Noel Fisher is that actor you recognize immediately when you see him, but with his growing fame from playing the brutal Mickey in ‘Shameless‘ and the Romanian vampire Vladimir in ‘The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2‘ you’ll remember his name now too. Plus there’s that ‘Hatfield & McCoys mini-series with Kevin Costner and Bill Paxton for him coming up.
Noel Fisher’s been acting for a long time, and it’s easy to recognize his face from being on so many shows. I remember him when he got to torture Chris Meloni’s Eliot on ‘Law & Order: SVU‘ after killing off fan favorite Mike Doyle, and then I noticed him popping up on all sorts of shows like ‘Lie To Me’, ‘Huff’, ‘Bones with previous vampire incarnation Angel‘ and ‘The Pacific‘. Then he was popping up in movies like ‘Battle: L.A.‘ ‘Final Destination 2‘ and ‘Red‘. He’s got that face and he plays characters that you can remember, whether they’re annoying or a little dark, he stays in your head.
Fisher shares equal time on the small and big screen, and his jump to Showtime’s interestingly odd and dark ‘Shameless‘ really got Hollywood noticing the guy. His Mickey is such a complicated character that you want to both hug and then kick him in the butt for being so stupid. Many actors would go over the top with a role like this, but Fisher walks a very fine line to keep this character as despicable as he is somewhat loveable. Fans can’t get enough and there are numerous fan sites dedicated to his character and his long suffering mate Ian. We’ve counted over ten videos on YouTube alone showing their ‘Shameless’ scenes that cross between love and sadomasochism.
If the 2012’ers are right and the world does end this year, Fisher is going out with a bang. Showtime has upped his Mickey to a cast regular next season, his upcoming mini-series on History Channel’s ‘Hatfields & McCoys’ starts on Memorial Day weekend. The cherry for his cake was being cast in what will surely be one of the biggest film franchise finale’s (Yeah, I now ‘The Avengers‘ will be hard to beat!) ‘The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2‘, where he plays Romanian vampire Vladimir. In the image below, he proves to have some psychic ability back in 2001 when he wore a ‘Vladimir’ shirt in ‘Max Keeble’s Big Move‘.
Fisher definitely has that sense of humor that we love, and he proves to be just as deep thinking as some of his characters have been. I’ll let him say things in his own words along with what it’s like to play with the big boys like Kevin Costner, Bill Paxton, Robert Pattinson, Tim Roth and Taylor Lautner.
BEST MOVIES EVER: We all know that acting is very feast or famine. How have you been enjoying your rather long feast?
NOEL FISHER: It’s been a trip. I came to Los Angeles straight out of high school and went through some tough years when I first got here. I went back to Vancouver three times because I was flat broke and just couldn’t afford to stay. It’s an amazing transition to go through and I consider myself to be insanely lucky. At the same time I am forever grateful for the hard times. I think pending time in the trenches has some really valuable lessons: it forces you to focus on the things that are actually important and creates values that are really grounding when things start to go your way. Perspective is a beautiful thing.
BME: In ‘Shameless’, how has it been to play a character like Mickey Milkovich, who’s equally hated and loved at the same time by fans? Did you base any of his characteristics on someone you grew up with or knew?
NF: I take the fan reactions to Mickey as a really positive sign. The writers of Shameless have done an amazing job at creating true-to-life characters in that everyone on the show has both dark and light aspects to their personalities. They make good and bad decisions as they struggle with themselves and their personal demons. Mickey is a character with a lot of demons and darkness so his positive qualities don’t get seen much. He is, to put it mildly, unstable. It makes sense to me that fans would have differing reactions to that. Imagine your son or daughter or really anyone you cared about being romantically involved with someone like Mickey…I’d be worried!
I didn’t need to base Mickey on anyone I knew. For me, acting is more about discovering the why of what a character does, and then finding a way we all share something similar—a commonality. Mickey is someone who lives with a lot of secrets, and has an extreme fear of his secrets being exposed because he would be seen as weak. He feels he would be targeted and perhaps even killed. What he is willing to do to protect himself from that fear may be more extreme than what other people would do, but at its core, being seen as weak is a fear that most of us share.
BME: You’ve worked with some of the biggest names in the business like Kevin Costner, Aaron Eckhart, Bill Paxton, and Taylor Lautner. Who was the one person that made you the most nervous when you found out you’d be on a project with them?
