John Michaelson Is Just a Good Guy on the Run from a Torso-Eating, Coke-Snorting, Ancient Peruvian Cannibal... by Owen Keehnen...

....or at least he played one in 'Primitive Recall'. The handsome actor has been featured in several films such as the John Waters' indie movie opus 'Cecil B. Demented' with Melanie Griffith, David DeCoteau's 'The Wolves of Wall Street' with Eric Roberts, as well as the lead in the vampire horror opus 'Stakes' with George Stover and Jamie Bell. Some of his other features include 'Death of a Dynasty' with Chloe Sevigny, 'Someone Like You', 'Off the Hook' , and 'Dress Rehearsal' .

John was also kind enough to take time from his busy schedule for this exclusive racksandrazors interview.

John why don't you start us off with a visual and describe the place where you are answered these questions?

Thank you so much for thinking of me for your Racks & Razors Interviews! I'm sitting in my home office/den and it's not quite the dark, bewitching hour yet......actually, it's a beautiful February morning here in sunny, Southern of those really perfect days without a trace of smog or haze to cloud my view of the tall, skinny palm trees out back.........

I want to hear about your starring role as Sam in the horror flick 'Primitive Recall'. What attracted you to the project and can you give us a teaser that is going to make it irresistible to all the readers?

I was cast in 'Primitive Recall' in one of the film's starring roles as Sam, an exciting, complex character to play. According to Sam's description, (and hopefully, portrayed by me too) he was an archeology professor, and eventual action hero....a quirky and off-beat leading man who tried valiantly to save the life of a woman on the run from her boyfriend...well, former boyfriend actually, who was morphed into an ancient Peruvian man-eating cannibal. I know that some great scenes were shot, and you can view PRIMITIVE's pretty cool-looking trailer on my website at the script was quite well written and co-stars Monique Barajas and Rob Simpson were wonderful actors....the entire crew was super...... If the script wasn't changed too much in the editing room, you will see a scary, gory cannibal movie filmed in the beautiful wooded canyons of Los Angeles. Oh yeah, it's definitely fun getting paid to run around with weapons and Incan monsters at night in a modern day horror flick, a genre I always love!

Tell me too about your horror sci-fi series 'Star Child: The Chosen One'. What attracted you to the project and to your role of Fintan?

You know, Star Child was an initially exciting project that eventually just fizzled out. The producers brought me in to audition for a role, and I was contacted the next day after my try-out performance had apparently inspired the head writer to quickly script the additional recurring Fintan character. Evidently, they really wanted me in the series so Fintan was added as a side-kick baddie to the series' main villain, Maleodor. After three episodes Star Child's executive producer and creator Nancy Criss was diagnosed with cancer, and the project was scrapped. I don't know too much about the unfortunate and tragic details except that Criss has obviously recovered from her illness because she is currently producing TV and Internet projects. I was hoping that Star Child might gain a second life but I haven't heard anything so far.

You've also starred as Dragus in the horror movie 'Stakes' with Jamie Bell and George Stover and in the David DeCoteau feature 'The Wolves of Wall Street'. Any favorite memory from filming either of those features that you would care to put in a time capsule?

'Stakes' was really a fun shoot for me. It was my first leading role in a film, and again, not the role that I was initially brought in to read. I auditioned for the detective Jake that Jamie Bell wonderfully went on to play....yep, I got a call from 'Stakes' co-director and producer Joe Ripple saying that the movie's bad boy vampire Dragus had been enlarged to a leading part. My larger physical size and obvious psychopathic tendencies, I guess, had also inspired 'Stakes' creator and B-Horror legendary auteur Don Dohler to dress me as the blood sucking villain. wow, as I'm writing out this interview, I'm realizing that I really need to continue to market myself for nasty roles....if people only know how warm and kind I think I am...... This was also an interesting shoot because principal photography occurred in 2001 during 9/11. I had been living in New York City for a couple of years and I had to travel down to 'Stakes' Baltimore filming location for the shoots. I remember all of the truly scary trouble at the time (a few days after 9/11) in taking Amtrak down to Washington DC's Union Station, and seeing all of the Army/National Guard personnel in full military uniform, with guns in hand on every city street corner. I'm sure those unsettling times added some eerie magic to 'Stakes' finished product. 'Stakes' was an important project in my professional acting development......being treated with the utmost respect for my acting skills, and actually being told how grateful production was for my participation in their movie totally increased my confidence and self-worth. Wonderful experiences like this thankfully taught me how professional and successful films are made. I credit the late Don Dohler (who also gave J.J. Abrams his start) and executive producer Joe Ripple for the savvy I now have about the movie business. My eyes were certainly opened up for future, more primitive experiences........

I only worked for one day on 'The Wolves of Wall Street' but it was a happy one!! I believe the entire 90 minute film was shot in 8 days! Director David DeCoteau certainly knew what he wanted! Thank goodness I had my lines down pat for the two takes of my continuously-shot scene! Most of the movie was shot in different rooms of this faded mansion out in the New Jersey suburbs. This was another job that I worked very hard to get. I had somehow heard that David DeCoteau (whose Horror films and career I was already familiar) was coming to the New York City area to shoot one of his horror flicks (this time with a bigger budget and name actors like Eric Roberts and Louise Lasser attached). Having fully entered the internet world at that point, I had access to DeCoteau's Los Angeles contact information, and I proceeded to send him my acting reel. Interestingly enough, after some time had passed and I had learned of a fellow actor who'd been called to audition for Wolves, I figured it was a finished deal. Thankfully, DeCoteau actually watched my demo, appreciated my due diligence, and brought me in to read for the role for which I was cast!! Yes folks, perseverance and honest butt-kissing can pay off!!

