"Nerdy kid" from Rocky River, OH, stars in Hollywood film

April 06, 2013, 12:00 AM   |   posted by in Filmmakers

feifferchernusjm.jpg

Encouragement from a teacher was key. Michael Chernus, actor in “He’s Way More Famous than You,” stumbled upon his profession when one of his teachers suggested he join his junior high school drama club. He was cast as Gandalf in his junior high production of "The Hobbit" and “never looked back.”

“I was hooked,” says Chernus. “I knew I had to do this acting thing for the rest of my life.”

After junior high in Rocky River, Ohio, he enrolled in a summer theater class at the Beck Center in Lakewood, Ohio. “And this is where it started to get really serious,” he says. A self-proclaimed “nerdy kid” found his calling in acting and the theater. “It gave me a sense of belonging, of community, of self-confidence and identity,” he says. “And there were cute girls!!”

After a few years of acting in community theater, he auditioned for Juilliard, the prestigious performing arts academy.

“And much to my amazement, I got in,” he says. “And I spent the next four years … at Juilliard working my ass off … learning more than I ever thought possible.”

After several roles in theater, he made his way to film. In his first film, he had three or four lines at the end of Adam Rapp's "Winter Passing." He continued doing plays in New York City, until Kirt Gunn “took a chance on me” and cast me as one of the leads in the independent film "Lovely by Surprise."

That’s when he started building his film resume.

But it was not an overnight success. It was tough, he warns those hoping to get into the business.

“If … you know deep down in your bones that you simply must be an actor … do whatever you can to be a part of something where you get to act.”

He’s a huge proponent of doing readings and workshops of new plays, and getting to know admirable writers. “Develop a deep and profound respect for the craft of acting and those who have come before you,” he says. “And then you eventually should probably move to New York or LA.”

But for those of us still in Cleveland, we get to live vicariously through this hometown boy. So if you are debating about seeing this film or another, Chernus has this advice: “You should see our film because I'm in it and I'm from Cleveland,” he says. “And, as you know, Cleveland loves all things Cleveland.”

And he hopes audiences will love the film, especially since it will be his first time seeing it with an audience. “Here we go!!!” he replies.

– Anne M. DiTeodoro
Photo: Halley Feiffer and Michael Chernus. Photo by Janet Macoska.

PDF  Download Related PDF [1.7 MB]

Related Screenings:
04/06/13 @ 7:25 PM – He's Way More Famous Than You
04/07/13 @ 2:45 PM – He's Way More Famous Than You

Permalink  [Permalink]

Download The Daily

Check out the latest festival highlights and goings on in the print edition of The Daily.

View Now

CIFF Tweets

What's your Festival method? #CLeFilmFest-goers let us in on how they plan their schedules: http://t.co/TdcC7A1408 #CIFF39 @ClevelandMag

a day ago   .   Reply   .   Retweet   .   Favorite

CIFF Facebook Posts

And here we go! CIFF members it’s time to head over to clevelandfilm.org and place your #CIFF39 ticket orders! Use code “Facebook” to receive $2 off each ticket purchase. Tickets go on sale to the general public in one week on Friday, March 6th. #CleFilmFest

a day ago   .   Link

CIFF on YouTube All Videos

Play

Between Two Films.

Play

CIFF 38 Daily Buzz Day 13 Wrap Up

Play

Meet the Filmmaker with Michele Josue, Judy & Dennis Shepard from "Matt Shepard is a Friend of Mine"

Tickets On Sale to the General Public Friday, March 6th >

Tickets On Sale to the General Public Friday, March 6th

CIFF39 tickets will go on sale to the general public Friday, March 6th at 11:00 a.m.

Tickets on Sale to Members Friday, February 27th >

Tickets on Sale to Members Friday, February 27th

CIFF39 tickets go on sale to MEMBERS ONLY February 27th at 11:00 a.m. Join or renew today!

Sign up for our email newsletter

go
  • facebook
  • twitter
  • instagram
  • youtube
  • flickr
  • foursquare
  • iphone
  • android