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MICHAEL WELCH INTERVIEW

Interview conducted by Stuart D. Monroe

 

At only 31 years old, Michael Welch is already a seasoned veteran of film, TV, and stage with over 100 credits. Horror fans will remember him for his seasons as Mack on SyFy’s cult hit show, Z Nation…and from “that remake” (2008’s Day of the Dead). You Twilight fans out there (whether in hiding or in plain sight) will remember him as Mike Newton from four of the five films in the series. He’s done a plethora of small screen work, as well as many stage productions. His next film, The Final Wish, costars Lin Shaye and Tony Todd and hits theaters on January 24th.

The diverse actor is ready to explode into the big time. He was gracious enough to take time out of his ridiculously busy schedule to speak with Horror DNA about what makes legends like Shaye and Todd so inspiring, his upbringing in Hollywood, his thoughts on that infamous remake, and how much he’d love to bring Dexter back to life.

Enjoy!

Horror DNA: [After a couple of technical difficulties with the recorder, I’m going with the old pen and paper.] I apologize for the technical difficulties there…

Michael Welch: I think the demon from my movie may be screwing up the technology there. It’s funny how all this technology doesn’t relate to the common man when we need it.

HDNA: Understatement. Luckily, I prep and have things written out ahead of time, so I’ll just have to write down your answers as quickly and accurately as I can.

MW: Oh, wow! You’re writing this down. Well, I’ll try to speak as slowly as I can so you can get it.

Michael Welch 02HDNA: It’ll be alright, man. I’ll jump right in: I have reviewed The Final Wish. It was really cool, very atmospheric. I spoke with Tony Todd last week, which I’m still buzzing about like a fanboy. I couldn’t believe I was talking to the Candyman. It took some work to be a pro. You are a seasoned pro, but still…how was the experience of working with two actors as talented and respected as Tony Todd and Lin Shaye?

MW: I had the same response during casting. I was like “How did you get Candyman?”! That’s a credit to Jeffrey Reddick, who has a long relationship with Tony. And Lin, too, is so incredible just to watch. You know what it is…working with people of that caliber, they’re not that different from you or I really. The difference is that they care a lot about what they do. They simply put in the work. There’s no secret sauce! It’s inspiring to see up close and to be able to work with. They’re humble and they put in the work. I think death, for an actor, is when you think you’re that good, you know? You’re not special. You still have to put in the work. The greats do that.

HDNA: You got to work with true greats and go to the learning tree, too. Very cool.

MW: Yeah, man. Definitely.

HDNA: As a horror nut, I was stoked to see anything with those two in the same movie. Then I realized that you were Mack on Z Nation, and I was double stoked!

MW: Thank you! That was so much fun to do. It’s a great show.

HDNA: You’ve done a couple of pieces of zombie horror now that inspire pretty strong reactions from the horror fanbase; Z Nation and the infamous Day of the Dead remake from 2008. Both draw wildly different reactions – Z has a huge cult following and Day of the Dead is fairly hated on, but your work stands out strongly in both. Do you enjoy working horror? It seems like you might be taking a shine to the genre; you’re building a bit of a bloody resume there…

MW: [laughs] I do, yes. Horror is a challenging genre, very fun. I love the element of the fish out of water, of a normal person put in the extraordinary, deadly situation. I mean, I’m having to battle a literal demon in The Final Wish, so it doesn’t get much more challenging than that. Going back to the two that you mentioned before: on Day, that group was essentially trying to make an action movie with zombies in it. When you put a name like Day of the Dead on it, you’d better bring it and live up to the original! But, yeah…I enjoy horror. And on Z Nation, that was a really fun one to explore. With Mack, I had to figure out what it was about Mack that allows him to thrive in this environment? And I think it’s that the new world revealed to him what he really is. It’s like athletes that get into the big game situation where the heart rate goes up and the adrenaline kicks in – he’s got the clutch gene, as I call it. That helped me get into that character, and it was a lot of fun. Acting opens a lot of those doors and lets you explore.

HDNA: Horror is a riper genre than most for crazy situations and strong emotions, more so than a comedy or heavy drama. I imagine the challenge is a little different for every genre. You have a pretty diverse resume, genre-wise, so you’re more than up for it.

MW: Well, I’ve been at it a long time. I’m 21 years into it, so I’m pretty broken in.

HDNA: You started at about 10 years old, right?

MW: Yeah, at 10. I was a kid. Living in L.A., my family really helped me out and made sure that I could do what I wanted to do. I knew at a pretty young age that Michael Welch 03this was it. My mom basically quit her job to be a fulltime supporter of me. Out here it’s very competitive. There’re so many people, especially kids, going after the same thing. I’ve known a lot of people who have a hard time navigating those waters; it’s a tough business. It really helped me grow up.

HDNA: I can only imagine how that is for a parent. Just my daughter’s school stuff keeps us insanely busy. Literally breaking into Hollywood must take some real dedication.

