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Michael Adam Hamilton interview

We chat to The 10 Year Plan actor about his role as Brody.

Michael Hamilton
Credit: Scott Ferrara

Maine born Michael Adam Hamilton was recently announced as one of the lead actors in Cinema175’s forthcoming movie The 10 Year Plan.

The handsome actor will play the role of Brody and is currently shooting the movie with co-star Jack Turner, who we interviewed recently, and director J.C. Calciano. The film is currently in the final stages of an Indiegogo campaign to raise funds for the production which you can contribute to now at http://igg.me/at/10yearplan

We caught up with Michael to talk about The 10 Year Plan, find out more about his career so far, and discuss the casting process that led to him being chosen as Brody.

Tell us a bit about you as an actor – What brought you to Hollywood? Where are you from? What is your background?

I came to Hollywood on the advice of my first manager “If you want to be an actor, you can’t do it here (Maine)! “When you decide you are serious, move to Hollywood”. At the end of my first semester of college, I did just that. At 19, I packed up my bags, took everything in my savings account, from my glorious part time job at Home Depot -I really did love that job – and booked a plane ticket to L.A.! My dad came with me. We had 6 days to figure everything out. Where am I going to live? Where was I going to work? Where was this place called Burbank? And what the hell is a “Cyn”? Like I’m sure many naive East-coasters, or maybe it was just me, we booked a hotel in the heart of “Downtown Los Angeles” because that’s where you want to be right? Wrong, took about two days to figure that out and finally land in “The Valley”.

I grew up in rural Maine, with four of the best siblings you could ever ask for and land, lots of land! When you are home schooled, which I was, with a big family and woods, the imagination runs wild! Early on, we were always make-believing and creating. This innocent love of fantasy became a fairly important survival tool as I moved into adolescence. Like so many, as a young boy I became lost in a broken, angry family. Acting and dancing were my saviors, my escape. It was the reset, the recharge, something that was only mine, that no one could take away. Acting is free, and you can do it pretty much anywhere. I was lucky enough to be a young, male ballet dancer, so Maine State Ballet gave me a scholarship and became my second home.

It’s funny, at 14, 16, even 19 if you had asked me what was my life, I probably wouldn’t have told you ballet or acting (the entertainment business in general) I sort of always just thought it was a fun hobby I enjoyed. It was’t until that first year of college, when I stopped getting my fix, that I realized I was addicted, and this was way more than a passing distraction.

So, I made the choice and I made the leap! At first I HATED Los Angeles; I was lost and didn’t know about the laws of L.A. attraction: you can pretty much do or see anything in 15 minutes from Surfing to Skiing, assuming the 405 wants to cooperate. So, you damn well better know what that is or the city and everyone in it will take a giant dump on you. Once you start learning the people and know what things you are looking for, it becomes this beautiful place where literally everything seems or in fact is possible.

I began honing my skills as an actor, particularly a film actor, at the same time as I was desperately trying to shave off 100’s of layers of personal baggage. It’s pretty hard to become someone else truthfully when you can’t truthfully see or connect with your own self.

The journey was long and, of course, is ongoing. I bounced around from different roles and jobs to different girls and reps. I started working behind the camera, I even took a year off and went on a soul searching, spiritual quest that took me to Israel, but eventually I found myself home, in Los Angeles and it was all coming together. I knew myself now, a bit anyway, and things started happening fanally: It’s much easier to find something, when you actually know what you are looking for. I met my wife, bought a house, and started a family, found that supported my dreams and family. I tell you all these things because they are not secondary or sidelined to my life as an actor and creator, but all one in the same and truly inseparable.

I could not be more grateful for the journey thus far and hope that anyone out there thinking about the beginning of their own journey can hear me when I say: it is yours and no one else’s.

Michael Hamilton

Credit: Scott Ferrara

It’s recently been announced that you will be playing the lead role of Brody in new film The 10 Year Plan. Tell us about the movies story-line.

This is a hilarious story, which I am sure many of us can relate to, about two best friends who manage to completely overlook each other (romantically) until it’s almost too late. The two main characters, Myles and Brody, are complete opposites, which makes for some very funny scenes and situations. One being an easy going, sex addicted, sports watching cop and the other an uptight, serial monogamous, Martha Stewart reading lawyer.

Thankfully, the two realize how much they actually care for each other. By watching each other go through misery and fun with other people, Brody and Myles finally realize that they are already a perfect couple, whose only obstacle to happiness is admitting their mutual love for one another.

The movie is real and enjoyable for anyone who as ever thought they knew what they wanted (most of us) but been completely wrong (also most of us).

What was it that attracted you to the movie?

