Rick Yaeger: Hey, everyone. It’s Rick Yaeger here with another “One Question Interview,” the show where I ask famous people curious questions. Today I have Michael Coleman, who is my second of the seven dwarves on ABC’s “Once Upon a Time.”
He plays Happy. He’s a local Vancouver actor. I was lucky enough to sit down and chat with him. Check it out.
Rick: My guest today plays Happy, one of the dwarves on ABC’s Once Upon a Time, but has also played a wide range of character parts on various TV productions that shoot up here in Vancouver.
Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Michael Coleman. Wave. Tell everyone what you’ve been up to. Once Upon a Time, obviously, but what else is on your agenda? What’s on your plate?
Michael Coleman: I’ve got a feature film that I’ve written and is in development. A lot of people don’t know that about me, but I write movies as well. I have that on the go and we’re assembling a cast. Yeah, that’ll be a lot of fun. When this gets posted I’ll probably have more to say at that point when I’m legally allowed to.
Aside form that I’ve been focusing on “Once Upon a Time” and running the acting studio I have in Vancouver.
Rick: You mentioned “Once Upon a Time”, and one of my thoughts is I wonder what the casting of the dwarves was like. I imagine it as the breakfast scene in “Reservoir Dogs” where the individuals were given their colors.
It’s like, “I wanted to be Dopey, I wanted to be Happy.” Was there any fighting that way, or was everyone good with what they got?
Michael: I think everybody actually got what they wanted. I’m not entirely certain they didn’t find Faustino sleeping on the side of the road and just put him in the show.
Michael: Everybody on the show, that’s pretty much what we want. One of the best perks of the casting though is we had a director, Mark Mylod, who came in and directed the pilot episode. He was about eight foot nine or something.
It was so great because he had to direct a couple of improvised scenes with the dwarfs, but it really did look like something more out of “The Lord of the Rings” with Gandalf, as Mark was sort of trying to pitch us to ABC.
Yeah, no, I think all of us…Jeffrey Kaiser is a little dopey. Lee has a good grumpy streak. Mig’s very bashful. Doc has no medical degree, but we [laughs] …I’m not entirely sure what was going on there. But yeah, no, everybody was appropriately cast and that’s what everybody wanted, so it worked out well.
Rick: You’re from Vancouver.
Rick: I wonder what it’s like being the local in a US production in Vancouver.
Michael: I would say it’s not that different. It’s a unique experience with the cast and crew. We all hang out quite a bit. It’s a very social group. Even then, half our people are from various parts of the world anyway, so we’ve got pirates from Ireland and thieves from London and it’s…everybody’s from all over the world, so it’s a good crew, regardless of your natural geography.
Rick: You’ve got such a huge fan base. You’re just getting into your third season.
Rick: We haven’t seen the dwarves yet, actually.
Michael: Not yet.
Rick: They’re coming? Can you confirm that?
Michael: Actually by the time this airs, you will have been sick of the dwarfs. You will have seen us enough to say, “Wow, that’s too much dwarf.”
Rick: [laughs] You’re aware of the different fan groups.
Rick: You know who Team Seven is, obviously.
Michael: I do, yes.
Rick: I’ll quiz you on the others. Ugly ducklings.
Michael: Ugly…what was that one, sorry?
Rick: Ugly ducklings.
Michael: Ugly ducklings. That’s got to be Emma Swann’s?
Rick: Emma Swann’s. Correct. Fairest.
Michael: Snow. Jeanie Goodwin.
Rick: Very good. There are a few easy ones here. Little Red?
Michael: Megan Ory.
Rick: Hookers? [laughs]
Rick: Very good. [laughs] Mad Hatters.
Michael: That’d be my good buddy, Josh Dallas.
Rick: The Evil Regals.
Michael: Lana Parrilla.
Rick: Very good. Perfect score.
Michael: Big fan of the show. Big fan of the show.
Rick: [laughs] You’ve entered your acting school and I’m interested just to get a brochure, because I’m new to this interviewing thing. It’s not acting, but it kind of is, in a way.
Michael: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Rick: I could use some help getting out of my head and that kind of thing.
Rick: Tell me a bit about what you’re doing.
Michael: Well, it’s interesting. We actually have a lot of the cast that actually teaches at the school or comes in as a guest speaker. We’ve had Bail Fire/Neil come in and Grumpy comes in and the Fairy Godmother and Stealthy are both teachers there. King Midas has taught there. We’ve got a whole bunch of…it’s very “Once Upon A Time”-friendly.