MW: My family is great. They’ve always supported me.

HDNA: So, I read an old interview of yours where someone had asked you about your dream role on TV. You said you’d love to do Dexter. That really made me smile; that is on my personal Top 3 shows of all time. It seems we hear every other month that they’re dusting it off, then they shelf the idea. With reboots/re-imaginings being all the rage right now, am I wrong in thinking you’d make a hell of a grown-up Harrison Morgan [Dexter’s son] in a spinoff show?

MW: [silence] Man…man. That just gave me chills. Seriously! That would be killer! The challenge would be to exist these two realities simultaneously. I have a feeling that, if I were lucky enough to do that, that I wouldn’t have a lot of friends. That role would require so much dedication and brain power. To follow up an actor that gifted, that’d be a major challenge! You need to call the President of Hollywood about that right now…or just write it.

HDNA: Is there a President of Hollywood? [laughing]

MW: Oh, no. It’s not quite like it used to be now that you can make an Oscar-winning movie with your phone, but a lot of the hierarchy is still there. Still, I love that idea. I would love that. You know, I’ve gotten that dream role question a lot. My easy answer has always been John Lennon. Let’s face it – they’re not casting an American as John Lennon! I may have to change my answer, though. That’s a killer idea. That really does mean a lot. Thank you!

HDNA: Of course. We’ll see if we can get that going.

MW: [laughs]

Michael Welch 04HDNA: So, we’re a few years removed from the end of the Twilight series now. How many doors did being in a film series as big as that open up for you? I mean, it was only one of the biggest money-makers of the last 10 years.

MW: Twilight, yeah. That was huge for me. I was very fortunate to be in four of the five movies (excluding Eclipse). It wasn’t a significant leading role, per se, but I was frequently there. My legacy is a two-and-a-half-minute scene where I vomit in a theater [laughs].

HDNA: Still, it must be a nice card to play. I told my niece, a certifiable Twi-Hard, that I was interviewing you and she freaked.

MW: It’s always fun to freak out the 12-year-olds! You know, going into an audition, it does make some nice back pocket ammo. They look and see I was in almost all the Twilight movies and it changes the conversation. They take more notice. It can be the first part of a pitch depending on the part. Those movies were great for me.

HDNA: Twilight fans are a highly devoted bunch, almost as much as horror fans and sci-fi fans (the kissing cousins of horror fans). You’ve done a pretty fair mix of both genres with Stargate and Star Trek roles. One of the best places to experience that is at a convention. Any plans to do a con or two? I’d think you’d be a pretty good draw with your diverse resume.

MW: Oh, yeah. I love cons. I did a few during the Twilight years, and they’re great fun. I’d love to do more, especially the horror cons. We’ll see how The Final Wish does. Hopefully it’s one that the passionate horror fanbase will appreciate. I think it’s a really good movie that has something to say, you know?Michael Welch 05

HDNA: Absolutely. Finally, what’s up next for you? How is 2019 looking so far?

MW: Thanks for asking. Lucky for you, you’ve caught me on a good year! I have another movie called Blood Craft that’ll be out pretty soon. Right now I’m on a couple of episodes of Station 19, which is on ABC. Also, I’m starting on a movie called Spousal Deception. At least, that’s the title right now. You know titles have a tendency to change in Hollywood, but that’s what it’s called right now. Then there’s another untitled in mid-March [2019].

HDNA: That’s a busy first quarter.

MW: Yes. You have to put in the work.

HDNA: Well, do what you can on your end about adult Harrison. We need to see that!

MW: I will. I love that idea!

HDNA: Michael, thank you so much for your time! I appreciate you speaking with Horror DNA.

MW: Thank you, man. It was my pleasure. Take it easy.

Horror DNA would like to thank Michael for this interview. You can catch Michael in the upcoming The Final Wish.

 

 

Want to comment on this interview? You can leave one below or head over to the Horror DNA Review Forum.

 

About The Author
Stuart Monroe
Staff Writer
Stuart D. Monroe is a man of many faces – father, husband, movie reviewer, published author of short horror, unsuccessful screenwriter (for now), rabid Clemson Tiger, Southern gentleman, and one hell of a model American who goes by the handle "Big Daddy Stu" or "Sir". He's also highly disturbed and wears that fact like a badge of honor. He is a lover of all things horror with a particular taste for the fare of the Italians and the British. He sometimes gets aroused watching the hardcore stuff, but doesn't bother worrying about whether he was a serial killer in a past life as worrying is for the weak. He was raised in the video stores of the '80s and '90s. The movie theater is his cathedral. He worships H.P. Lovecraft, Stephen King, and Clive Barker. When he writes, he listens obsessively to either classical music or the works of Goblin to stimulate the neural pathways. His favorite movie is Dawn of the Dead. His favorite book is IT. His favorite TV show is LOST.
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