Exclusive Interview: Michael Vlamis on ‘Roswell, New Mexico’, Producing, His Bucket List and More!
Michael Vlamis is a man of many talents. Not only is he gracing our screens on The CW’s Roswell, New Mexico, but he’s a writer, director, and a producer. His most recent project that he produced, 5 Years Apart, just premiered at the LA Indie Film Festival last night.
Outside of that, he’s still just an incredibly humble, kind guy out of Chicago. We had the opportunity to have our second interview with Michael and dive deeper into his projects, if he’s crossed anything off his bucket list, and more. Read the interview below!
Nerds and Beyond: Let’s talk Roswell, New Mexico first. Congrats on an incredible first season. Now that you guys are filming Season 2, is there anything you’d like to see Michael accomplish this season?
Michael Vlamis: Thank you! I’d like to see him find love that actually lasts. I think he deserves it. I also want him to find out more about his family. Meeting and losing his mother in the same moment was tough on him. It’d be nice if he got some answers and put his mind to rest… if that’s even possible!
Nerds and Beyond: If you could give Season 1 Michael any advice, what would it be?
Vlamis: Wear your hat more. Everyone seems to love it.
Nerds and Beyond: One of the scenes we loved most was when Michael encountered his mother – the emotion was so raw. What was it like to film that and know what a huge moment it was for your character?
Vlamis: It was nuts! We were in an abandoned prison that was supposedly haunted. I didn’t see any ghosts, but it was very eerie in there. Before every take, I’d be pacing in front of the cells, telling myself my mom was going to die. It was a very difficult headspace to stay in, but Tyler Blackburn was so open, which allowed my emotions to flourish. After we filmed it, multiple crew members came up to me crying. That’s when I knew it was special. I’m very proud of that scene.
Nerds and Beyond: We see Michael start to really open up during the season, and see a character growth – from tough, and closed-up – to getting a look inside of him and seeing his vulnerabilities. What’s your favorite thing about playing Michael? Was this part of what drew you to him?
Vlamis: What drew me to him was that he felt broken and lost. I too was broken and lost when I first learned about the character. A breakup will do that to you. But my favorite thing about Michael has to be the fact that no matter how tough, mean, or sarcastic he is, he means well. I’m the same way. I’ve messed up a lot in my life, but my intentions were always pure, and that’s something that lets me sleep peacefully at night.
Nerds and Beyond: What do you do to kill time on set?
Vlamis: I talk to everyone. Every department has such interesting characters who have worked in our industry for many years, so getting stories about other actors I love and admire is always fun. I also listen to music, write poems, and work on the many scripts I’m currently writing.
Nerds and Beyond: You have two upcoming projects, Pools and 5 Years Apart – Can you talk a little more about them and how you got involved?
Vlamis: 5 Years Apart is the first feature film I produced and starred in. It means a lot to me because I made it with my friends. There are so many reasons this movie, like all movies, shouldn’t have been made: lack of money, resources, opportunities, etc. But we fought through all of that, and in the end, got it done. Every single one of my four roommates in LA was involved with this project. It was a familial effort and I had a blast. Plus, it’s a damn good movie! It’s gotten into two festivals thus far and we’re currently looking into distribution.
Pools was created by Sam Hayes, who is one of my writing partners. He’s a Chicago guy like me and has always loved films from John Hughes. One day, he told me he wanted to do a movie about pool hopping. Then, Sam being Sam, he didn’t sleep for a week and the script was finished. I read it and immediately accepted the part. We’re hoping to shoot right after I wrap season 2.
Nerds and Beyond: We loved The MemE! True Hollywood Story you made, which won a Tribeca Film Festival award. Any interest in making any more short films like that?
Vlamis: Thank you! Very cool you found that. I have an entire 3-episode digital series I wrote, produced, directed, and starred in, which has never been released. Might have to let that out into the world soon. Aside from that, I’m not really focused on shorts anymore. It’s time to make feature films, which I’m doing!
