MICHAEL TRUCCO (Meteor Storm) Exclusive Interview

Michael Trucco in Meteor Storm

I recently got a chance to speak with MICHAEL TRUCCO about his upcoming role of Syfy’s original movie, Meteor Storm, which premieres on January 30 at 9pm/8c.

Some of you might recognize Michael Trucco from his role as Samuel Anders in Syfy’s Battlestar Galactica. In Meteor Storm, he plays a city’s disaster official trying to evacuate San Francisco after a passing meteor shower turns into a deadly meteor storm that threatens to destroy the city.

Michael Trucco talked about how he got involved with the movie, his most challenging scene to shoot, his upcoming projects and more. So enjoy the interview below and don’t forget to watch Meteor Storm when it premieres on January 30 at 9/8c on Syfy.

Can you talk about how you got involved in this film?

Michael Trucco: This one, I’m trying to remember. It was right after ‘Battlestar’. We’d done the play. It was during the summer. It was a script that had come across [my desk]. Oh, I know. Good, I can answer this question. Sweet. One of the producers of this film is also a producer on ‘Battlestar’. His name is Ron French and I guess that Ron had taken on this project – ‘Meteor Storm’ – and they were going to shoot up in Vancouver and I guess they had some of the same people and when it comes to casting they were looking at the project and they put me on a short list of people that they’d like to play the part of Tom. My managers gave me a call and said, ‘There’s this script called “Meteor Storm” being produced by Ron French and shot in Vancouver.’ I said all right and so I read it and the timing was perfect. My slate was open for the month that we shot. I kind of liked the subject matter. I’m very interested in roles. I like the hero roles. The kind of action hero, I’d like to pursue that more and I thought that this was as good as any vehicle to get that started. So there we are.

Are you a fan of the disaster movies?

Michael Trucco: What’s funny is generally no. I like the old ones. I like ‘Towering Inferno’ and ‘The Airport’ ’75, ’76, ’77’s, ‘Earthquake’, when I was a kid. I like the low tech version of the disaster film. I haven’t seen movies like ‘2012’, for example. Maybe I saw ‘Armageddon’, ‘Independence Day’, ‘Transformers’. There are all these giant, massive, $300 million budget disaster movies and they’re good. I mean they serve a purpose but I’m not a huge fan of those. But I like the subject matter. I’m fascinated by astronomy so I dug the actual reading of the script. I thought, ‘Hey, this is kind of interesting, this whole thing of going through a belt of meteors,’ and the magnetic pull that happened in the history of the earth at some point millions years and embedded deep underneath the San Francisco Bay are these little shards of meteorites that are attracted to meteors out in space. I thought, ‘This is kind of interesting. Scientifically this fascinates me.’ I’ve always been an astronomy buff.

Did you do a lot of research on that side of things for the character?

Michael Trucco: I wasn’t really the scientist of the film. I didn’t do any unnecessary research other than looking at that subject matter and I think that I did read someplace that the idea of that is plausible. It’s certainly plausible that the earth itself has been through an event millions of years ago and there could be remnants of those laying deeply embedded in the earth and there’s the possibility that those rocks are attracted through some sort of gravitational pull or magnetic gravitational pull. I looked that up and I was like, ‘Okay, I’m going with this. I’ll buy it. I like it. Cool.’ It didn’t have anything to do with fire breathing dragons from prehistoric times so I was like, ‘All right, I’m in and I’ll get to ride a motorcycle. So, done.’

Your character is sort of a rebel/hero. How did you prepare for that side of the character?

Michael Trucco: [laughs] Well, I drank a lot.

Maybe ‘Battlestar Galactica’ helped a little bit with the character?

Michael Trucco: Of course, definitely. There was some similarities in playing that aspect. I just like those roles. I think that’s something that I’d like to do more of in the future. Maybe there’s something innate about it. I like the idea of saving the day.

What was the hardest scene to shoot since there was a lot of action and then riding the bike and all of that?

Michael Trucco: You know what, it’s funny and that’s a good question actually; there was a lot of stuff. There was a lot of physicality. There was stuff that you were trying to negotiate, having to put the motorcycle in a very specific landing spot, for example. You have to ride up, you have to talk, like you’re talking into the phone, I’m talking to the control center and you have to be able to land the motorcycle in a specific spot. You have to make sure that you get the right dialogue out and then you have to look at something that doesn’t actually exist because it’s going to be put in later with special FX. You don’t actually have a giant burning San Francisco in front of you, and I think that one of the most difficult scenes to connect to and to get up for was the collapse of the Bay Bridge. You have to put yourself in the mindset of seeing something that you know personally perishing in the collapse of a bridge and you have to make that happen right in front, of which there’s nothing but a beautiful bay out in Vancouver.
So you have to roll up, hit a mark and all these things are going through your head at the same time and you have to kind of erase all of that out of your mind. You’re not trying to pull up and hit a mark and so you have to try and pull this off somewhat naturally and then put yourself into the emotional and mental headspace of watching somebody you know and love perish in the collapse of a bridge. That was sort of daunting and then the fact that there are thirty five people standing around watching you. We were on location, we were outside and in Vancouver and of course people, curious onlookers are starting to gather around. You’re trying to find this gut wrenching reaction and people are like, ‘What the hell is he looking at? I don’t get. Why is he so upset?’ I was just looking at a big beautiful day, looking at the water on a nice sunny summer day. That was a little bit daunting but you suck it up and you do it.

What sort of technique do you use when acting, is it more of a Meisner approach or a mix of everything?

