I strolled with Michael Everest Demarco down a busy New York street. Everywhere we looked was a flurry of some kind of activity. Pedestrians kept vendors busy. No merchant stayed idle too long.
I asked Michael Everest Demarco if this was anything like New Orleans since I had never been there. The man certainly knows how to dress the part of a native New Yorker.
The only part of him that gave away that he was from parts beyond was the saunter with the tips of his fingers in the pockets of his jeans.
“You see most of this here, except everyone’s a little more relaxed,” he says with a gentle smile that won’t leave his face.
I’m amazed at how someone as high-profile as him can be so at ease in public. I was more on edge than he was, waiting for the moment that someone recognized him. Maybe that was part of his strategy. Don’t act like a tense and overexposed actor, and nobody will notice.
We grab a couple of New York hot dogs and begin talking film. Then we get around to the building blocks of what shaped the Michael Everest Demarco that we see on film.
Christopher Lloyd and Gene Wilder
He eyes the inch-wide ribbon of mustard on his frankfurter. “I suppose that I started with the early acting of Christopher Lloyd,” he said with a shrug.
“It’s in the eyes. I feel like a lot of my energy when I’m in character is in my eyes, and I can see that same energy bouncing around in Christopher Lloyd’s face. Kinda like Gene Wilder.
“It’s a bummer because when I look at myself on film, I don’t see the energy come out as I want it to. I mean, I’m getting there. But with Lloyd and Wilder, it’s projected like laser beams.”
I remark that his influences had to include more than two crazy-eyed actors, and Michael Everest Demarco gave me his iconic laugh.
“Got me. Okay, I might have to work overtime to get people to agree on this one, but Kurt Russell’s role in Stargate is what got me started on studying him. The man is a totally underrated actor. He’s like a relic of the lost art of visual storytelling.
He barely says anything for 75% of the movie, and you still get a powerful story from what he does. That stayed with me. I want to be able to do that. Tell a story without saying anything. That would be the easiest payday ever.”
We both laugh. Michael Everest Demarco imitating Kurt Russell. I can see it.
I tried to dig deeper and find out if anyone influenced the child Michael Everest Demarco, before acting coaches and people on Broadway heard his name.
“I watched my share of cartoons. I know Bugs Bunny doesn’t really count as an influence, but it took an actor to bring him to life, you know? Mel Blanc? I think I imitated his voice enough to put my mother in the madhouse. But I couldn’t help it. I could change my voice and become someone else. That was my first taste of acting.”
The conversation wound down, and we shook hands and parted ways. I left him on a park bench in Central Park. I couldn’t help smiling, thinking that was the most casual and natural conversation with a professional actor that I’ve ever had.