TAEM- The Arts and Entertainment Magazine has gained quite an interest in Canadian acting and actors. Most Americans assume that all actors come from the States, but we are finding a great treasure trove of talented actors come from across our northern border. One such actor is Michael A. Miranda, who is a familiar face on the silver screen as well as television. Michael, tell us of your early training and the recognitions you gained at the time.
MAM- My earliest training was in high school back in the 1970’s. My teacher, who I still consider my mentor in many ways, instilled in me a sense of magic that surrounds the theatre and performance; to perform for someone was an honour and a privilege. I went on to train at two universities in Toronto- York and Ryerson. It was at Ryerson that I was bestowed with the Best Actor Award upon graduation
TAEM- Who was your greatest inspiration that led to your decision to pursue acting as a career?
MAM-It may sound cliché, but after watching both Godfather movies, I was fascinated by watching the likes of Al Pacino, Robert Duvall, Marlon Brando, Robert DeNiro and John Cazale. They seemed to be doing nothing yet their performances to this day stand the test of time. Such powerful performances that were intriguing. I was inspired to try and reach those heights. So there wasn’t a single inspiration, but a collective one.
TAEM- From 1985 through 1987 you appeared in a number of television and movie productions such as ‘Psycho Girls’, ‘Night Heat’, ‘Graveyard Shift’, and the TV movie, ‘Nightstick’. How did these experiences encourage you to pursue your career further?
MAM- Psycho Girls and Graveyard Shift were my first performances in Film. Both were very low budget projects and a wonderful training ground. I was allowed a lot of freedom to explore as everyone on the projects were launching their own careers. I was allowed to make mistakes. The other two projects were television. You have to hit the ground running so to speak. A couple of takes and you move on. I was fascinated by the difference in requirements and was determined to be adept at both styles and techniques.
TAEM- The next few years found you quite busy and we saw you in ‘The Child Saver’, ‘Graveyard Shift II’, ‘Buying Time’, ‘A Whisper to a Scream’, and the TV series ‘Street Legal’. Which of these would you say was your strongest performance?
MAM- The Child Saver, Buying Time, and Street legal were essentially one day roles and certainly interesting enough. In fact being cast as a gay character in Street legal was a bit of a coup in my early career. It was nice to be cast against stereotype. Graveyard Shift II and A whisper…” were lead roles. I was expected to carry the Film. Budgets were bigger and more was at stake. I would have to say ‘A Whisper’ was my strongest performance. I played the romantic lead which forced me to stretch only because I was cast against type and it was challenging to try and rise to the task.
TAEM- In the next two years you appeared in ‘The Hitchhiker’ (one of my favorite shows), ‘Poison’, ‘Married To It’, ‘Counterstrike’, and ‘Maniac Mansion’. Please describe the themes behind these productions, and the roles that you played in them.
MAM- I was not in Poison. That was an IMDB screw-up. In Married to it I really was a glorified extra, playing a waiter. I was young and I had to pay the rent. I played a mobster in Maniac Mansion, a comedy about family whose scientist Dad repeatedly bungles his experiments . In the Hitchhiker I played a cuckolded husband and in Counterstrike I played a South American general in a series about an elite special ops force.
TAEM- You seem unstoppable as an actor and have shown your versatility in the many roles that you have played. In the early 1990’s you appeared in multiple projects that included ‘Hurt Penguins’, ‘Secret Service’, and ‘Life with Mikey’. These were quickly followed by ‘Boozecan’, ‘Robo Cop’ (the TV series), ‘TekWar: TekJustice’, and ‘Treacherous Beauties’. With so many young and inspiring actors following our magazine for inspiration, how do you manage to keep so many personalities separate in the characters that you play?
MAM- In my training as an actor in film and television I quickly learned that good back story makes for good characters. This is the work the viewer never sees and never should see. This is homework. Every character has a story. The choices the actor makes for each character is what makes them watchable. It’s not so important for me to get the character ‘right’ as it is to make him compelling
TAEM- Like fine wine you got better with age and appeared in many productions over the course of the next few years, some of which were ‘Le Femme Nikita’, ‘Bonanno: A Godfather’s Story’, ‘Falcone’, and ‘Relic Hunter’. Some others were ‘Doc’, ‘Kojak’ (TV series), ‘ Murder in the Hamptons’, ‘Wisegal’, and ‘Saw V’, and ‘Lives of the Saints’ with Sophia Loren. This was quite a run, and many actors could only dream about such a stream of success. Your acting abilities can only be emphasized by the demand of producers and directors who wished to use your talent. How were you able to retain such stamina for these many projects, and what inspirations kept you at the forefront of acting demands for them?
MAM- As an artist as a craftsman, if you are committed to yourself and your responsibilities, then having stamina is not even an issue. The efforts required to step up is like an adrenaline rush. It’s addictive and honest. It requires integrity to hang yourself out on a ledge when trying to portray a character. The inspirations? The hope that you are contributing on some level to the consciousness of others by funneling thru some artistic filter. Whether it be sheer entertainment, or something steeped in some social rhetoric.
TAEM- Lately you have played in some of the top television productions that includes ‘The Summit’, ‘The Border’, ‘Warehouse 13’, and ‘XIII: The Series’, which shows that your talent is in demand still. Please give us a hint about what the future holds for you, and what new developments can we see for your career.
MAM- After so many years, I’ve come to realize that it is time now to create my own work. This year I hope to collaborate once again with the award winning director Jerry Ciccoritti on an very ensemble-independent feature film. I’m drawn to documentary formats and I am producing my own doc about immigrant cultural identity. It is documenting my father’s own story and how his life influenced mine, and what happens to a son(me ) after the patriarch dies. I have never been one to stray far from the Stage and for that reason I am hoping to remount a play that I performed twenty years ago. It’s called Pedro and the Captain. It is a politically charged two-hander about torture in aright wing military regime. Something I would say is still quite relevant today. This time around I will be playing The Captain instead of Pedro
TAEM- Michael, it has been an honor to be able to have this interview with you, and we want to thank you for the time that you have spent with us, and the readers of The Arts and Entertainment Magazine. We wish you much luck in all that you do and hope that your publicist keeps us informed of all your future quests.