Michael Trucco: Yeah, it’s a mix. We’ve studied a lot of different styles when we were in college. I have a theater degree from Santa Clarita University and there’s Meisner and Stanislavsky and different style of acting and even things like incorporating, we learned Shakespearean acting and Roman style acting, all this really stylized stuff. Comedia del Arte. I think it’s really important that you learn everybody’s technique and you keep yourself open to the process.
For me the single most important aspect of acting is listening. It’s creating the moment for the first time in the reality of the circumstances, as naturally of the conversation that we’re having right now to which we don’t know the outcome and we don’t know what we’re going to say next. You want to put a certain aspect of that into your performance. That’s something that I’ve always worked real hard to try to do, make it so that I don’t know what’s happening, that you don’t know what’s coming next and you want to make it like it’s the first time ever, the first time these words ever come out of your mouth. When you shoot something five, six, seven, sometimes fifteen takes in a row it can get stale. You want to do certain things in the proper order. You have certain blocking, certain mannerisms that you have to repeat over and over for each take so that it’s consistent but every take you want to make it feel like this is the first time that you’re saying it. So it requires a lot of observation. I watch. I listen and learn and watch people everyday and then I watch actors that I admire and I study them and try to see what it is that makes the performances so compelling.

Do you have a dream role that you’d love to do?

Michael Trucco: Wow. I think for a time, a few years ago I think I would’ve said unequivocally a dream role for me would’ve been to play Superman.

It’s not too late.

Michael Trucco: It seems to be an extremely popular genre right now and I get a lot of fan letters, actually, of people saying, ‘Why aren’t you The Green Hornet or The Green Lantern, ‘or the green something – I don’t know – ‘Or Aquaman or The Justice League of America?’ There are so many people who are into that world of comics. I start to read them, and some I’m even familiar with, and I go, ‘Hey, you’re right. I would be right for that.’ I’m like, ‘What the hell?’ But just as a kid for me, Christopher Reeve for me, and there were a lot of variations of ‘Superman’, but I grew up in Christopher Reeve era and that was always Superman for me. That part of me, growing up as a young actor that was always something that would’ve been my dream role, getting to wear that cape one day. I always wanted to kind of do that.

You never know.

Michael Trucco: You never know, but to me, and not that I’m getting on my soapbox here but to me he’s Super Man. To me I always thought of him as a man and I’m probably outside the age range to play Superman because if you’re not twenty one you don’t seem fit for the role because they worry about franchises, like what if the thing goes on for a long time. For me though, the point was that these guys like Batman and Superman, these guys were men.

But wasn’t Nicolas Cage going to be ‘Superman’ at some point?

Michael Trucco: There you go. You never know, yeah. You’re right. I won’t keep my fingers crossed but stranger things have happened.

Can you talk about some of the upcoming projects that you have?

Michael Trucco: Sure. The only thing that’s concrete right now, and even that, a pilot is never concrete but I shot a pilot for the USA Network which is also a part of the NBC Universal family which is called ‘Facing Kate’ and it’s kind of a legal dramedy. It’s not really a comedy and it’s not a full drama. It’s kind of in the vein of the shows, those USA shows like ‘White Collar’, ‘Burn Notice’, ‘Psych’, ‘Monk’.
It’s those shows where there’s a little bit of tongue and cheek and a little bit of fun to them. But they’re also compelling and can kind of be heart wrenching from time to time. This is a new pilot that we just finished principle photography on about two weeks ago. It stars Sarah Shahi as Kate, as the title character. I play her ex-husband, the assistant district attorney in San Francisco. So we were formerly married and you can see the volatility between the two of us which is the reason that we’re not married anymore but we still have a strong physical attraction. There’s a lot of push and pull in our relationship. So it’s kind of fun.

USA has some really great shows.

Michael Trucco: They really do and they really get behind their shows and this is no different. Anything could happen. Right now it’s just a pilot and nothing is certain and there are so many X factors when it comes to pilots. So what they’ll do is put this thing together. They shot a ninety minute pilot instead of a sixty minute pilot so that in the event that it doesn’t get picked up they can still show the pilot as a TV movie. That’s good. You hedge your bet. That way you don’t put all this time and effort and money into a project that never sees the light of day. For some reason if they go, ‘We love the pilot but we just don’t see it going as a series,’ they can still run it as a TV movie and at some point down the line you might see this thing called ‘Facing Kate’.

I know you’ve guest starred on a lot of shows, too –

Michael Trucco: Yeah, I just did another one. I forgot to tell you. There’s a show and I don’t know if it started airing on NBC yet called ‘A 100 Questions’. It was originally called ‘A 100 Questions With Charlotte Payne’. I think they culled it down to ‘A 100 Questions’ and I just did an episode of that about a month or so ago. So look for that, as well, should that show make it to NBC.

Is there another show that you wish you could guest star on that you haven’t had a chance to yet?

Michael Trucco: Yes. ‘True Blood’. ‘Nip/Tuck’. I’m trying to get some other guilty pleasures. ‘Dexter’. ‘Breaking Bad’. These are shows that I’ve gotten in the last two years or so completely and totally enamored with. I think that ‘Breaking Bad’ is fantastic. I think that ‘True Blood’ is totally unique and totally compelling and weird and bizarre and outlandish. Those are all the reasons why they should be making television shows and I would love to get a spot on that.

Being on ‘Battlestar Galactica’ was pretty amazing already.

Michael Trucco: Well, I was just going to say if you asked me what my favorite guest star role was I was going to say ‘Battlestar Galactica’ because that’s how it started. I was a Johnny come lately. I was fortunate enough to get folded into the mix but originally I was signed up for two episodes.