Actor Michael Cotter has been proving he can hold his own alongside some series Hollywood stars lately. Fresh off the set, Michael joins the all-star cast appearing opposite Reese Witherspoon and Joaquin Phoenix in Paul Thomas Anderson’s forthcoming film “Inherent Vice.” Based on Pulitzer Prize winning author Thomas Pynchon’s novel, “Inherent Vice” follows the hardboiled and paranoid story of private eye Larry "Doc" Sportello as he investigates smugglers, spies, nightclubs and a kidnapping in Los Angeles and Las Vegas circa 1969.
Michael also recently joined another star-studded cast for the indie comedy, “Larry Gaye: Renegade Male Flight Attendant,” which sounds like a barrel of laughs just from the title. Starring Mark Feuerstein, Jaima Mays, Stanley Tucci, Rebecca Romijn, Marcia Gay Harden and Taye Diggs, the film chronicles an airline’s attempt to save money by eliminating flight attendants.
Fans of the zombie-vampire genre will remember Michael from his role opposite Brandon Routh and Sam Huntington in the cult-hit “Dylan Dog: Dead of Night.” And, TV junkies will recognize him from his recurring roles on “Scrubs,” “Help Me Help You,” and the James Woods starrer, “Shark.”
We recently had time to catch up with Michael Cotter to find out more about the films and working alongside all these heavy-hitters.
What can you tell us about your role in the upcoming Paul Thomas Anderson film “Inherent Vice”?
MICHAEL: I play A.D.A. Rhus Farthington and I work in the District Attorney's office in LA, where I am co-workers with Reese Witherspoon's character, Penny. It is a period piece set in LA in 1969-1970, and it's always fun to be able to play in a different decade, especially for the wardrobe and set choices which were both great.
How was working with A-listers Reese Witherspoon, the always unpredictable Joaquin Phoenix and director Paul Thomas Anderson?
MICHAEL: It was an amazing experience! I think all three of them are brilliant at what they do and I felt lucky to be able to play in the same game as them for a few days. Once the cameras started rolling, they all welcomed me in to the fold and were all very generous in the moment.
Any interesting stories from the set you can share with us?
MICHAEL: One of the coolest things that we did was for one of the scenes we shot, PTA ended up letting the three of us basically improv through this interview scene. And once we all started to improv together, it became this really fun game of finding our way through the scene together and just feeding off of each other. It was really fun to be able to do that with Reese and Joaquin and just trust that we would find our way to the end of the scene each time, but always find cool new moments on every take.
You also appear in the comedy film “Larry Gaye: Renegade Male Flight Attendant,” starring Mark Feuerstein and a host of other notables. Tell us a bit about your role in this project?
MICHAEL: I play a character in the film called Ash Man, who coincidentally enough, is bring home an urn of his grandfather on one of the flights that Mark's character is the flight attendant on. Needless to say, comedy ensues.
What was that experience like? Where people laughing the entire time or was everyone just down to comedy business?
MICHAEL: It was a really fun experience because we shot at the famous Air Hollywood studio, where they have the interior shells of all different size airplanes in one big hangar where you can film. The same plane we shot on also shots the plane scene from Bridesmaids as well as many other famous plane scenes. As for the actors, there was a fair amount of cracking people up, but most of that came in between takes. Danny Pudi and Mark were in scenes with me and they have a great rapport together, so it was fun to watch them play. There were a bunch of funny people there, but first time director Sam Friedlander definitely knew how to keep the atmosphere on set very light and fun while also getting the work done.
So, if you had to pick…comedy or drama? And, TV or film?
MICHAEL: In my dream world, I would say comedy, and probably TV. I would love to get on a long running and successful ensemble comedy, so if you know anyone who is looking you can pass along my name. Ha! In reality though, I am always just happy to be working and working with other amazing and talented people to boot!
Finally, how can your fans keep up with your busy career?
MICHAEL: You can always check out my website at www.michael-cotter.com and follow me along on Twitter at @mistercotter. Thanks so much for taking the time to chat with me! Cheers!
Thank you, Michael! We can’t wait to watch you wherever you pop up!