It’s tricky to make your way into the film industry, but once you do it can be a rewarding experience. Actor Micah Hauptman is one of those lucky fellows who, after years of hard work, landed his first large supporting role in the upcoming Jason Statham action film Parker. It’s not everyday that somebody lucks out and manages to act alongside one of the biggest genre stars of this generation. We got to sit down with the upcoming actor and talk to him about working in Hollywood, being directed by Taylor Hackford and bonding with the actors on set.
It’s quite an accomplishment to have this be your first big feature film.
Micah Hauptman: Always. Yeah, it’s amazing. The whole experience was really incredible and I’m the only person really in the movie who is not only not a celebrity but nobody knows. Not in a bad way! It’s just to show up with Taylor (Hackford), Michael (Chiklis), Clifton (Collins Jr.), Wendell (Pierce) and Jason (Statham) is just an incredible experience.
And you’re in an action movie so you get to pretend to beat up a lot of people too! Now how was the environment on set? Did you guys turn into one huge family or what?
Micah Hauptman: It was great. Michael (Chikis), Clifton (Collins Jr), Wendell (Pierce) and I all got to New Orleans at the same time, but came out through different places. So the night that we met Taylor (Hackford) for dinner, it was the gang of us. We were going to get together for dinner to talk about New Orleans, life and a little bit about the movie. What he did was put us together so for the next three months we basically were always together on set and off set when we were in New Orleans. There’s a lot to do there so we all hung out and spent a lot of time together. So because of that we all got to really, really know each other and that was a really wonderful experience. We were all really close and Jason was great, but most of our stuff was either we keep popping up and he keeps coming after us, and all of our stuff is contentious with his character as far as the story goes. We didn’t spend a ton of time with Jason because Jason was shooting everyday. He was so, so busy but it worked great because we were all together all the time and we became really close. As a team we were against Jason in the movie. [laughs] He’s great, and he’s so committed. He’s an unbelievable athlete as well.
Well yeah, especially when he’s doing a lot of the stunts by himself.
Micah Hauptman: He does do a lot of his own stuff. His stunt guy is amazing too, but Jason is jumping out of cars by himself. Stuff that no other actor would ever think about doing.
We’re not going to tell anybody that he has a stunt guy. Everybody thinks he’s practically a superhero anyways.
Micah Hauptman: [laughs] No stunt guy. Scratch that!
But it must have been an absolute blast working with such a seasoned director like Taylor Hackford.
Micah Hauptman: Taylor’s amazing. I think I’m probably the only person who auditioned for the film and I think everyone else was offered. I went and read for Taylor, and it was like fifteen pages of material. It was a lot of material and in the audition at one point, one of the scenes I was supposed to be really out of breath. It was one of the fight scenes and I ended up stopping at the middle of the audition and doing push-ups, just so I can get out of breath. I did all the scenes, and at the end of the audition Taylor looks at me and he gives me two specific notes, which generally you’d go back and do, like address those notes in the scenes and do them again. One was about the scene on the boat towards the end of the film. He’s basically saying as you accomplish what you want, and you fool all the coast guards you steer a bit away and you’re excited that you duped them. I ask if he want me to do that now, because there’s no dialogue. He’s like no, just those were the only things he wanted to point out, and then he didn’t say anything else. Ultimately, when we were shooting the movie, those two notes for me in the audition I used. So Taylor was incredible and I think Taylor really, really loves working with actors. I think he casts his movies incredible well, and I like that I was the rookie in the movie. It was fitting as far as my role goes, as far as my place in this industry and it’s the first big thing I’ve done. I think he cast really, really great actors that are so close to that role. He can kind of take a step back but he’s also coming up with you and whispering advice in your ear. He was amazing.
Talk about a really fitting movie for you to dip your feet into. It’s also really interesting when you really get into the industry because you’ve always heard about people saying everyone is so cutthroat and vicious. But then once you really start getting into it, you realize that everybody is actually really friendly. Nobody’s going to get at you unless you start something with them.
Micah Hauptman: Yeah, I think it’s a really great industry and I think there is a big misconception that it is so cutthroat. There are pieces of it that are, but I think most of the people in the industry that really love what they do, like in any industry, and are really great at what they do, are just really wonderful people that embrace others while they’re doing that. There’s all of these crazy things about the industry but a lot of it isn’t true.
If they were actually this vicious, nobody would want to work with each other. We’d get no movies made!
Micah Hauptman: We would get a quarter of these movies made.
And then all the studios would be able to save their money, so that’s a plus. How was it like working in New Orleans and Palm Beach compared to working on a sound stage?
Micah Hauptman: Shooting a movie on location is such a unique experience because you’re in this sort of bubble. You’re playing make-believe ultimately and you’re in this bubble that isn’t totally real because you have a whole other life that you live everyday as a normal person where you’re from.
Going back to what you were talking about earlier, this a really wonderful industry full of great people. I think like anything, people that really love what they do are really happy people and people that don’t aren’t, and there are people that aren’t happy in this industry. Most are really happy and generous.
Now Parker is great too because there’s 20+ books that have been written about this character. Have you read any of the books before?
Micah Hauptman: I’ve read through the first couple and I think more than anything I understand the tone. Donald Westlake writes these really sort of hard boiled stories and for me it was more about getting, because this is a modernization of one of his stories, getting the tone of what he was trying to convey in his novels. I think this script and this movie does that really, really well. It’s a really stylized movie as far as the way it was cut and the way Taylor shot it. So yeah, I think it’s really unique in how it’s set in sort of a contemporary sort of world and it doesn’t look that. There’s a style to it which is really cool.
Well, what are you going to do next? Are you returning to television or will you be doing more films? Or are you suddenly going to do a bunch of random Nicolas Sparks movies?
Micah Hauptman: If Nicolas Sparks would have me, I don’t think he’d have me. [laughs] It’s pilot season now so I’m back open to doing TV again. I have a movie in April that’s supposed to be done with Mekhi Phifer and Omar Epps. It’s called Destined. It’s a small little indie drama directed by Qasim Basir. It’s a really, really great script, a really cool story. And just trying to figure out what’s next and excited about potentially doing a TV show as well.
Parker is out in theaters on January 25th.