M I C H A E L   T R U C C O 


Interview} John Russo

Photographs by} John Russo 

Styling by} Ettore Toscani

Grooming by} Laly Zambrana

Location} Santa Barbara, California 

Produced by} Ken Waller at Photohouse Productions


JR: Tell us about your latest project and about your character in the new BET+ series “Average Joe.”  How did this role come about?

MT:  Average Joe is a darkly comedic, pulse-quickening, action-thriller, rollercoaster ride with a family-centric story at its very heart. It’s an exciting “what-would-you-do-in their-shoes” one-hour weekly series that’s gonna grab the audience right from the beginning and keep them coming back to see just what the hell can possibly come next!

This project ended up on my radar late last summer, and I knew from the first reading of the script written by the insanely talented Robb Cullen, that this was something I wanted to be a part of. I play Benjamin Tuchawuski, nicknamed “TOUCH”. He’s one of Joe’s longtime best friends and also happens to be a beat cop in the Highland Park PD. He’s got a bit of a dark side that will reveal itself throughout the course of the season. He’s a little bit of ‘damaged goods,’ if you know what I mean.  I once read a quote from a famous actor’s biography that basically said, when you pick up a script and read a particular character that you can’t see ANYONE else possibly playing than yourself, then you must go after it and fight like hell to play that role. This was the case with TOUCH. I knew I had to play this role. It really spoke to me.
JR: From when you started your career, what is the one thing in Hollywood that you think has changed for the best and changed for the worst?
MT: A change for the best recently in our industry is diversification and wider representation seen on the screen, both big and small. Entertainment is becoming more representative of the general population and recognizing the viewing audience. Relatability is an essential ingredient to good story telling. Everyone is always looking for characters in films, TV series and on stage that they feel reflect themselves in some way.  There is still a long way to go in fully realizing a truly diverse entertainment industry but I applaud the progress made thus far.
This is an industry that was founded on creativity.  A change for the worst is the corporatization and of the studio/network/streamer business model. I have no problem with a company striving for business excellence, but right now it tends to suppress creativity and therefore the ability to entertain.
JR: In a profession that is not known for its stability, you have consistently worked throughout your career. What do you think are the key factors that keep you in the game? 
MT: I’d say adaptability and tenacity are essential to longevity in this business. You have to be able to roll with the motion of the ocean. That, and an unwavering belief in yourself and your journey. And that is always easier said than done, I know! But I strive for positivity and gratitude every single day. And I practice manifestation, which is essentially positive thinking and optimism. Again, easier said than done. There’s a great documentary out right now about the life of Arnold Schwarzenegger. He is the quintessential example of manifestation! He could teach a master class on the subject. I always told myself that I would not be content to be merely a spectator of my fate, but rather, I prefer to be an architect of my destiny. And I work everyday at maintaining that mission.
JR: As you mature in your career, do you find yourself gravitating towards certain roles?

MT: Yes, definitely. I’m leaning into my age more. That is to say, I am becoming more comfortable with the inevitable. Again, there lies the adaptability. As I mature in my life and career, more “character” type roles are presenting themselves to me, and I welcome them. I find that there is more meat and gristle on the bones of these characters recently, and that excites me creatively.

JR: Of all the characters you have played, is there one role that standouts out to you?
MT: It would be difficult for me to single out any ONE role. I have a fondness for many of the roles I’ve had the privilege to play over the years. There are certainly standouts that have had an impact on the course of my career.   Most notably, ‘Samuel T. Anders’ from the series BATTLESTAR GALACTICA comes to mind. That show put me on a whole different trajectory and was one of the most gratifying experiences I’ve ever had in this business. I loved playing ‘Tae Kwon Doug’ in the short-lived Netflix series DISJOINTED. That was a total departure for me. I’m particularly fond of ‘Touch’ in the above-mentioned AVERAGE JOE and hope we get to keep exploring how that character will evolve. One role that I’m very proud of and look forward to sharing is in the upcoming THE FALL OF THE HOUSE OF USHER. This may be one of my all time favorite characters I’ve gotten to play thus far.
JR: Is there an actor you have not worked with in your career that you would like to work with and why?

MT: How much time do we have?! The list is almost impossible to pare down. I’ve been very fortunate to get to work with some pretty remarkable living legends over the years: Edward James Olmos in BATTLESTAR GALACTICA, Kathy Bates in DISJOINTED, Nicolas Cage in NEXT.

But of course there will always be actors that I would love to get a chance to share a scene with. Actors who deliver remarkable, can’t-take-your-eyes-off-of-them kind of performances everytime they appear on screen. Christian Bale, Denzel Washington, Meryl Streep are just a few that immediately come to mind. But there are SO MANY more. I look forward to any and all opportunities that are coming my way.
JR: What can you tell us about your role in the upcoming Netflix series “Fall of the House of Usher?”  How did you get involved with this project?  
MT: Not much, I’m afraid, as the details of the project are being kept pretty close to the vest right now. But I can tell you that it is going to be an eight episode limited series for Netflix that will premier sometime this fall. As the title would suggest, it is based on the short stories and works of Edgar Allan Poe and it is going to be an absolute blast from start to finish. Mike Flanagan and Trevor Macy have once again captured lightning in a bottle with this production. That’s how I got involved actually, through my relationship with Mike and Trevor. I am fortunate enough to be a part of what is affectionately known as the “Flanaverse”. This is my fourth collaboration with them. (Previously, HUSH, MIDNIGHT MASS, and MIDNIGHT CLUB).
And while I can’t reveal any details about my character, I will just say that this is one of the best written characters that I’ve ever been trusted with and had the opportunity of playing.
JR: If you had to choose your favorite place on earth, where would it be?

MT: Some of my fondest memories as a kid were from my time spent going to a ranch up in Northern California with my dad. A big sprawling cattle ranch near Orland called Rolling Oaks Ranch. It’s as near to Heaven as anyplace on Earth I can think of.

To learn more about Michael follow him at @themichaeltrucco