Exclusive Interview with Stefan Michaels, Writer of Upcoming Film “Innocent Candy” and Director of Clock Tower Films

Stefan Michaels is a British Actor, Writer and Comedian, and he serves as Director of Clock Tower Films.  Born in Skegness, Lincolnshire, Stefan began his career as a successful comedian. He went on to appear on numerous television shows such as, “The Michael Barrymore Show” (ITV), “The Big Breakfast” (Channel 4), “The Trisha Show” (ITV) and “So You Think You’re Funny” (ITV2).

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Stefan Michaels (Photo Credit: Michael Pollard)

A three times semi-finalist in the UK National Songwriters Competition, Stefan worked with the UK West End cast of “Dirty Dancing” to write lyrics and characters for a new west end Musical entitled “Hell-Sing”. The musical premiered at the Bloomsbury Theatre in London’s West End and starred “Shona Lindsay”, the cast of Dirty Dancing, and Stefan himself. A credited lyricist in the musical Stefan penned many of the character’s and played his own creation “Gordon Bennett- Mild Schizophrenic” in the production to critical acclaim.

Stefan trained as an actor with David Johnson television and Theatre School. Responsible for training some of the biggest names in the TV and Film industry including “Dame Judi Dench”, “Anna Friel” and “Michael Palin”.

His first acting break came on the hit Channel 4 Television series called “Hit the Road Jack” featuring comedian Jack Whitehall.

Since then Stefan has appeared as the same character in several episodes of the hit ITV drama “Emmerdale”. He plays Doctor Kirk Jackson in the SKY TV series “Nurse Who Kill” and has also appeared in the top ITV soap “Coronation Street”. He is the current face of the 2018 “Legal and General” commercials and the ITV4 Television Idents. He has fronted several commercials including the lead in the 2014 Costcutter World Cup commercial.

Stefan has appeared in numerous Independent films such as “Size8”, “The Hit”, “Pumpkins”.

Stefan is the writer of the new British Feature Film “Innocent Candy”, the first from his production company that he co-owns with close friend and fellow actor Stacey Gough. Stefan also features in the movie. He has received critical praise for the script from top Industry professionals such as, “Brad Rushing” (DOP to Eminem and George Michael), “Danielle Harold”, (BBC1 EastEnders actress), and the manager of top UK actress “Michelle Keegan” who was keen for Michelle to play a part in the movie but unable to match up filming dates.

 Stefan is represented by Emily Maguire at Reflections Talent Agency

Meet the Artist: NY Elite Interview with The Multi-Talented Stefan Michaels

NY Elite: What projects are you currently working on?

Stefan Michaels: I am the writer of a new British Feature Film called “Innocent Candy”. We have a stellar cast and crew, from television, film and theatre breathing life into this script and I am extremely proud of the team assembled.  I co-own Clock Tower Films with my long-time friend and fellow actor, “Stacey Gough”. He is producer on Innocent Candy and we both also feature in the film. As an actor I am soon to air on SKY TVs “Nurses Who Kill” as Dr Kirk Jackson and I am the face of the 2018 British “Legal and General” commercials.

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Stefan Michaels on Dr Kirk Jackson in“Nurses Who Kill” on SKY TV

NY Elite: What is the new film about?

Stefan Michaels: Its about redemption, love, second chances and the notion that it is “never too late”. Set against a backdrop of violence, our two main Characters are villains and work in the criminal underworld of London. Both have completely separate back-stories but both have been touched with the pain of regret and loss. When one of the characters rescues a young girl and flees with her to the sanctuary of a remote coastal resort, he is faced with the prospect of acting as a surrogate father to the girl until he can get her to safety.

Along with his close friend, “Molly”, he begins to see a life that he once knew and lost and the opportunities to put right the past and change his life. But his partner is a tortured soul. A man who also seeks redemption but his twisted beliefs of religion, his pain and torment from years of abuse as a child and his sadistic ways taint his views on right and wrong. Both men will make decisions but will both men be Innocent?

I am keen to support Women in film and the @ERA50_50 campaigns. We have a female director (Jane Sanger) and two excellent female DOPs ( Dagmar Scheibenreif and Magda Kowalczyk ) creating the vision on screen. We also currently have a 50/50 split of male and female characters in the movie. 

NY Elite: What is different about being in the writers chair with this project?

Stefan Michaels: Ok so this is the 12th draft of the film that I’ve written. The biggest thing that I have learnt is that the script is always in a state of fluidity. The storyline and the meanings never change, but the words get played with, chopped, adjusted. Read throughs are essential to hear how the story plays out and the biggest challenge is to quickly adapt the script to suit the actors and the scene but without losing the definition of the scene, the reason why it is in the film. I have always believed that feedback is a gift and I am a writer who is very keen to listen to other peoples points of view. Sometimes I agree and sometimes I don’t. But listening is key.

NY Elite: Who are the film’s stars and which actors stood out?

Stefan Michaels: I don’t believe that a film should have “stars”. And I hope that the actors and actresses agree that there are no “Stars”. We are all actors, actresses and we have all struggled, worked hard, won battles and lost battles. We are all equally talented and have no egos.  I will only work with people that share that view.

