Interview: Julie Michaels-Actress, Producer,Stunt Woman

In Interviews, Movies by Beyond The Geek0 Comments

Julie Michaels, might not have the name recognition as many of her co-stars, but that doesn’t mean she didn’t make an impact in classic films like Road House, Point Break, or guilty pleasures like Barb Wire and Jason Goes To Hell.

Actress, Producer, Casting Agent, Stunts, Julie has done it all. She’s worked with all the big directors, James Cameron. She was the stunt double for Pamela Anderson in Barb Wire and on her TV show VIP. In 2014 she was nominated for an Emmy for stunt work on Shameless.

Her and her husbands stunt production company has been making a huge name for itself with hits like Southland and the new CBS action drama SEAL Team.

Like I said Julie is pretty awesome… It was great getting to discuss her various films and projects, hope you enjoy it!
(Also we both agree Patrick Swayze was a top action star)

 

Road House was your debut film -how’d that happen?

I had just moved to LA, and went with a friend to meet an agent. As I sat in the waiting room, the agent came out and asked who I was. After a couple of minutes he told me he had an audition for me. IT WAS ROAD HOUSE. After several call backs, including a dance one, they booked me. I think the kicker for me was the agent told me to write PROPERTY OF JOEL SILVER on the inside of my leg during my dance audition. When I kicked my leg up on the desk where Joel was sitting, he blushed. The rest is history!

Always wondered was Jeff Healy playing live or was all dubbed in later, especially for your big scene-there seems like very few cuts.

Everything was taped prior to filming and then used as playback. You can tell, when I was dancing on stage with Jeff and touched his arm. It startled him a bit, for obvious reasons and the music still played even though you see his hands leave the guitar! FUN FACT!

I’m a happily married guy, … but Sam Elliott am I right?

Sam is, and always will be THE HOTTEST MAN ON THE PLANET. And the kindest guy on earth! I saw him recently at the Emmys and he was just as lovely to me then as before. True gentleman and solid human!

You kicked Kennu’s butt in Point Break–did that get you hooked on action and stunts? Or was that the goal from day one?

Great question!!! No one has ever put that together. I got cast as another role (The girl that opens the door in the sequence). Before shooting, I got a call from the stunt coordinator Glenn Wilder. He begged me to switch roles, because he knew I could fight and had trained under Benny “The Jet” Urquidez”. I said “NO, that girl is naked for the whole scene!” He begged me again and said it would be THE ROLE that people would remember… I think he was right…..right? “The babe who nuked Keanu!”. So to answer your question, it was never my intention to do stunts. But out of need, I did.

You’ve always been in great shape, I imagine doing all the stunts you have to be because of the risk. What type of training to you do and what type of injuries are expected in stunt work?

You don’t ever EXPECT injuries. I don’t put that in my brain. The only times I have been hurt, was from a direct result of suppression from elsewhere on set and from a direct use of my body to save someone’s life. As for training, I don’t like gyms. I built stairs in my house specifically to the laundry room and the music room. Two of the rooms that I use the most. I run those stairs as my cardio. I never take an elevator when there are stairs. I do a lot of physical things in my day. Moving large pads, building, cleaning and even tumbling with my daughter. I use life as my gym, more like the old days. Oh, and then there are the horses!

 

 

Speaking of kicking dudes butts-you got the best of Jason, in Jason goes to Hell. You achieved Final Girl status –honestly probably the strongest female charter in the series. Friday the 13th fans are pretty opinionated-where would take Goes To Hell in the series?

Again, a brilliant question. Maybe one better asked of Adam Marcus! The one thing I would do, is make sure there is humor in it. I am not actually a big fan of horror! I don’t mind making them, but not a fan of watching! So when you mix a bit of humor in, it gives the the audience a much needed chance to breathe. Maybe Jason becomes JUSTINE!

I’ve meet Hodder a few times, dudes tough, how physical demanding are the Friday the 13th films?

VERY, especially for the actor under the mask!

I think it’s so cool, in an industry notorious for short careers, you’ve managed to have solid success–is there a secret?

Never quit. Reinvent. Remain grateful.

You’ve worked with some the best action directors out there–is there one the wish list?

Kathryn Bigelow! Working once with her was not enough!

The past few years we’ve seen a rise in action films with female leads–how do you view , are you like we’ve always been here and it’s about time or because so much is Cgi/ superhero films really doesn’t count and there’s a ton work to be done?

I look at film making the same way that I look at life. You should always use the best person for the job. I don’t think anyone should be given a job just because they a woman. They should be given the job because there is no one else that can do it better. Obviously, you have to use a female for a film with a female lead, but I think they should be making films with female leads because that is what the consumer market is asking for.

Also, what’s the scenario for the perfect female lead action film? Who’s in it and who’s directing? Are they you?

That’s a question that I’ve only recently began thinking about. Directing would be a great route, but I don’t know if that’s where I want to go. I’d definitely want to produce, but I don’t know if I have a “perfect” director for a project like that. I definitely wouldn’t want to be the lead. There are many other talented actresses that I would want to place in there. Gina Rodriguez from Jane The Virgin comes to mind. A kickass woman that I’ve had the pleasure of already working with.

 

 

I’m really excited about a new series your working on, Navy Seals, coming this fall on CBS. Because it’s tv, you’d think smaller budget, less action but the trailers look full of it. What can we expect?

I don’t think you should go into this show with traditional T.V. Show expectations. This show truly is something that hasn’t been seen before on small format screens. It certainly has the feel of a feature and has a real look at the demands and the drawbacks of these heroic men, complete with the huge feature action that one is accustomed to. No reason to go to the movies for your action anymore. CBS’ SEAL TEAM have it all covered! And how could I forget! DITA, the SEAL Team Dog! She’s once of the most awesome beings on our show! She skydives, fast ropes and finds the bad guys.

I’ve heard you’re trying to make it accurate as possible-is that a difficult balance between entertainment and technical?

This show is as close to real as you can get on T.V.. It’s built around its technical advisors. I’ve been on many shows with TA’s, and their input is limited heavily by the producers or the studio. CBS and our Executive Producer/Director Chris Chulack, has them on set 24/7, has (at least) one in the writers room 24/7, and has them reviewing footage 24/7. On top of that my husband, Peewee Piemonte, (2nd Unit Director and Stunt Coordinator) and I, have a show where we can give back to veterans. We have the opportunity to give them a job, to celebrate them, and to honor them. We’re proud to say that over 1/3 of our stunt dept are VETERANS! Having these real deal guys really shows in the performance.

You’re so busy with stunt work, your production company and charity work–can we expect you back acting any time soon?

Yes, I’m in the pilot for SEAL Team. I play “Stacy Marshall”, a doctor that has been kidnapped by terrorists overseas. You’ll have to watch the Series Premiere of SEAL Team on CBS, Wednesday, September 27th @9PM to find out if I get rescued! #rescueme

You can follow Julie on twitter @MsJulieMichaels .

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