time every day... and I didn't always win that battle.

DG: AMONG THE DEAD is a short film you recently did, playing a character with an awesome name: Ulcer Macabre. How did you get this role and what is the film about?

MB: Actually I got this one very traditionally, I submitted online for it, auditioned, and was filming a couple days later! The director (Kevin X. Barth) said he knew I was the one he was going to cast right away. He's just recently told me that he's like to make a full length movie someday about Ulcer, in the style of Wild at Heart. He definitely has a vision.

The movie is about a guy that hangs out in graveyards, and writes morbid stories about those interred there. Then one day he's visited by two apparently dead individuals who cause him to re-examine his place in the world.

DG: I have to ask you about Micro Mini Kids, not just because it sounds like you do some fabulous geek dance in it, but because for years Eric Spudic has talked about it and the fact that it hasn't been available in the US. I don't know if you know Eric, but he plays Party Goer #4 (whereas you were Party Goer #6). Where was this movie shot? What can you tell us about it?

I do know Eric, we met on that movie, and I actually attend his 27th birthday party/movie screening in July. It is available in he United States finally... I know longer have to rely on the European VHS transfer that Eric managed to get me a couple years back. The movie is kinda silly, though tremendously fun to work on. I basically had to wear beachwear and dance badly for three days. I was also a Stand-In on the project. It was filmed at Solar Studios in Glendale.

DG: What can we look forward to in the near future from Michael Beardsley?

MB: Well, I've been auditioning a ton lately, but not for anything big. I'll be around, somewhere... I guess only time will tell. And it seems these things tend to come up quickly, and without warning. I just did a tiny part in a move called The Great Venice Robbery... but that is SO no big deal.

DG: Anything else you'd like to add?

MB: I haven't rambled enough? I guess I'll just thank you for the interview, and say thank you to all the Dark Gallery readers that made it to the end.
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