MICHAEL EVANS BEHLING FEATURED IN
LOOT & RIOT MAGAZINE
Ink Tone Swep
Images Sami Drasin
What’s the relationship between Spencer and Jordan? Are they competing for playing time, a girl, friends, or the attention of Jordan’s father? The Spencer and Jordan dynamic is more about the fact that all Jordan’s life he’s been trying to please his father as his son and as his star athlete. Then once Spencer comes to town, Jordan’s dad seems to give all the love and attention to Spencer. Jordan feels slighted by that. It causes certain insecurities to surface, and it lays the foundation for the developing relationship between Jordan and Billy for sure.
Edgy and real series such as American Crime, This Is Us, and now All American are sharing a focus on today’s teen with true life or death issues. Give me an example of how All American depicts this complexity. Kind of what we’re doing is addressing real world problems in an entertaining way, in a way that can be received and isn’t so gruesome. You’ll see that around the pilot episode. We hit these issues of race and violence faithfully. There is so much depth to the show, many of the episodes tackle some tough issues with strong scenes without it becoming too overwhelming. Every single one of these characters have something they are dealing with internally, an in-depth personal issue they will confront sooner or later in the show.
What kind of immense pressures Jordan must be under to help his dad make good on his offer to Spencer. I watched the trailer and there was a male best friend, female love interest, teammates, his father, and of course Spencer needing things from Jordan at different times. Talk a little about that if you will. It’s pivotal as I believe most teens feel this way. He really is under intense pressures, and like all of us, some of those pressures are self-inflicted. His main pressure is coming from Billy, his dad. Jordan’s a straight-A student, he’s team captain, the leader. So much is expected of him in every single role of his life, and there are many. To prepare for the role I had to tap into that high school mindset. I tapped back into my high school mind from a few years back. Jordan and I are similar in many ways. I ran track and field, played volleyball, played football, and I was under a lot of pressure from various things. I tried to identify with Jordan as much as possible.
Was acting your first passion, or did you stumble onto the stage and ultimately the screen like so many others who went on to be great? Growing up I was a goof ball (Laughs!). I couldn’t strongly consider a career in enertainment, because living in Indiana there wasn’t a lot of opportunity for that. The teachers I would approach seeking direction and advice in becoming an actor would tell me to pursue a real career, seek an actual job, as if acting wasn’t that. So I would say medicine and sports were my first two passions. After high school I enrolled at Indiana State, majoring in biology as a pre-med student. After two years I left school, put myself into acting classes and really applied myself to the acting craft. Immediately, I could tell this is what I wanted to do, and should be doing. Then I moved to LA a few months ago and was fortunate to land a great role.
Was there a specific film, or TV series, or character role that initially attracted you to acting? The Dark Knight. Christian Bale, Gary Oldman, Heath Ledger. The film was so well done, every character was the best version of what they needed to be to pull off a cinematic masterpiece and they achieved that. The storyline just kept twisting and twisting in an unpredictable way. I would say that was a turning point where I knew I wanted to contribute to and be a part of movies in the same way.
There is a reboot, remake, reprise theme going on in Hollywood. What film or TV series would you like to see make a comeback with you in the lead role? I would love to see a remake of The Office, but I wouldn’t want to be the lead. I’d rather work with a strong ensemble cast to make something special.
What in your estimation is the perfect breakout leading man, big budget film role for you? A breakout film role for me would be in an action film. Something along the lines of a young police officer working a high stakes job, with a big secret. Maybe he has a foot in both the justice system and the criminal life.
The current trend in music, particularly in hip-hop and alt-rock, has been to go the independent route. Maintaining that creative control and project ownership. Do you foresee there ever being a time when the indie film market is actually of greater embrace than studio films? What would it take for that to happen? I hear a lot about indie films at Sundance and other big indie film festivals, and they may not have the big studio budgets, but they are making some great films. More and more actors are putting aside the big money to go work on smaller indie projects, and if that continues I think indie will take over.