Actor Michael DeVorzon (The Real Drakoolavs) brings two sides of a psychopath to life in the film Her Deadly Groom, where the actor must woo then torment a recent divorcee trying her luck at dating.
Her Deadly Groom stars Kate Watson as Allison, a woman looking for love despite being nervous about dating again after a recent divorce. Allison’s friends set her up on a dating site that matches her with Michael’s Vincent Black. At first, Vincent is too good to be true. He’s gentle, sweet, and romantic. But, will Allison uncover his dark side in time to save herself?
PopAxiom interviewed Michael about becoming an actor and creating the duality of a psychopath like Vincent Black.
For Michael, acting started as the sincerest form of flattery. “As a kid, I was obsessed with the old Pink Panther movies starring Peter Sellers. I thought those were the funniest movies I’d ever seen. I’d run around and try to imitate Inspector Clouseau.”
Between Pink Panther and Smokey and the Bandit, somewhere in there, I thought ‘Yeah, I want to be an actor one day.’”
Years of watching Peter Sellers, Burt Reynolds, and other inspirations, Michael, “… started doing some plays. I had no training. I was going with instinct. People seemed to think I had a knack for it.”
Michael’s road to acting, though, drove him through other aspects of filmmaking, first. “You gotta go with the flow. I got an opportunity to interview on the production side for the TV show Melrose Place. I met with the producers and interviewed for a production job.
Michael started working on the second season of Melrose Place and “…and learned about the behind-the-scenes and everything that goes into making a TV show run, and run smoothly. I spent three seasons there. All the while, I studied acting in LA.”
Michael’s goal was to get in front of the camera. “So, when I got that opportunity, I set off on that path.”
About Her Deadly Groom
Michael’s twenty-seven acting credits deep now on IMDB. It includes starring in The Real Drakoolavs, a horror-comedy and the upcoming Fast and Fierce: Death Race film. Her Deadly Groom came about in the traditional way. “I auditioned for the movie, which at the time had a different name. I didn’t know anybody or much about the movie or where it was going to get placed.
For the audition, Michael only knew what he needed to know. “I was auditioning for a character who was being very romantic, sweet, and out to dinner in one scene. In the other scene, he was menacing and violent, clearly was an evil guy.”
Michael used that knowledge to its fullest advantage. “It was interesting to prepare for because you had the two ‘colors’ that were contrasting. They liked what I did with it, and honored to take the role on.”
Once cast, Michael says, “I read the script, and it was great. Full of great twists and turns. A lot that I could do with the role as far as the duality of Vincent Black.”
Partway through shooting, Her Deadly Groom’s production team learned it would be likely heading to Lifetime for its premiere. Did that change the course of production in any significant way for Michael? “I approached it the same way. There couldn’t be any cursing in the movie; not there was any cussing in the script.”
It’s not often but, “… some of these films you have a little flexibility with the dialogue to play around with it. So, if a f*ck or sh*t comes in there, it’s no big deal. Here we had to stay away from that.”
Michael also says, “The romantic scenes that got a little sexual had to be just enough. A little hint to what is happening.”
What did Michael do to become a psycho? “To prepare, I watched a few movies with serial killers or psychopaths in it and watched what those actors did. I did research.
However, all the preparation in the world, things change once you’re on set with cameras rolling. “Ultimately, when you’re there, in the moment, in the scene, I bring myself. I try to let go and allow that character to come through me.”
“When you get into violence and this kind of menace, it’s very easy as an actor to fall into the trap of getting crazy, wild, and loud,” Michael says, “Actors want to get angry, but humans are trying not to get angry.”
Michael’s Vincent is ripe with a nuance of character. “I played with the scenes and had some humor in the menacing moments in that Vincent enjoys tormenting people and inflicting pain.”
“There were moments,” Michael says, “… where I just unleashed the beast. I went full tilt. Leading up to that, I definitely had a subtle approach to how I wanted to play him.”
Vincent’s brand of crazy is a fun role for any actor. “In one scene, you’ve got him being romancing and sweet and gentle. In another scene, he’s incredibly violent.”
Michael’s control of the chaos is a mix of preparation and something more profound. “For me, it’s about trusting my instincts, remembering my character’s objective, and what he wants. Vincent Black would go to any length to get what he wants. He has no remorse. Kind of characteristics of a psychopath.”
Michael’s friends and family fully support his professional life. But, playing a character like Vincent has some quirky side effects. “I do find myself having to apologize to people ‘I’m really not a psychopath, it’s a movie.’ I’ve had some people say they’re scared of me and I say, ‘You know me?!’”
Michael loves “… that people can have that degree of sensitivity.”
Was Michael’s excellence at playing due to, perhaps, him being a little crazy too? “I do believe we all have a little bit of craziness in us. And you know what they say, if you can admit that you’re crazy then you’re not all that crazy. It’s the ones that deny it that we have to watch out for.”
Michael’s work in front of the camera continues. However, is there more coming beyond acting? “I’ve gotten into screenwriting in the last few years. I just finished my third feature script.”
We begin discussing other artists who’ve inspired Michael past and present. “I would have to say, today, Daniel Day-Lewis. I appreciate the work that so many actors do. DiCaprio does incredible, deep, rich work. I grew up studying actors like Paul Newman, Steve McQueen, Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, and Robert DeNiro.”
Michael reminisces about 1995, the summer when two acting legends were on screen together for the first time. “I remember when Heat came out in the 90s, and it was this face-off between DeNiro and Pacino. I thought it was legendary. I was so obsessed with that movie that I ended up with a billboard. Like a ten-foot poster.”
Michael continues listing off actors he admires. “Meryl Streep is phenomenal. Denzel is incredible. There are so many great actors.”
The conversation turns to directors. “Robert Zemeckis makes incredible movies. I think his movies have a wonderful touch to them all. Can’t forget about Stanley Kubrick, Steven Spielberg … Clint Eastwood is another one that his films just have that magic touch. They have so much much heart and richness.”
Michael is a frequent movie audience member too, in part as a fan, but mostly as a classroom. “I’ve always been a student. I never walk out of a movie without learning something. I study and try to absorb what a film did right.”
What’s a dream role for Michael? “In a dream world where anything is possible? That’s an easy choice for me. If I got to play a version of Inspector Clouseau in a reboot of Pink Panther, that would definitely be at the top of my list. I’d love to do a western, a remake of The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly.”
Her Deadly Groom premiered on Lifetime in July (2020) and is available on streaming services, including Amazon and Apple TV. So, what’s next for Michael? “I’m focused on writing.”
Is Her Deadly Groom on your watch list?
Thanks to Michael DeVorzon and October Coast
for making this interview possible.
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