Welcome back to Part 2 of our exclusive interview with Michael Papajohn, stunt man, actor, writer and producer. We wanted to know more about working on the set of NCIS Los Angeles and Michael was happy to comply!
Can you tell us about your experience on Episode 1, Endgame?
I played an Iranian, part of a group, with a lot of action, foot chase, gun fire, and I can’t believe how much action we did for a televisions show. Looks like a big budget movie instead of a TV show. A good chase sequence, explosions and I was very impressed by the actors and what they are willing to do without complaining. They do a lot of their own stunts too…Daniella and Eric were great and they were always willing to go over it again…and in between takes they were joking and having fun. But you can see that if Troy will let them, they will do as much action as Troy will let them. They want to do the fights, the running, the driving and I can see why directors like working with the series regulars like that and it’s much easier to film and not cut away. Daniella was having fun not only with the extras but the fans who were watching.
Why is this set so different to work?
Every set you show up on has a different energy depending on the film or show and especially if you show up as a guest star and you can see how the cast treats you since you are not a so-called regular, but you can tell the success of the show by how they treat the guest stars…not only the cast but the crew because there are different directors for every episode but you can see how the cast and crew stay together and welcome the new guest and NCIS Los Angles makes you feel like you are part of the team.
They are great with the general public too. You see Eric, Daniella and LL and Chris, you see them really open to not only people who are working that day but people who are around the show and the public watching the shooting. It’s not even like going to work when you are there….because it’s really a team effort. Even the wardrobe, hair, make up, are great! It’s a first class operation.
I remember going to wardrobe and everyone is so nice and they have the same energy. It goes over on to the set too … having fun, not taking yourself too seriously and having a good time. And it’s like that way even if you are not there working every day on the show which is a huge compliment to them.
What makes it so special?
You can see why the show’s successful and it’s on the fourth season now. It’s my third time to be on the show and I worked on it last year and you can tell from last year to this that it is still a very successful show and you can tell by the way they work together and being a family. I was on other shows and you can see why they didn’t last too long but they are talking about this show continuing for a long, long time.
So what’s next for Michael Papajohn?
I have some movies coming out right now like the Bourne Legacy. I had the opportunity to go to New York and go for a month to work with Jeremy Renner, who is awesome. I love the way he works so I enjoyed working on that film. I’m in a movie coming out called Gangster Squad with Sean Penn which is based on a true story, I love the old wardrobe and I have a really nice part in that movie.
I have also written a one man show with Larry Moss, something that happen to me on the set of Titanic and it changed my life and I’m writing about it. I’m a film maker at heart, so I’ve got other creative things going….it’s great to be a stunt man and be a gun for hire, but it’s also exciting to be producing when you got a story to tell and getting the story made.
I think it’s the best business in the world. It’s competitive but like I said, I feel like I’m 7 or 8 years old and get to choose what I want to be for Halloween, a cowboy or an Indian? I love it!
Michael just moved back to his original home base of Baton Rouge where the entertainment industry is thriving and growing. Although he can always go back to Los Angeles, it’s nice for now being close to family and home. NCIS:LA Magazine would like to thank Michael for taking time out from his busy schedule to speak with us. It was a joy getting to know him and we invite him to stop back any time for an update! Thanks Michael!