John, you have also had a costarring role in the John Waters' movie 'Cecil B. Demented'. I must hear about that experience and what it was like to work with both Mr. Waters and Ms. Griffith.

Yes, another Baltimore film directing legend, John Waters hired me to play the role of Charles, the much put-upon publicist character for Melanie Griffith\rquote s difficult, A-List movie star, Honey Whitlock in his film, 'Cecil B. DeMented'. This film really was my first big movie break and, it was equal parts thrilling and intimidating to have real Hollywood royalty, Melanie Griffith and Waters' veteran and A-List TV Hostess Ricki Lake as my only two scene partners.....give or take brief, but notable acting moments with Maggie Gyllenhall (her first movie after having recently graduated from Columbia University) and Stephen Dorf (Cecil B). Actually, it was Gyllenhaal whose character Raven punches out my exit from the film during the big Honey Whitlock kidnapping scene. A bunch of fight takes were made, and Maggie unintentionally got me good in the face on at least 2 of them! I remember on one night shoot where we were camped out in a limousine between takes, Melanie Griffith exclaimed that she was proud of the 4 million dollar house that she and new husband Antonio Banderas had recently purchased in LA, Ricki Lake was elated to have her then-famous talk show resigned for another 5 years, and I was beyond ecstatic to actually be able to pay my rent that month!!

The hallmark of that whole experience for me was attending the 2000 Cannes Film Festival to view the world premiere of Cecil B. Demented (which was being shown in honor of its largely French funded budget). Never having seen myself on a huge movie screen before, amid hundreds of International filmmakers, no less, I was kind of worried about how I'd look, sound, and if I was even still in the film! Thankfully, both the film (and my performance, I think) hit the mark. Sadly, Artisan Production Company shot its huge advertising wad on 'Blair Witch 2' which was released shortly after 'Cecil B' . I really believe that 'Cecil B. DeMented' could've been a much more successful hit if it had been given the wide release and TV advertising of the failed 'Blair Witch' sequel.

Do you have any other upcoming projects you're especially proud of that you want the racksandrazors readers to know about?

I have two upcoming features (in editing at the moment) that should be fun little gems. 'Searching for Ron Ficus' , directed by Alexander Endberg is an indie slated to premiere at the Aspen Comedy Festival in which I play a West Hollywood, CA john trying to pick-up a transvestite for a little afternoon delight ....there's quite a twist in store for my character in that one. The other movie is Shane Woodson's second outing in the director chair, 'Barracuda', in which I play a sexually deviant submissive man to a 300 pound dominatrix!! And I'm still hoping that ' Primitive Recall' will finally be available for us all to see later this year.

Vampires, werewolves, zombies, witches, creatures, aliens, telemarketers...what does it for you horrorwise John and why?

Wow, now a horror flick about telemarketers.... now that would be totally frightening!! You know, I just really like to work on movies with fun, laid-back, intelligent folks who remember that they're making a movie to entertain people....not finding a cure for cancer!! As for horror genre characters (witches, werewolves, etc.) the weirder and more original the story (getting very hard to come by these days for some reason) the more I\rquote m personally drawn into the project. Yes, the not-so-subtle Saw movies are high on the creepy scale, but so is something like Robert Altman's eerie (and completely un-gory) 'Three Women' .

What was the first movie to scare the shit out of you?

I think the first scary movie to really scare the shit out of me was 'The Exorcist'. I was maybe 10 years old (and I lived in the Washington DC area where both the movie, and the real-life exorcist story that the film is based on took place). I watched it at my grandmother's house and I had to finally run away from the TV at the vomiting I made it thru those horrific hospital scenes where poor little Linda Blair is shot with needles to the neck (with no Novocain, it seemed) was beyond me. I thought sleeping in the same room as my grandmother that night would comfort me, but her constant snoring sounded freakier than the demon inside of Blair!! And, I'd have to say that the original TV film version of Stephen King's 'Salem's Lot', and the never-mentioned witch movie called 'Superstition' (from the early 1980's) would both be scary close seconds for me.

Okay, we're pulling into the John Michaelson Drive In. What three horror flicks are on the triple bill for tonight and what goodies are they going to be serving up at the concession stand?

I think my three drive-in film choices would be 'Rosemary's Baby', 'Let's Scare Jessica to Death', and 'Super Gator' (co-starring my sister, actress Elizabeth J. Carlisle). And, hopefully, they'll have something decadent like funnel cakes at the concession stand.

What is your dream (or nightmare) horror movie role?

I think it'd be a lot of fun and a super challenge to play a horror victim along the lines of Ellen Burstyn's character in 'Requiem for a Dream' (outstanding performance although I hated that movie for it's pretentious focus on the editing and filming techniques, instead of simply telling us the story). I do like being bad though.....maybe an upscale killer like 'American Psycho' (I thought that movie was deliciously hilarious, and no one sitting in the theatre near me could understand my guffaws!!).

What's the best Halloween costume you ever had?

Because my birthday is on October 29th, I've had many, many Halloween-Birthday parties....I think my most creative costume was dressing up as a huge box of condoms..........

What scares you in real life?

In real life.....well, after living in New York City for 6 and half years which was a wonderful preparation for anything life might throw at you (and experiencing 9/11 up close and personal) not too much scares me anymore. However, the thought of becoming really poor (and any kind of financial issue for that matter) frightens me. Also, I've gotten quite scared of heights as I've grown older....not airplane heights so much, but tower and window heights.....I've been to Paris several times, but I've never had the courage to climb to the top of the Eiffel Tower!