FROM STAND UP COMIC TO BUSY FILM ACTOR
With some bumps along the way. In Part 1 of my recent interview with the very busy comedian-actor, Michael Joiner we talked mostly about his career as a stand up comedian.
In this final part of our interview Michael Joiner and I talk about acting in films, about the changes going on in the 'faith based' film arena, about his faith and how that has influenced his career.
A QUICK THANK YOU
Before moving further into this episode of the podcast, I'd like to use this space to publicly thank actor MANDELL BUTLER for the kind words he posted to his Facebook page about Actors Talk Podcast. I won't quote the whole mini review but in part is says this:
For all those who have ever had questions about working in the TV/Film Industry on any level (as an actor or behind the scenes), I highly suggest you listen AND subscribe to Actors Talk Podcast...
At the bottom of this page I'm posting a photo and link to Mandell Butler's web page. Just paying it forward here. Now back to our regularly scheduled program.
GETTING PERSONAL WITH ACTOR MICHAEL JOINER
We talk extensively about how he came to be cast in THE GRACE CARD, starring with Michael Higgenbottom and Louis Gossett Jr - yes THAT Louis Gossett Jr. - how his impulse was to decline the role before ever reading the script and how his performance as racist cop, Mac Macdonald has opened doors to many other film projects.
About 2002, Michael Joiner and his family moved back to Los Angeles, CA so he could further his acting career. While in Hollywood Michael studied to improve his 'acting chops' and in particular cites working with teacher and film director John Swanbeck, teacher for actors such as Kevin Spacey, as being particularly instrumental in his growth as a film actor.
WHO LOVES THEIR JOB MORE THAN ACTORS?
"I love God, I love my wife, I love my family, but I don't think there's anyone who loves their job they way actors do.."
For a time all seemed to be going according to plan - God's plan as Michael Joiner tells it - and then it happened.
Although he felt safe on this journey of faith in the film business, the economic downturn in 2008 - 2009 that impacted so many families hammered Joiner and his family as well.
STORMS OF LIFE
We ended up having to sell our house on a short sale. I was heartbroken...I yelled at God a few times and said He didn't know what He was doing... [I told him] Don't you know I need to be in Hollywood?
When I came to my senses, as I always do, I said, 'Well Lord, I don't know what to do about my acting career because we're going back to Kansas City to live. But I do know what to do as a husband and a father and I'm going to do that.
But even through this disappointment and apparent failure Michael says he still felt that he was not through with acting. He says he told his wife:
"Michelle, God still has something [for me], He's telling me 'just stay sharp with my acting technique and do what I can with what I have and God's gonna do something..."
THE GRACE CARD
Michael Joiner and Michael Higgenbottom on Patrol in The Grace Card.
Michael Joiner's story, with its success and struggle and even doubt is told with such disarming honesty that even the non-believer will be intrigued. Before being called literally 'out of the blue' to be the lead actor in The Grace Card, what was Michael's opinion of most so called Christian Films?
When called by The Grace Card director David G. Evans to discuss possibly playing the lead in the film Michael offers this:
"He told me it was a Christian film...I almost said no thanks because...he lost me at 'Christian Film'...
But he asked to read the script and found that it was written by Howie (Howard) Klausner writer of the Clint Eastwood film, Space Cowboys.
...I was really touched by it [The Grace Card] the first time I read it. I said, man this is really moving me..."
As it turned out,