is a really cool guy. He's smart, has a great sense of humor, cares about political and environmental issues and is a visually fetching blue-eyed blonde with one
heck of a smile!
And just in case all of that wasn't enough to capture your undiluted attention, Michael is also quite the talented actor.
Now, what do
you say we get
to know him
a little better?
Photo by Adam Andrews
Michael Welch has been in the acting biz since he was 10 years old. As a child he began his career making appearances on television, including a guest spot on NBC's hit comedy series Frasier. Soon to follow, young Welch landed his break-out role of 'Artim' in the 1998 feature film Star Trek: Insurrection, which won him the Young Artist Award for "Best Performance in a Feature Film – Supporting Young Actor."
Welch never seems to lose the inspirational energy to keep acting and has a filmography of over 30 movies under his belt - which is undoubtedly, super impressive - but though his catalog is vast, it's definitely the phenomenally successful Twilight movies that you will recognize him from.
Who doesn't remember that cute boy from Forks named Mike Newton? You know the one with that had that serious high school crush on Bella Swan? The boy who tried to compete with Jacob on a date at the movie theatre, but ended up tossing his cookies all over the men's room instead. The boy who dated Bella's best friend Jessica on and off again - and finally concluded his Twilight screen time attending one of the most anticipated movie weddings of all time - The wedding of Bella & Edward in Breaking Dawn. Yup, Mike Newton has seen it all - all thanks to Welch who took his character, that was mostly created as a backdrop for the protagonist - and brought him up front, giving him the charm, the humor and the personality to stand out with all the rest. Mike Newton is definitely an unforgettable part of Twilight history.
Michael's passion for the art took him to amazing destinations and heightened career achievements throughout the years, granting him the honor of working with some of the world's finest talents such as Glenn Close, Ian McKellan, Ryan Gosling, Mary Steenburgen, Alfred Molina and Anton Yelchin, just to name a few.
His television credentials alone are mind blowing, having appeared in everything from Malcolm in the Middle, The X-Files, 7th Heaven to Criminal Minds, CSI, Law & Order and Bones. Not to mention a series regular on the CBS family drama Joan Of Arcadia and more recently, the SYFY post-apocalyptic fan-fave Z-Nation.
In more recent times, Welch has grown up some. He is married, has a young daughter and is active in helping to make the planet a better place to live with the clean water "Thirst Project." Michael and his wife Samantha have teamed up to raise money for communities across the globe to provide clean water to those who need it most. Now that's pretty cool, don't you think?
We have to admit, we were very excited for the recent opportunity to chat it up with Michael and learn all about his latest projects! He had a lot to say about politics, horror movies, clean water and of course Twilight! Now, Cool Magazine wants to share it with you, our totally COOL readers!
Read on ahead for our exclusive interview with actor Michael Welch!
First thing's first - Let's talk horror movies! You have quite a few films of the horror genre on your repertoire, including your latest release Blood Craft. What can you tell us about this film and the role you play in it?
"Blood Craft is one part supernatural revenge fantasy and one part deep dive into the long term effects of sustained abuse. All in all, it’s a deeply disturbing horror/thriller. Frankly, I wouldn’t recommend it for the faint of heart. But if you like this kind of thing, you’ll really enjoy it."
What's your favorite horror movie of all time - or the one that scares you the most?
"There’s a Japanese film from the 90’s called Audition, directed by Takashi Miike. I haven’t seen in years and it’s really hard to find, I just remember the first time watching it, alone - a mistake, being one of the most genuinely creepy experiences of my life. Super slow burn but worth the payoff!"
A few years back, you also played Mack Thompson in the -cult favorite- "Z Nation" Syfy series. It seems that Mack and Addy have gained quite a fan following since the show ended. There is even a companion prequel series for Netflix. Would you ever be interested in reprising your role as Mack?
"I would reprise Mack any day of the week and twice on Sunday! That’s probably the most badass character I’ve ever had the chance to play and, frankly, it gave me more confidence as a person to be able to be that guy for a little while. That new show is gonna be awesome by the way. Z nation fans really should check it out."
What was the most interesting character that you ever played?
"That’s hard to say. One that comes to mind is the character I played in a film called All the Boys Love Mandy Lane with Amber Heard. I was just coming off a TV series called Joan Of Arcadia, which was a very good and very wholesome show on CBS. Mandy Lane was my first deep dive into an extremely dark, deeply disturbed character. It was the first of many and really kick started me in that direction for years to come."