Nerds and Beyond: You’ve shared before your love for music. What has been your go-to Summer songs? The ones you couldn’t stop playing?
Vlamis: Oh, wow. This is tough because there are so many, but I’ll give you a few… Any song from Choker, “Bambi” by Jidenna, “Hot” by Dodgr, “Click” by Badgirl$, “I Think I’m OKAY” by Machine Gun Kelley, and “Violet” by Peach Tree Rascals.
Nerds and Beyond: Going back to the beginning.. what drew you to acting?
Vlamis: Making people laugh. There’s nothing better in my opinion. As I got older, the truth is what drew me to acting. I love following my impulses and doing whatever the hell I want. When you act, you never have to filter yourself. It’s so liberating. Oh, and I think movies are the best thing ever. So, yeah, that too.
Nerds and Beyond: Would you like to continue doing more television, or would you like to do more films?
Vlamis: TV was my big break and I’ll be forever grateful. Shout out to our showrunner, Carina Adly MacKenzie! God bless you for changing my life! With that being said, I became an actor because of film. That’s where my future lies.
Nerds and Beyond: Are there any other areas of film making you’d like to branch into more like writing or directing?
Vlamis: I’ve dabbled in writing, directing, and producing. My writing is taking off in a big way. I’m really excited. More to share soon!
Nerds and Beyond: Who do you look up to as an actor? Is there anyone specifically you draw inspiration from?
Vlamis: Shia LaBeouf. He’s unbelievable. So raw. I’m a big fan. There are many, many others: Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Leo, Jonah Hill, McConaughey, Ben Mendelsohn, De Niro, and the list goes on.
Nerds and Beyond: What is a role that you would drop anything to play? Who is an actor/director you’d love to work with?
Vlamis: I don’t know the answer to that question yet, but I’m leaning towards some kind of mob movie. I would LOVE to play a mobster. Actor-wise, I want to do a drama with Shia. He gives everything he’s got and I respect that. Director-wise, Derek Cianfrance. Blue Valentine is one of my favorite films.
Nerds and Beyond: What is one thing you’ve checked off of your bucket list this year?
Vlamis: I have more than one! It’s been a damn good year… I am making a living off of acting, instead of having to Uber or sell watches to get by (two things I did up until Roswell). I also produced my first feature film and it got into some festivals. That was a goal. I recently got a movie I wrote optioned by one of my idols, a TV show I created picked up by a badass company who attached a badass producer, and I wrote my first dramatic feature film. I also have always wanted to have a clothing line, which is coming very soon. The goals on my bucket list have been getting crossed off in a big way, but I’m always adding more, so it’ll never end. And I love that.
As a fun conclusion, we have the following quick-questions below from the Pivot Questionnaire.
Nerds and Beyond: What is your favorite word?
Vlamis: Can’t. It fuels me.
Nerds and Beyond: What is your least favorite word?
Vlamis: Rude. I think people use it when it doesn’t actually apply to what they’re talking about.
Nerds and Beyond: What is your favorite curse word?
Vlamis: FUCK. Damn, I love that word.
Nerds and Beyond: What sound or noise do you love?
Vlamis: The ocean waves rolling in.
Nerds and Beyond: What sound or noise do you hate?
Vlamis: The standard text ding! It annoys me. Probably because it makes me look at my phone when I don’t want to.
Nerds and Beyond: What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
Vlamis: Fashion. And I’m currently attempting.
Nerds and Beyond: What profession would you not like to do?
Vlamis: Garbage Collector. It reminds me of taking out the trash as a kid and having to clean maggots out of the cans every once in a while. GROSS! Way to end on a high note 😉
Thank you again to Michael for taking the time to do this interview! You can watch the first season of Roswell, New Mexico now on Netflix (Season 2 is currently filming!), and stay tuned to Nerds and Beyond on news of his other projects!