All of our cast share this ethic and are excellent. Clearly we have “named” actors/actresses in the movie. The ones that have greater exposure and the public will know. John Altman, Danielle Harold, Antony Costa and Edward Peel all fit that bill. And can I say that all of these people have been supportive, down to earth and great to work with. Real team players which is as it should be.

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Actor Stefan Michaels in SIZE8 Film

NY Elite: What makes a film great for you? Are there certain qualities that make a film better for you?

Stefan Michaels: There are so many qualities that go into making a film that, put together, make a film great. Technically, as a professional, you can critique the direction, the way the film is shot, acting, soundtrack etc. But they are some of the ingredients that need mixing together to make a superb film. Often, when the film takes you on a journey from start to finish and you get to then end and think, “yes”, then you probably never even noticed the separate ingredients. In fact, if you watch a film and notice the ingredients then the film itself probably hasn’t done it job.

For me, firstly, you have to accept what type of film you have chosen to watch. A drama, horror, Disney, comedy etc. Like with food, you buy into the genre because you want a specific taste experience. Then, within that drama you can judge. If a film has immersed you into the journey, the characters, the story and the emotions within its genre, giving you the taste experience you wanted at the end then it’s a great film. When it ticks that box then I would want to watch it again but with a technical eye to observe how this was done.

NY Elite: What have you learned since your first film?

Stefan Michaels: Well this is my first full feature film that I’ve written so I’m learning all the time. To be honest, whatever part you play in any aspect of the production I believe you have to be learning all the time. What I have learned though, from the producer side, is that you have to have to have a lot of patience and good control over budgets!!

NY Elite: Have you thought about acting in your movies or in general?

Stefan Michaels: I am an actor. I have done many UK TV shows, ITV Emmerdale, Coronation Street, SKY TVs Nurses Who Kill, and many Commercials, (I am in the new 2018 British Legal and General commercials). I have acted in many films and shorts and am also in Innocent Candy. I trained with a guy called “David Johnson” in Manchester England. He is responsible for training the likes of “Dame Judi Dench”, “Anna Friel” and “Michael Palin”, to name a few.

NY Elite: Top 3 favorite films/projects you have been involved in?

Stefan Michaels: In no order: – ITV Emmerdale (I played the same character in a number of episodes and the cast and crew are so friendly and helpful), SIZE8 – A short film where I get to play alongside my close friend Stacey Gough – really enjoyed playing Gary in the new L&G British Commercial. Gary and his brother are the comedy duo in the family and it was great to be able to play around and have fun on set.

NY Elite: Who were the biggest inspirations for your career?

Stefan Michaels: Robin Williams. I loved this guy. I am a stand-up comedian as was Robin. The way that he moved from comedy performances into beautiful dramas such as “Dead Poets Society” and “Awakenings” showed his brilliant diversity. I remember having the album to “Good Morning Vietnam” as a kid and learning all the monologues Robin gave. I have had my struggles with mental health over the years and I was devastated at the loss of Robin. So very sad.

I am also a musician and vocalist and so, as a writer, I am inspired by the works of John Lennon, Bob Dylan and David Bowie. I love the way that they incorporate things into their pieces that shouldn’t be there, and I always try to do this with my writing. I try and put humor into all my writing and I am a big believer in taking the audience in a different direction, doing the unexpected, a bit like the Twilight Zone or Hitchcock could do.

NY Elite: What do you enjoy most about your job, your career?

Stefan Michaels: I love immersing myself into the character and becoming a different person. I love performing. As a writer part of a crew, working with talented and interesting people, spending time with them and being part of a team is so much fun and very rewarding.

NY Elite: Do you express yourself creatively in any other ways?

Stefan Michaels: Yes, I am a song writer and a lyricist. Three times sei-finalist in the UK songwriters competition and a West End writer having written for a musical in the West End with the cast of Dirty Dancing.

NY Elite: What advice would you give to someone who wants to have a career in filmmaking?

Stefan Michaels: Be patient, work hard and don’t give up. Henry Ford once said “Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right”.

NY Elite: Are you working on your next project now?

Stefan Michaels: Yes, we have more in the pipeline at Clock Tower Films, but our priority is to be working on Innocent Candy for the foreseeable future.

NY Elite: What has been your personal key to success?

Stefan Michaels: Never quitting. Never giving up. Climb the walls in front of you but do it with a big smile and be polite and have manners. Never have an ego. People buy people.

NY Elite: Where can everyone keep up with you to learn more? …social media…website  

Stefan Michaels: Yes, please do connect with me:

Twitter – www.twitter.com/Michaelsstefan

Instagram – @stefanmichaels39

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/stefan.michaels.1?ref=br_rs

Connect with Innocent Candy: Twitter www.twitter.com/Innocentcandyuk

Facebook for Innocent Candy: https://www.facebook.com/innocentcandy2018/

Talent Agency: https://www.reflectionstalentagency.co.uk/

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