NF: I’d go with Paxton on that one. I watched a lot of his stuff growing up and was pretty excited to meet him. I remember I was just walking through the hotel lobby in Bucharest when he strolled in. He came over to introduce himself and started to talk about his beard. It’s a good sign when you meet someone and they immediately start talking about how their huge beard makes them look like a homeless dude and that they are getting a lot of strange looks walking around Bucharest. I guess the moral of the story is…Bill Paxton is awesome!
NF: I’m not a reality show person. I can honestly say that I have never been addicted to any reality show I’ve seen. That being said, I must admit to being totally addicted to
The Daily Show and The Colbert Report. Those provide me with more than enough jaw dropping reality. Not that they need the bump but if anyone reading this hasn’t checked those two shows…you’re missing out!
BME: Many young actors think that it’s more about looking pretty rather than creating a memorable character. You are quite the opposite as I can remember you from so many different shows you were on. Where did you get your training to really appreciate the craft of acting?
NF: Are you calling me ugly?
There is a myth that acting is just showing up and “being yourself”. Now there is a small amount of truth in that but it’s not going to carry you very far. You’re not going to be playing yourself” on your 2nd, 3rd or 4th gig, should you be fortunate enough to land one. So you’ve got to find something else. I started studying because I just didn’t want to leave my future to the off chance of being “discovered” in a coffee shop by James Cameron while he was out getting his morning espresso. I didn’t like those odds…plus I don’t know what cafes he likes.
I’ve taken classes at several different places in LA but haven’t trained in any particular school of acting. Being in class however, is always inspirational. It challenges me to expand the range of characters I play, and how I play them. Class is where you learn to appreciate the craft but even more important is that, class is the place you learn to appreciate hard work. More than anything else, that’s the secret as far as I’m concerned.
The other thing that really made a difference in my life is when I decided to live a daily schedule of creativity. I’d work 5-6 hours a day on anything from reading plays, scripts, working on monologues or playing music and painting. I centered my life around creativity and the joy that gave me. Shortly after that, things started to move in the right direction.
There is a great quote from a Roman dramatist named Seneca that I think says it all, “Luck is when preparation meets opportunity.” Doctors, lawyers, mechanics and the rest of the working world train for years to become good at what they do. In my experience acting isn’t any different. You have to put in the time and work, otherwise you’re just playing the lottery.
BME: ‘The Twilight Saga Breaking Dawn Part 2’ fanbase is quite a departure from your television and film roles. Do you think this will open the door for more roles in these types of films like ‘The Hunger Games’?
NF: I haven’t put much thought into what kinds of doors the Twilight franchise will open. I am definitely a person who enjoys movies like The Hunger Games (I read all the books about three years ago) so I would love to be part of another big franchise like that. I think these types of films can offer actors the chance to play some really cool characters and help create these amazingly immersive worlds. I mean I get to play a 3000 year old bad ass vampire in Breaking Dawn! That’s rad! It’s like playing pretend when you were a kid…but with a multi-million dollar budget.
BME: Do you get to fight Bella and Edward in one of those scenes that could rival her over the top bloodbath birth?
NF: Absolutely! They haven’t released this info yet but part two of Breaking Dawn is gonna be nothing but a blood bath. We thought we’d just break away from the book entirely with the last installment. The Romanians are introduced, we kill the entire Cullen family along with the wolf pack and then the credits roll…kidding.
BME: You’ve played everything from an intense lab assistant, a rookie Marine fighting aliens, to a closeted gay bully, to an ancient Romanian vampire and now a mentally challenged Southern illegitimate Hatfield son. What type of role is left for you next?
NF: Something I’ve always wanted to do is play someone who is still alive and that I could go meet and talk to. One of the coolest things I’ve seen in this regard was on The Pacific. One of the actors finished his last shot on the movie and went off to the side to call the guy he was playing. I thought that was just incredible. But the wonderful thing about acting is that there is a limitless supply of cool characters to delve into. Maybe I should try to do a part that combines all my previous parts? A closeted, mentally challenged vampire who joins the Marines to fight an alien invasion. Think we just struck gold!
BME: Have you been asked to be a guest judge on ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race All Star Edition’ yet? Michelle Visage would just eat you up!
NF:No. Ru Paul seems like an intelligent person. This may explain why I haven’t been invited to judge anything on his show. Good call Ru…good call.