Actor Myk Watford is a Jack of all Cinema. His talents have brought him a plethora of diverse roles on and off the Silver Screen. Maybe the most recognizable would be the plethora of cop personas he’s played in shows like Law and Order: SVU, the CSI sagas, and NCIS. Watford has broken out of this mold with his newest upcoming thriller from Portal and DC Comics – The Kitchen, releasing this summer.
On top of his on-screen talents, Myk is also musically talented. He’s appeared in many Broadway and Off-Broadway productions. This has helped him skyrocket his career in many ways. If you want to see his musical skills, you can also check out his band in LA, Stumpwaller. Myk “Preacher Man” Watford, as he’s known in Stumpwaller, plays guitar and does vocals in this “rockabilly swamp rock” band as he describes it.
From his first role in his first-grade play to what made him decide to start the journey into show biz, his music on and off set, his typecasted cop roles to the newest horror film and his favorite moments in between, let’s get into the story and mind of Myk Watford.
iHorror Interview With Myk Watford
Ryan T. Cusick: You’ve played a police officer in just about every cop show on TV. What is it about the role of a police officer that draws you in?
Myk Watford: The benefits. Pays better than being a real cop and is a whole lot safer. No, honestly, I’ve played a lot of cops and I’ve played a lot of bad guys. I think everyone has a duality, ya know? A contradiction about them. For me, it’s probably always been the line between order and chaos that drew me in… love and hate… lawlessness and obedience. I think in a good story, both cop and criminal walk those lines between good and evil, sinner and saint. And that duality is probably what attracts me most about these kinds of roles.
RTC: How long have you been an actor? How did this all start for you?
MW: Well the first role I ever played was the big bad wolf in my first-grade play. Typecast from the start. But growing up the woods of Alabama, I really didn’t have much shot of being a child star. So about 10 years later, I saw my sister who was a great actor, in the high school’s production of “fame”. It was like the sky opened up and a light shone down on me. I said, “I can do that”. And so I did. I trained in classical theatre at the University of Utah under a brilliant man named Kenneth Washington. Studied Shakespeare in Washington DC, with Michael Khan, and then went to NYC to start a career. I moved up in the middle of a blizzard, literally had $40 in my pocket and just rolled the dice. I think I was probably too naive to know any better. Sometimes being naive can be a gift.
RTC: I had read that when you’re not acting you have performed in a band? Tell us more about that.
MW: Yeah! I have a band here in LA called Stumpwaller. You can find us at stumpwaller.com and on iTunes, Spotify, Facebook, all the usual places. We’ve been playing the LA area for a while now. Its a sort of revved up rockabilly swamp rock. It’s a lotta fun. I have some real badasses in my band. Grammy and Emmy winners. Some of The best players in LA. Very energetic show. I sort of have this “rock & roll preacher man” alter ego that kind takes over. It’s a lotta fun. We really get down. We go there. We’ve been lucky to get a lot of really good and loyal fans… it’s a very immersive experience and not really like anything you’ve probably seen in a rock ‘n’ roll show… Lotta fun… Definitely, something to check out if you’re in the LA area.
RTC: You have a new horror film coming out, Portal from Horrorhound Films. Can you tell us more about the movie and your experience working in horror as this marks the third horror film you’ve been in?
MW: Portal is the story of a low budget ghost hunting team, who are tired of chasing down the same old “haunts”, coming up empty-handed every time. So they decide to explore a mysterious mansion that’s been off-limits to the ghost hunting community for decades, and they end up finding a little more than that bargained for. I came into Portal a little late in the process. I had actually just gotten home from shooting True Detective, and I think I was at the zoo on a Sunday afternoon when I got a call from Chris Sergi, the producer. And when the producer calls you on Sunday… you know he’s serious. I think I was shooting just a few days after. It was one of those films where we didn’t have a lot of time, and we didn’t have a lot of money… But we had a great script, by Peter Dukes… and we had a lot of talent in front of the camera with Ryan Merriman, Jamie Tisdale, Najarra Townsend and myself, and a team with a solid vision behind the camera, who knew what to do with it all… we all worked long hours, but we were lucky in that the cast really enjoyed working together. We all got along fantastically and just loved making the movie together. Dean Alioto, the director, and Ignacio Walker, the DP, really got on the same page quickly and the look and feel really came together. I was very happy with how it turned out, and can’t wait until everyone gets to see it.
RTC: And that was filmed out in Los Angeles?