Michael: Basically we teach film, television, and voice acting for North America. It’s really good and we’ve got Josh and Jenny coming in this year, hopefully Bobby Carlyle will be in later in the year.
It’s a fun school where we try to get a bunch of…Well, we don’t try, we get a bunch of working actors together and we mentor the next group of actors that hopefully will try to steal our work.
Rick: [laughs] It’s going to be the Vancouver “Inside the Actors Studio” kind of thing, or?
Michael: Very much like that, yeah. Yeah. Our version of James Lipton is actually the Fairy Godmother. The Fairy Godmother is the one who does that version of that, and we bring in all of our students and they get a chance to meet.
It’s not just with “Once Upon a Time” cast, we’ve had directors and producers and casting directors and agents and actors from all kinds of shows and stuff come in. It’s super fun.
Rick: People aren’t necessarily aware of all the shows that are produced in Vacouver.
Rick: You’ve been in a lot of them, like “Fringe”, and “Stargate”. Run through a few that you’ve been involved in.
Michael: A couple of different Stargates. I did “SG-1” and “Atlantis”, “Smallville”, “Supernatural”, “Fringe”, “Eureka”, what’s the one…”Psyche”. A bunch of kid shows, movies of the week, features. A whole bunch of stuff.
Rick: You could get any of the cast of those kinds of shows to be at your school?
Michael: Yeah. Yeah, we get the cast and casting directors and agents and directors and all that from all those shows coming through. Yeah.
Rick: Very cool. Do you teach standup comedy?
Michael: Actually we do.
Rick: Do you?
Michael: Yeah. March 2014, as a matter of fact. Yeah, we actually…Yeah, we do.
Rick: I ask because I see in your bio that that’s where you started out.
Michael: I did. I did, yeah. I was terrible at it so I quit as a favor to everybody who had a watch. But we have amazing real standup comics that have come in and taken my place. Much funnier than I am, much funnier.
Not as good-looking, but much funnier.
Rick: There has to be a tradeoff somewhere.
Rick: As you know, the show is called “The One Question Interviews”. I have almost a thousand different questions ranging from the profane to the profound. I’ll choose one at random and you’ll answer it seriously or in a funny voice if you like.
Rick: Everyone goes home happy.
Michael: Not too happy, that’s kind of my job.
Rick: Oh yeah, that’s right. That’s infringing upon your…
Michael: I’ve got to pay for my daughter’s education.
Rick: Your jurisdiction, yes. I’m going to scroll through these cards, just tell me to stop anywhere.
Rick: This is your chosen question, “If you could ask Nostradamus one thing about your future, what would it be and what would you like the answer to be?”
Michael: Oh, that’s a good question.
Rick: Of course it is.
Michael: My predestined future, one I can’t change, just what I want to know about like when it happens?
Rick: Yeah, let’s go with that.
Michael: Sure. What I’d like to know is at what point in season three do myself and JoAnna Garcia-Swisher officially become love interests, and what I’d like to know about how that happened is what did I say to make that happen. [laughs]
Rick: For those who don’t know, who is this object of your desire?
Michael: She is the Little Mermaid.
Rick: You seem to have a little obsession with the Little Mermaid. What’s up there?
Michael: I think she has an obsession with me, and it’s just…
Michael: You know what, she’s married to a wicked baseball player and has got great kid and stuff, so we’ll keep it just to the TV love interest stuff.
Michael: It’s destined to happen though, we’ll leave it up to Nostradamus.
Rick: Nostradamus, you’ve heard the call, here’s the question. There you go. Thank you so much Michael for being such a great interview, and hopefully we can have you back again sometime.
Rick: Check out Michael on “Once Upon a Time.” Seasons one and two are on both Netflix and iTunes, so you can catch up, and then get right back into season three which has just started last week as I’m taping this. It’s a few episodes in by now.
Rick: That is ABC, Sundays at eight pacific, seven central.
Michael: That’s correct. Perfect.
Rick: You can follow him on Twitter @1MichaelColeman. You can join his Facebook fan page that has a link that’s too long to say, but I’m going to put it right about here in a little shortened form.
All those links, all the links to what we’ve been talking about are right down there. They’ve been there the whole time, I don’t need to tell you. Will also be in the show notes for future reference at onequestioninterviews.com, where we have transcriptions loaded with links for all the interviews.
Everybody, this is Rick Yaeger for One Question Interviews, thank you so much for watching and check back next week. Bye bye.