Entrevista ao actor e amigo: Mig Macario
1- Tell me a bit about your cultural background and to what extend shaped you into becoming an actor?
I was born in the Philippines and grew up in Canada. I’m the youngest of 6 children but was very independent growing up. I started travelling at the age of 16, LA oddly enough without my parents.
2- Who influenced in your life to become an actor?
My current influences are actors Don Cheadle & Forrest Whittaker. When I was younger I really liked actors like James Dean, Marlon Brando, Steve McQueen. Also Filipino actors such as Vilma Santos and Christopher DeLeon were artists that I loved to watch when I was really young.
3- How was your first acting experience?
It was when I was in elementary school, it was a school musical and I played a grumpy bell. But my first official paid acting jobs were on a fully improvised teen soap for the Disney Channel called Fifteen and 21 Jump Street.
4-How do you usually you prepare for a role? do you have any routine?
Each role is very different. I’m always picking up tools by reading books, watching film and TV and taking acting workshops. So I always see what tools and approaches I can use for each role. I always have to start from a relaxed and calm place (chanting and Yoga help), so when I first read the script I can get a clear overview of the role. I read it as many times as I can as sometimes I miss things. Then I start making specific decisions about who the character is, I also start getting an intuitive feel for the character. My mind and body start to feel like the person I’m playing.
5- I noticed you are a very eclectic actor, how do you find so many different characters in you? is there a "secret" for all that diversity?
I think every human being can feel every emotion under the sun. Human nature and human relationships can be so complicated. It’s the really good actor who musters up the courage to show the world those emotions - the “good” and the “bad”. Puts a mirror up to our humanity and does it in an entertaining and accessible way. So if it seems diverse, I’m just doing my best to try and explore all the different aspects of my own humanity that hopefully people can relate to. I really try to put myself into the situation the character is in and what would happen in the moment.
6- What was the more challenging role you ever played? and why?
I think the role of Song Liling in M. Butterfly. The play dealt with the stereotypical roles of East and West and turns it on its head. It’s based on a true story of a 20 year love story that ends tragically between a Peking Opera diva spy and a French Diplomat. After 20 years, the diplomat finds out this beautiful Asian woman (and/or the image of one) that he has loved is actually a man! I played the spy and ¾ of the play I have to convince the audience that I’m a woman. (Not a drag queen because that’s entirely different). Then in the last act of the show, he refuses to believe that I’m a man (and for the most part so does the live audience). He still refuses to believe me and it bright stark light I have to prove it to him by being completely naked. Literally and figuratively! It’s a really beautiful play that still has relevance today.
7- On acting, what actors most inspire you on your craft? and why?
As I mentioned earlier, Don Cheadle because of his emotional depth and Forrest Whitaker because of immense presence. Come to think of it Cate Blanchett because she seems to connect with all her characters and lastly Javier Bardem because you feel the love of acting through every pore. He loves every character he plays and plays it with such simple honesty which is probably the most difficult thing to do.
8- Regarding the Filipino culture, why do you think Filipinos have a natural tendency for acting , singing and everything show business? is it cultural?
Well speaking of stereotypes, I think every culture in their own way have their own expression for the arts. I think maybe people are now at this moment, connecting with how Filipinos express themselves.
9- In what way does acting helps you understand who you are Mig?
In tribal societies, the actor was a form of medicine man, healer, Shaman if you like. The performances help the people understand themselves and others. To have an experience and come from it healed. As an actor, I want to have an experience with the character and those who are on the ride with me (ie, the audience member) come from the journey healed as well.
(Most recent project of Mig, ABC's "Once Upon a Time")
10- And without forgetting you are a Buddhist, how does practicing Buddhism helped you as an actor? and acting deepened your Buddhist practice?
I feel the character choices, people and projects that I attract and connect to now have this solid foundation of faith and value. I come from that place in my career and life now. I’m so much happier in this really competitive and challenging industry. I have a tool to really overcome the constant rejection and ego in the business. My own ego and others. When I chant morning and evening, it’s a great opportunity to look at myself and try to connect with this deep place of wisdom, so I can make the right choices. There are so many Buddhist principles that I practice within the entertainment industry.
11- Do acting helps you understand human beings better in all their complexities? to what extend?
I don’t know if it will ever help me to completely understand human beings. What it does is start the dialogue and continues the conversation. Like Buddhism, there’s not really an end point.
12- Last question, for those unfamiliar with the Filipino culture, how would you define your country now a days?
It’s such a beautiful place with many challenges and obstacles. I would love to see it as a fully developed nation in 10 years. It’s hard to change 400 years of colonization and systemic corruption. It only takes on person to change things. So try my best to do that through lots of prayer and talking to people about the country and culture. It’s always been a dream of mine to make films in the Philippines and show the world what it’s truly like. I personally think there’s not enough separation between church and state. That maybe the country sheds the negative aspects of colonization and keeps the good part of integration of many different influences. That my wish for any place I live in, any person I come into contact with or even myself, can fulfill its amazing potential.