MW: Yeah, it was filmed out in LA in a crazy strange house up in the hills. We were like a family for a few weeks.
RTC: That sounds like fun.
MW: Yeah it was. When you got a good cast and you got a good group that actually like each other, you don’t always get that I’ll say but when you do it’s a lot of fun and it doesn’t feel like work.
RTC: I saw that Heather Langenkamp was in this as well, did you get to work with her at all?
MW: Yeah, she was in it and she also does makeup special effects now and her team did the effects for the movie and we got to work together, that was really cool. Her makeup design was also really cool as you would probably expect and it was fantastic to be around her and hear some of her stories of what she has experienced in the horror industry. She’s still doing it now but in a different role.
RTC: Your other two horror films: Trailer Park of Terror and Darkness Rising– Can you tell us about the movies?
MW: Sure. Darkness Rising was a movie I made with my friend Austin Reading. Austin is a great director and a super creative guy. The story follows the lone survivor of a brutal family massacre who revisits her childhood home on the eve of its destruction, and confronts her past, and reveals some horrifying secrets. Shot the whole thing in one location at this amazing house in one of the older neighborhoods around LA. Actually the same house they shot Six Feet Under in. Always love a good horror/mystery where the house is one of the characters… Home is something that we all attach a lot of feelings and nostalgia. It’s a very powerful tool in a movie. Especially horror. Trailer Park of Terror was a very cool film I did a few years back with the late Stephen Goldman directing. Stephen was a true visionary and created almost an entirely new genre with this movie. A weave of camp- horror- Grindhouse-zombie with an authentic dirty vintage rock ‘n’ roll kind of feel to it… It was something new. It’s based on the Imperium comic of the same name, that follows the exploits of the residents of Tophet Meadows Trailer Park, which happens to be comprised solely of satan spawned redneck demon zombies. More typecasting… I played “Roach” who was this guitar-slinging rockabilly singing, meth cooking zombie from hell. Roach was a real badass… I got to record some really cool music by Matt King and Alan Brewer, the music supervisor and composer. It was awesome stuff. They created such a great soundtrack, and I was grateful to be a part of that. Roach was always singing and playing the soundtrack throughout the movie and it was kind of like a dream come true in many ways, for me. Playing a role like that, being so connected to the music, which is another passion of mine, it was awesome. We had Drac studios doing the makeup, and unfortunately, they really don’t exist as one entity anymore, but were the Oscar-winning Team behind Mrs. Doubtfire, Bram Stoker‘s Dracula, and Passion of The Christ. Best guys in the business. And They went for it in this film. The makeup design was just incredible. I have never done anything with so much prosthetic makeup. It was about four hours into makeup and two hours out every day. A guy named Martin Astles did my make up, and Martin is just brilliant. You kind of have to see it to believe it. The movie and music cultivated a cult following and I’ve been astonished to see how much people really love Trailer Park of Terror and the character of Roach. I’ve had people send photos and fan art, even pictures of their “ Roach tattoos“ which is kinda crazy, ya know, seeing your face tattooed on someone else’s body… Ya don’t really know for sure what to think when you see that… But I can say it sure is an honor… And a bit of a responsibility I guess… Just hope I can live up to that…I was actually just talking with Alan and some of the guys involved with The Trailer Park of Terror today, and they told me that I could be the first to officially drop the news right here that there is another Trailer Park of Terror movie in the works. Not really allowed to say much more than that, but I can say that all those fans out there have really kept this story alive and that’s probably what led to the decision to make another one. So those of us who are a part of that really want to thank the fans for that!
RTC: Do you think you’ll want to do more horror in the future?
MW: Absolutely! I grew up watching horror with my mom, probably at too young of an age, really… The first Halloween movie made a big impression on me… Old Vincent Price movies… And I was always obsessed with the Twilight Zone. Not to mention the fans in this genre are just really loyal and cool, and I love meeting and talking to them. No better fans in the industry.
RTC: Do you have any aspirations of getting more involved behind the camera such as directing?
MW: I would love that. I’ve directed a lot of theatre in my day, and I’ve always believed that I am a better director than anything else. I mean it’s kind of what I do by nature… Tell other people what to do… I don’t know when that will happen, but I will definitely step behind the camera at some point, and I could even see myself moving more behind the camera than in front of the camera at some point… But that will happen when the time is right… right now I’m just grateful to have had a good career as an actor and I’m very much enjoying that.