Photo: Joe Scarnici/Getty Images
You seem a bit political on your Twitter account - any candidates looking good to you out there for 20/20?
"Look, I doubt many people care about my political opinions. I talk about it so much online, not to get people to think like me, but to get them to THINK. To CARE. We can’t get more than half of this country to vote & I find that unconscionable. “The price good men pay for indifference is to be ruled by evil men.” I have a visceral disdain for hate and injustice and the ONE THING keeping those forces so prevalent in our society is apathy. We control the levers of power, collectively, and we refuse to take them. In order for democracy to function properly, it requires ALL of us. So I just do my part to try to get people to give a fuck so we can create a better world. Anyway, Kamala Harris is my first choice, but I will be voting for whoever has the best chance to get this very dangerous current occupant out of the White House."
Who would you absolutely love to work with on a film?
"Of course, there are dozens of people I would love to work with just off the top of my head. Frankly, I’ve been lucky enough to work with some of the greats already - Glenn Close, Ryan gosling, Alfred Molina, Ian McKellan, I could go on. Hell, I was in acting class with Octavia Spencer when I was 14. I’ve always been really drawn to the work of Anthony Hopkins. There’s such depth in his work but it’s coupled with ease and simplicity. There’s a joy in his process that shines through in everything he does. I would love to be around that, seems like a really fun energy to work with."
Playing Mike Newton in the Twilight saga was and still is a huge part of your career. What was that time in your life like when the 'Twilight frenzy' swept over the world?
"It was like a hurricane, a temporary taste of what it’s really like to be a part of the pop-culture zeitgeist. Super intense. In the same day, I could go from being adorned by hundreds of screaming fans to having my picture end up on some blog, followed by 1000 comments ripping apart every aspect of my physical appearance and personality. And I wasn’t even one of the big players in the franchise! To be honest, I don’t know if I could’ve handled much more than that at that point in my life. I adore twilight fans and I’m very grateful to have been a part of those movies, please don’t misunderstand. I’m just saying there are two sides to every coin. At the same time, from my involvement in those films, I was able to spearhead a fundraiser to build a clean-water well in a developing community and also had the chance to visit with US and NATO troops and their families in Germany through the USO. So all in all, it was an incredibly positive and blessed experience and I am extremely grateful
Have you taken any cool friendships away with you from that cast and crew?
"I was closest to my little high school clique, at least initially. Christian Serratos moved to Atlanta to be in The Walking Dead, so I haven’t seen her in years. And of course, Anna Kendrick went on to become one of the top movie stars in the world. Justin Chon and I are still good buddies and we stay in touch. Also, I’ve run into Chaske Spencer, Daniel Cudmore and Jackson Rathbone in recent years, all really good guys. It’s always nice to run into Twilight alum."
If you weren't acting, what would you be doing?
"I could come up with some BS answer but the truth is, I have no idea. I’ve been doing this since I was 10 years old, so I really don’t know anything else."
You and your wife are involved in a project called "The Thirst Project". You seem very passionate about it on social media. Can you tell us about this project to help bring more awareness to our readers?
"Absolutely, thank you for asking about that! Thirst Project is the world’s largest youth oriented clean water organization. They travel across America speaking at high schools and colleges, engaging young people to get active and make a difference, and it works! Over the last 10 years, students have raised $10 million and as a result we’ve gotten clean water to nearly half a million people. There are many issues in this world that are complex, this is not one of them. There are 600 million people without clean water and Thirst Project has a very effective, relatively cheap and super simple way of providing long-term clean water for communities in desperate need. I love everything about this organization and I will be working with them as long as the global water crisis continues."
What is your definition of "cool"?
"Merit-based confidence. People who have put in their 10,000 hours, who have the life experience to warrant their self-assuredness. There’s something to be said for “fake it til you make it,” or acting like you own the place or frankly, not having the self-awareness to know any better. But I like the people who have put in the time and earned their swagger. Then, blanket all of it with humility and gratitude. Walking the tight-rope of BEING the shit, KNOWING you’re the shit and then letting it go, understanding that ultimately it’s not about you. You’re in service to something greater than yourself. That’s cool."
has played so many characters throughout the years. You would think that an actor who works this much would only be a vessel waiting for the next personality to take him on - but Michael is the opposite of exactly that. Beyond the cameras and stages, he, himself is overflowing with character. He has learned a lot from his work and experiences and he seems to see things as they truly are. Michael is real.
He has integrity - And nothing represents 'cool' more than that.
- M & J Shepherd