In an interview with Variety, Michael Stahl-David named Tony Kushner and David Simon as the persons he looks to for inspiration. He told the interviewer that people who make political art that entertains are inspiring to him.
One of Michael's dream projects would be to collaborate with Iraqi refugees in making a film. He wants to show the humanity on both sides of the occupation through the film.
Michael Stahl-David named Dan Eldon, a photojournalist killed in Somalia, as the real-life person he would most like to play in a movie.
Before becoming an actor, one of Michael's jobs was pedaling tourists around midtown New York as a pedicab driver. This was his job right before getting a part in NBC's The Black Donellys.
Michael got a good start in his career by studying at Lincoln Park High School, an institution well-known for its drama program. According to Michael, casting directors would come to his school in Chicago, allowing him and his schoolmates a chance to audition for movies, pilots and commercials.
When asked by Variety who he was the best actor in Hollywood, Michael answered that Daniel Day-Lewis was the best, citing the latter's commitment as one of the reasons.
Both of Michael Stahl-David's parents are physicians. His civic-minded parents are currently practicing medicine in their family's hometown of Chicago.
Michael has a role in an independent movie, entitled The Project. In the movie, he appears on-screen as a character in a documentary-style story, much like his last movie, Cloverfield.
In a Variety article, Michael was asked to name books that meant a lot to him. He cited John Steinbeck's East of Eden as one of these books.
For the play The Overwhelming, Michael had to do a book report. Director Max Stafford-Clark assigned the each cast member a book about the tragedy in Rwanda. Michael's book was Seasons of Blood: A Rwandan Journey by BBC journalist Fergal Keane. He made a report about the book and shared it with the rest of the company.
Michael used to work as a barista at a Starbucks near Lincoln Center in New York City.
Michael Stahl-David stands at 5 feet 10 inches tall or 1.78 meters.
Michael graduated from Lincoln Park High School in 2000 and went on to attend Columbia College Chicago.
Michael has two younger brothers.
In 2006, Michael appeared in the Paper Mill Playhouse's Broadway production of The Diary of Anne Frank as Peter Van Daan.
Michael appears in the following movies:
- New Port South as Rossetti in 2001
- Uncle Nino as Craig in 2003
Michael Stahl-David: (talking about the speculation on Cloverfield) It's interesting to me how much people like to solve a puzzle, and how much you can make something about something that it's not and find evidence to support it. You can prove anything almost.
Michael: (about filming in New York) It's like another character. It just does so much for me.
Michael: (talking about the public hype and speculation surrounding Cloverfield) It's interesting to me how much people like to solve a puzzle, and how much you can make something about something that it's not and find evidence to support it.
Michael: (On who he looks to for inspiration) Tony Kushner. David Simon. People who make political art that entertains.
Michael: (On his last year of high school) I wasn't really on track. I was messing around with graffiti art and wasn't sure I wanted to be an actor anymore. I thought I wanted to be a history teacher.
Michael: (On his stint on The Black Donnellys) One of the greatest things was learning to feel comfortable on a set.
Michael: (on his past job as a Starbucks barista) I wanted to work in the basement restocking instead of upstairs dealing with extra foam.
Michael Stahl-David: (on working on plays) I feel very safe on stage. I like the environment of a rehearsal room, with just the cast and the director and the stage manager.
Michael: (on not being able to talk about Cloverfield before the release) I think I've come to really appreciate the value of saying less. Even now, I'm thinking, "I need to come up with some shorter answers to these questions." I tend to blab, but withholding is a very effective way of generating interest.
Michael: (Talking about the play, The Overwhelming) My family isn't tuned into pop culture so they didn't care that much about The Black Donnellys. But a story like this that has meaning and is likely to spark dialogue is exciting to them.
Michael: (on Cloverfield) I think in some ways it's as much a survival movie as it is about the monster.
Michael: (talking about how he got the part of Rob in Cloverfield and how he felt about the role) I made a tape in New York, sent it to L.A., and didn't necessarily expect to hear anything about it. Although I did feel like the character was an easy fit for me. Sometimes you go out for stuff, and you're like, "Really? Me? Okay." And this was something where I was like, "Yeah, okay, I can do this."
Michael (Talks about how the roles that they play on the show are the real life roles for the actors): My coming in late actually made me feel like the youngest and also being the least experience in doing TV and film stuff. My background is in theater and some of these guys have been working since they were kids. I didn't decide I wanted to act until I was 18 so that actually helped me.
Michael (Talks about the relationship with all the brothers): It's so true to life and I think it's just brilliant and amazing that it's captured like that. There are moments where I'm like, "Oh I feel like my little brother wanting to be included." (Talks about the bonding experience between the actors) During the pilot we went and did that. We knew that the more time we spent together the more there would be subtleties on film.
Michael (Talks about his audition for The Black Donnellys show): At my audition Bobby brought me right into it. It happened really fast because someone had this role and then got fired so they had to get somebody else. I went in and got cast that afternoon. It was crazy.
Michael (Talks about his character on The Black Donnellys.): Sean is the baby. Sean is the most protected because of that. Life isn't easy for him up until this starts.