RTC: Your IMDB credits are a mile long, that is wonderful! Do you have any funny or memorable moments that you could share with us from one of your films?
MW: Too many to name… I’ll tell you a couple that I always like to share: A few years ago I was doing an episode of the show Training Day, with Bill Paxton. Now you have to understand that I do a lot of guest star work, and in those scenarios, you’re kind of shuffled in and shuffled out… they treat me well, but That’s just the nature of the thing. I remember walking onto the set for my first shot, thinking I was there early and had the space to myself when suddenly I hear this voice “Myk Watford… wow man… you were great on Law and Order! I saw you in Breaking Bad and Justified… You’re really one hell of an actor! We’re lucky to have you here, man! Thanks for doing this!” And I turn around and Bill just sorta grabs me and gives me this big hug… really took me by surprise. It isn’t every day that a guest star hears that from the number one on a series as they are walking on to their set. Bill made a real impression on me. Not just as an actor, but as a person and an intellectual. That guy could tell you every important painter and sculptor for the last three centuries… Every Hollywood DP and director since the golden age. I mean he really loved art and loved what he did and he knew how to talk about and was really one of the most fascinating conversationalists I’ve ever met… He had an incredible knowledge of the history and scope of the craft. Another cool story happened just recently while working on The Kitchen. I was on the set, and you know, next to the video playback, there’s usually a tent with chairs set up for the actors to sit. Most of the chairs just have the word “cast“ printed on them, but the really the big stars, of course, always get a chair with their name on the printed on the back of it. Now I had been shooting for several days… and… No chair with my name on the back of it. I was like “cool… I get it… Lotta big stars in this movie…“ I’m fine to sit in one of the cast chairs… Well, a couple of days later I was walking by all the chairs heading over to craft services and something sort of catches my eye as I walk by all the chairs… I stop turn around and see… A chair with “Myk Watford – Little Jackie“ printed right on it… I mean it was a moment… I was so proud and kinda emotional… I was sort of standing there having this deep moment with my chair… When all the sudden I heard a laugh and I look and Melissa McCarthy is sitting in the next chair just dying… I mean she’s almost crying she’s laughing so hard… And she says “pretty cool, Huh?” And I said, “yeah… pretty cool“. It was kind of a bonding moment, And that’s something I’ll always remember. That’s a story I’ll always tell…
RTC: Your latest role is in an adaptation of a DC comic book, The Kitchen. What can you tell us about this project?
MW: The kitchen is a film based on the DC Comic/Graphic Novel of the same name as you mentioned. it follows The wives of a small Irish mob in 1970’s Hell’s Kitchen, NYC as they continue to run the business after their husbands are thrown in prison. It is the directorial debut of Andrea Berloff, who was nominated for an Academy Award for Best original screenplay, for Straight Outta Compton. Stars Melissa McCarthy, Tiffany Haddish, and Elisabeth Moss. I play Little Jackie, who is handling the business After the bosses get thrown in prison. He’s kind of a hotheaded bully who has always struggled for respect and always wanted to be the one in charge… And now that he has finally gotten the power, he has every intention of keeping it, no matter the cost. It was amazing working with Melissa, Tiffany, and Elisabeth. I mean they are just pros and are on top of their game like no one else right now. Those three women pretty much rule the world right now, and it was pretty cool work with them and just sort of watch them in their process as well… I always love working with and watching great actors. Andrea was also fantastic, as well, a real natural behind the camera. We had a great working relationship… Hit it off from the moment I auditioned… And I kind of knew right away that we were going to do this together. She is going to go on to do many many more amazing movies and I was very grateful to have been a part of this one. There’s been a great buzz around the movie and I have a feeling that people are going to like it a lot. It’s exciting. I mean, how can you go wrong with such an amazing cast and such an incredible director? I probably had more fun making that movie than just about anything I’ve done in a while, so I’m very excited about showing it to everyone!
RTC: What’s next for you?
MW: Well I try and do a lot of music in between film and television projects. I’ve been playing a lot of Stumpwaller shows and I also do a Johnny Cash show that I do called Big Cash & The Folsom 3, we just got back from a little tour. You can also keep an eye out for me on the show Elementary on CBS this season, and of course, Portal will be released in the fall, and The Kitchen will be released worldwide in theatres August 9.
RTC: Myk, thank you so very much for speaking to me today this was a real treat. The best of luck and we’ll keep our eye out for The Kitchen and Portal.
MW: No problem, thank you.