Interview: Darcy Michael

If you punch his name into a Google search bar, most of the pictures that come up for Darcy Michael are of a round, smiley dude whos always wearing a cap of some sort and sporting his trademark black frames. But youll also notice the large splay of Michaels grinning faces speckled with a few images here and there of a noticeably slimmer, bald guy, beaming with the same spectacle-clad gaiety. Funny enough, gaiety is exactly the word that Michael would use to describe himself.

A veteran in the Canadian comedy circuit, Michael has performed with the likes of Canuck comedian staples like Debra DiGiovanni, Harlan Williams and the Kids in the Hall sketch troupe. Although hes been in the comedy biz for quite some time, Michaels career took a drastic transformation in the last year or so after he shed most of his signature features. Now 120 pounds lighter and sans snow boarder hair and burly beard, Michael came fresh off the heels of his trans-Canada One Skinny Bitch comedy tour to star in his second feature film Lloyd the Conqueror.

Directed by Michael Peterson and starring Brian Posehn and Canadian accolades like Harlan Williams and The Trailer Park Boys Mike Smith, you may not quite recognize Michael in this wacky comedy about live action role playing (LARPing), but you sure as hell wont forget him. We sat down with Darcy Michael to chat about his recent film role as a unicorn, hot boxing dressing rooms and what his first LARPing siege was really like.

 

Dork Shelf: Hard to believe that in a movie about LARPing, any one character could take the cake for being the weirdest, but you obviously play one of the wackiest characters in this film.

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Darcy Michael: Its a brief appearance, but its a fun one to have on the resume. Ive played a unicorn since then, as well. Lloyd the Conqueror inspired the second movie, its a short and its basically about the same character. One of the writers on Lloyd was inspired to learn more because the Unicorn was never in the movie originallythey wrote the part for me. I was originally supposed to play Mike Smiths part, but then they got Mike Smith. Then I was going to play Brian Posehns, but then they got Brian Posehn. Then I was going to play Harlan Williams, but then they got Harlan. Then I get the script and Im like unicorn? What the fuck are you thinking? And sure enough, there I was

DS: Is there such a thing as being able to play a unicorn in real life LARPing?

DM: No, no, not at all. I think Im blazing that trail all on my own.

DS: Trend setter huh?

DM: (Laughs) Yeah I guess eh? Its a pretty random one, but I think it was the right level of quirky for the movie. And it was just balls out funny to play.

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DS: Youve been acting on TV for quite some time, but I understand Lloyd is only your second feature film. What was the transition like?

DM: Yeah, that was my second featurethe first kind of real set experience where I wasnt just on set for a day. It was really fun, between hanging out with Brian, Mike and Harlan it felt like I was just fuckin around and there just happened to be cameras. We were just partying the whole time we werent filming you know? When we werent on screen we were hot boxing the dressing rooms. It was a frat house for sure.

DS: Youve said that conventional labels dont apply to you. What are some things youre typically labeled as?

DM: Ah, well I think people either throw me into the stoner-comic thing or the gay-comic thing. I think were all labeled at some point. When I was bigger, it was harder to label where I kind of fit in, especially in the gay community because I did not want to be known as a bear. I think its such a creepy term in every way, especially because my husbands last name is Bear and so when we got married he was like are you going to take my name? and I was like Im not going to look like this and be Darcy Bear. I avoid sticking to any type label in any sense, but I think the skinnier I get, the gayer I get.

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DS: Theres probably been a great reaction to your transformation, but has anything about it been bad? Has it changed your stage presence?

DM: Oh for sure. Ive found my bigger gay friends have been apprehensive to the new me. Especially on this tour this year Ive noticed people coming to shows and afterwards theyre like wheres big fat Darcy? And Im like Im sorry, I wanted to live, I didnt want to die! But I think all in all people realize that I wanted to be healthy and had to do it. But I lost half my act, you know? The whole curve of what made me funny was not telling the audience until halfway through that Im gay. It doesnt have to be a big reveal anymore, just a confirmation, like yeah, your suspicions were right!

DS: Did you do any LARPing research for your role?

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DM: Im the worst. I was so unprepared and I didnt even read the script until we started filming. I didnt even know it existedI thought it was something they made up just for this movie, but I did look into it. I Googled it and realized, wow, you can LARP everywhere. Its a very interesting concept to me. I couldnt quite grasp it at the time. But now that Ive seen the movie and seen the reaction, especially from LARPers– people are really digging it that are into that scene. But yeah, its comedy gold you know? I always say its a game that virgins play. Theyve got to play something.

DS: What was it like filming the siege scenes? Did you get a taste of what LARPing is really like?

DM: It was tough actually. The hardest thing was that I was so out of shape, and sick at the time. The scene where Mike Smith and I run at each other and have the big battle? It was so hard to film because wed do one take and I wouldnt be able to breathe for twenty minutes, so wed have to wait. When we finished that movie I was like I am not going to be that guy anymore.

Mike had a really difficult time to because we were both really heavy smokers at the time. But it was fun to watch, because they had helicopters to film some of the shots and it was a very independent movie. A lot of people came together in Calgarythey have a really great film community in Calgary that I didnt know existedso that part of it was great. We took over park for a week, but the weird thing was, and you can see it in the movie, the City wouldnt let them close the jogging path for filming, so in the battle scenes you can see people just jogging by.

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DS: Ive heard you say a couple times that you tend your garden in your spare time. What do you really grow in there?

DM: I live outside of Vancouver and I do have some plants, but we dont get enough sun so we took them to my friends parents place. Weve cultivated. We had a good crop. But I have Rheumatoid arthritis and Fibromyalgia so Im actually medicinal license holder, so I dont have to prove anything to anybody. Im allowed to grow my weed and smoke it. Actually Im probably not because Im really bad with paper work. Years ago I was licenced, but I dont think I am anymore. But fuck it, its weed, who cares? But Im a big gardener, I grow a lot of vegetablesIm really gay that way.

DS: Im sure thousands of people have already asked you and will continue to ask you about your weight loss. Instead, I wanted to know: What food do you miss eating the most?

DM: Oh, I, uh, McDonalds. I have Celiac disease, so I cant have Gluten. But I would love a Big Mac, thats what I miss. I would love a double Big Mac, or a Whopper, or a Pizza, or anythingno KFC. Thats what I miss, just the skin though not the chicken.

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