A GoPride Interview

Gregory Michael

Gregory Michael interview with ChicagoPride.com

Mon. October 16, 2006  by Ross von Metzke

Gregory Michael
Life’s gotta be tough for Gregory Michael. Five weeks on the beautiful beaches of Hawaii. Sun, sand, surf, all to bring you fans a second season of here! TV’s delicious guilty treat Dante’s Cove in which Gregory stars as Kevin, the troubled boy next door who has the unfortunately luck of being the object of just about every man in town’s affection.

But just because what you see on TV looks like such a sexy, sun filled blast doesn’t mean every day in this young actor’s life is a cake walk. Sure, he had a blast while filming—even partied it up a bit with the cast of Lost. But after a year on a soap playing a rapist (we’ll get to that later) and transitioning to life in LA, he’s pounding the auditioning pavement, working on a CD, juggling acting gigs, interviews and a rapidly growing MySpace following.

All in a day’s work for an up and coming actor.

RVM: (Ross von Metzke) So tell me all about your utterly painful life. A month and a half shooting in Hawaii. Those are the breaks.

GM: (Gregory Michael) Beautiful beaches, beautiful backdrop, beautiful people on the beach. You can’t really compete with that. It’s the best way to go.

RVM: Were you all pretty much working the entire time or was there a lot of down time to explore?

GM: I did work a lot. I think we worked the majority of the time we were there. But I did have some down time to surf a little bit and check some out some of the local hot spots, which was a blast.

RVM: You run into the cast of Lost?

GM: Actually, Michelle Rodriguez invited me out to her little farewell party when she left the show and we got to meet everybody from Curly to Jack Sawyer to all those Lost characters.

RVM: Nice. Not a bad invite. So then, when you are working, what is the typical day like?

GM: Well, I guess the hardest part of my day is having to work with such beautiful actors, such as Charlie David (pictured right, with Gregory), Jon Fleming, Nadine Heiman and, of course, the beautiful Tracy Scoggins.

RVM: In terms of playing gay on the show, I know this is probably a question you get asked over and over, but was there ever any concern on your end with taking the role?

GM: I actually had a lot of concern, but I have that with any role I take on. The thing is, I was taught early on that the roles that scared me the most, and I don’t mean it scared me because Kevin’s gay. It scared me because it was difficult. It’s something that’s not me, you know. I’m not an abused teen. I’m not in a relationship. I don’t come from the broken family background. So when I saw the character as a whole, me, Gregory, I’m not that character. So of course that’s going to be a challenge, and that’s what scared me because I was going to have to do a lot of hard work. But those are the roles I’m attracted to, the ones that aren’t me at all. I want to go to those places so I can become a more versatile actor. I absolutely love the character of Kevin. Every time they throw me a new script I’m like, 'Wow, never saw that one coming.'

RVM: What’s the toughest part about playing the character? What scenes do you dread the most?

GM: Of course, everybody’s going to say, 'Hey, it's probably the sex scenes, right?' And it’s not for me. It’s not the intimate scenes. It’s more the scenes where I have to go to places emotionally. Sex is very physical, so a lot of people would say it’s gotta be getting naked or getting in bed with somebody, but the emotional scenes are the hardest. That and the supernatural scenes. You know, Ambrosius has put you in a mind meld. What the heck is that supposed to feel like? I mean, I’ve been through so many mind melds in my life. You’ve really got to go places you’ve never been before and, a lot of the time, pull stuff out of your butt it seems.

RVM: I know you came to the show from the soap world, doing As the World Turns and playing a rapist. I know most actors say it’s the best prep work you can possibly go through as an actor, but I’m curious about the fans. They’re notorious for not being able to separate fact from fiction.

GM: Being on a soap was probably one of the best things that’s ever happened to me in terms of my route to being a successful actor. It was really like boot camp. It prepares you, everything from getting your script the night before, learning 20 pages of dialogue a day, doing your scenes in one or two takes. It’s funny... when I was one (the show), I was on vacation, out in San Diego, and this young girl came up to me and was like, ‘Oh my gosh, you’re out of jail.’ And I thought, you know, ‘Ha ha ha. This is really funny.’ And then she just went on. ‘Why are you out of Oakdale?’ That’s the place where As the World Turns is set. First of all, I actually told her, ‘I just got out. I snuck out. Haha.’ And she was like, ‘What?’ I thought she was just playing with me, so I played back. And the more and more I was talking to her, the more I could see on her face she was getting scared. So I said, honestly, ‘My name is Gregory Michael. I play the part of Clark, I’m not really a rapist.’ A lot times, I think people get so into soaps, they can’t distinguish between what’s reality and what’s television. Even with Dante’s Cove, people says, ‘Oh my God, you really went through some things. The way your parents hit you.’ I love that people can relate to the character, but then again, they don’t realize it’s a character. I get e-mails. ‘If you ever want to talk about your hard times with your parents. If you ever want to get away from Toby.’ It’s hysterical.

RVM: You are awfully busy. You’re recording an album. Tell me about that.

GM: The best way to describe it is Justin Timberlake meets John Mayer. It’s a lot of that urban hip-hop but with an acoustic edge. I play guitar on a couple songs. I’m going to be collaborating with some Broadway singers on a couple of the tracks, so we’ll see what happens. I’m in the thick of it right now. We’ll see how it comes out.

RVM: Is singing something you’ve always been passionate about?

GM: It’s something I’ve always loved to do. I don’t think I’m the best singer in the world. I’m not a Pavarotti by any stretch of the imagination. But ever since I was a little boy, I grew up with a mother who was a professional singer. My mother really instilled in me my love for music. She sang with Frank Sinatra, she toured with The Monkees. Toured with The Four Tops. And then she stopped singing when I was born and I never got to experience my mother being a singer. But she would share with me, so my love for acting and singing all comes from her.

RVM: You’ve got a huge following on MySpace, and your personal Web site. How has that driven your career, in terms of opportunities as an actor and in singing?

GM: MySpace is a force to be reckoned with. I feel like I spend half the day answering messages. Huge publicity tool. You find out who are your biggest fans, what breakdown, is it women, is it men, what age group? It’s a great tool to see what you’re going to do next. That’s one of the main reasons I’m doing my album. I’ve been finding a lot of fans who say they’re 100-percent behind me doing this album. It’s a great gage of what people want from you.

Visit Greg’s Web site

Dante's Cove airs on here! TV and is available in Chicago on Comcast Digital Cable On Demand and RCN Impulse On Demand.

Interviewed by Ross von Metzke