Well, honestly the first attraction was HEY! A job! But once I got through the door and a little further down the road in the audition process, I started really appreciating JC’s writing: quick and witty, not forced and overly obvious humor, but still relatable. Getting a good comedy script these days that you can fly through is, sadly, a rare thing.

What traits, if any, do you share with Brody?

Brody and I have had a similar journey: at first, he’s a sweet but emotionally shut down guy, who doesn’t want to think or believe he needs anyone. He fills the vacuum in his soul with frequent one night stands, trying to hold down the gnawing feeling of loneliness. Until he finally realizes, you can’t enjoy the benefits of a real relationship unless you are willing to risk the pain as well. Before I met my wife, as I already said, I was definitely on a hunt, in relationships and life. It’s not as though she was some great answer to the hole inside me, although she fits quite nicely, but that when I finally was ready to open up, she moved right in. This is basically what happens with Brody and Myles.

Michael Hamilton

Credit: Scott Ferrara

Tell us about the casting process. What did you do to clinch the role? Why do you think the director chose you to play Brody?

Jeeze! As an actor, honestly, I feel like I never know! But, I’ll try. I would say that first and foremost (I would never presume to know your thoughts JC, but I assume you approved these questions) I brought truth to the role. Which is always our job, right?! I think that this movie will bring up an important issue for today’s culture which is something I like to call “social bundeling”. You know, when you get your cable, and you say “Oh, hi, I want Starz, because I’m me and like that channel”, and then all of a sudden you are forced to pay for/get 20 other channels along with Starz, and you are like “oh wow, I didn’t even know I liked this bizarre, obscure channel over here and also, I hate this one over there”. I feel this is what happens to us as people. It happens to us on a small scale, within our family and friends, and it happens on a large scale when you are a public figure or politician. You say something like “Hi, I’m gay” and then everyone inserts a millions stereotypes and assumptions about you. The same thing happens when you say “oh hi, I voted for prop A” that must mean you also like XY and Z.

I say all this because I feel like JC wrote a script that ISN’T like that. It is a shining example, and he as a human, from what I know so far, is also a shining example of: make no assumptions. Don’t stéréotype, don’t box in. Let people be who they are, when they are and where they are. This is what I tried to do when I auditioned, because the writing lent itself that way. Brody is just a guy, he’s just a cop, and he’s just a lover. He’s just a beer man. And all of these small things I got to learn about him, informed me of how I got to be, but the one thing I didn’t read was “gay cop” and walk through the door with a massive affectation and assumption about what just that means. I think that bringing myself and reading the material honestly as myself helped me get this role, and I also think it’s one of the most beautiful things about this film for gay and straight people alike.

You know, when I tell people the story of this movie, I go from beginning to end and tell them the conflicts, the humor, the love and when I get done they think I am talking about the next Gerard Butler/ Katherine Heigl movie, and then I say “oh and his name is Myles.” And that is beautiful to me, it is the next evolution in a conversation. The conversation started with “Hey I am gay! that’s okay and I get a voice!” and that needed to be said, but to evolve into being gay as a detail and the fact that you are just a “normal” (what the hell is that anyway?) person with normal problems is a great step, and I think one that people need to take. This is the main reason I felt compelled to do this project. When we can live in a world, where people are looked at individually and momentarily, not in groups over long histories that are tied around their ankles, then that will be an amazing time.

How was your experience at the table read? Tell us about your first meeting with the other actors in the film?

Before the table read, I had the longest fitting of my life (smiles), so it was a nice warm up for the reading. The reading itself went by fast and smooth. Afterwards, I felt even more excited to watch these characters and this script come to life.

As an actor what kind of preparation do you do for a role?

My preparation for a role is always evolving, but the dominant part is reading the script. That’s your world, that’s your truth, and I read it as many times as I can. On this film, I also had the pleasure of rehearsing and running lines with my co-star, Jack Turner, for a few days.

Would you, or have you ever, made your own 10 Year Plan with anyone?

No, I actually haven’t. But the funny thing is, almost everyone I have told about this movie and loosely explained the plot to, says “Oh my God, I totally have like four of those”. And I think to myself: well, at least three of you are going to be very disappointed.

Have you seen the director’s other films? What was it that made you want to work with him?

I now have watched some of JC’s work, and enjoyed it, but honestly it was his writing and personality that made me want to work with him. He is someone who looks you in the eyes, takes you as you are and, in my experience, is very sincere. As I already said, the writing is a gift in terms of getting to explore both an honest and comedic character.

The 10 Year Plan is due to be released in 2014. You can contribute to the Indiegogo campaign now at http://igg.me/at/10yearplan

Photo credit: Scott Ferrara www.scottferraraphotography.com

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