Michael Goorjian [Interview]

It’s been a few years since we spoke with SLC Punk writer/director James Merendino, but a lot of great things have happened since then. In that interview, we talked about the potential of a SLC Punk sequel coming to light. Well, since then, that film has been released, and to great acclaim I might add. So, upon the release of this beloved sequel, we wanted to jump back into that world a little bit. And who better to chat with than Heroin Bob himself, the great Michael Goorjian.

But, as we examined further into the world of Goorjian, we discovered that he has accomplished so much more than just being an iconic character in a brilliant indie film and it’s subsequent sequel. He is an Emmy Award winning actor, an accomplished novelist, and an overall brilliant human being. So, of course will talk SLC Punk as it is unavoidable and worthy of notice, but we also wanted to hit on some of his other amazing work, including a new novel entitled What Lies Beyond The Stars that is absolute MUST READ! And we will hear all about it in the words below. So please enjoy some great words from the amazing actor, writer, and so much more, Michael Goorjian!

When did you first realize you wanted to be involved in the world of acting or the creative world in general? Was it an early passion that drove you?

I started acting as a way of getting out of class. The principle at my JR. High made an announcement over the PA telling anyone interested in auditioning for a part in a local community theater production of Computer Crazy should to come to the front office. I went and ended up getting the part. Unfortunately, I didn’t realize that the rest of the cast were all senior citizens, and this very dorky play was going to be performed in front of schools all over town, including at my own school. Despite the humiliation of that first experience, I stuck with acting.

You developed a fanatic cult following for your amazing portrayal as Heroin Bob in the indie classic film SLC Punk. You were already an Award winning and established actor at this point, but this put you in a whole other realm it would appear. Is this a proper descriptor, or am I projecting? Basically, what was it like after becoming the man behind Heroin Bob?

Yeah, it’s weird for sure. There are people out there with tattoos of me on them. I actually saw one Heroin Bob tattoo on a very attractive woman’s back side – just a photo mind you.
Bob was definitely a very special character. Much of it had to do with the dynamic between me and Matt Lillard (great actor). But also, I think Bob is kinda the sacrificial lamb in the film, a Jesus character, who dies for all our sins.

I’ve had many people connect me throughout the years about how deeply important Bob was to them. How Bob help them get through tough shit, how Bob was like their best friend, etc. That for me is the greatest joy one can ever have as an actor.

And then all these years later, you returned to the Heroin Bob character in 2016. We spoke with James Merendino when Punk’s Dead was in the early stages of pre-production, when it still felt sort of like a dream. But now it is out there and living amongst its fans. So how was this experience for you? What was it like to go back after all of these years?

It was a blast. I hadn’t seen James in years, and that alone was worth it. It took a while to find the character again but once we got rolling it all came back.

You decided to get yourself behind the camera a bit with the amazing masterpiece and last project of the legendary Kirk Douglas, known as Illusion. How did this project come to life? What made you decide to move into the director’s chair on the other side of the camera?

“Illusion” took me 5 years to make. I shot it piece-meal while raising money as I went, maxing out credit cards, begging, borrowing and occasionally stealing as I went. We shot on a borrowed 35 mm camera from Francis Ford Coppola — he didn’t know I was using it at first but luckily he became very supportive once he found out what I was up to. I shot 3/4th of the film before even getting Kirk Douglas involved. He was a dream to work with; it was an experience I’ll always cherish.

We always ask our statue holding interviewees this one question….Where do you keep your Emmy? And does its physical location have any sort of significance for you?

It is on a shelf in my hallway. For years my mom kept it because I’ve always been a bit of a recluse and often just lived out of my car in LA. I did consider having it mounted as a hood ornament on my matte-black 95 Chevy Caprice but decided that would be a little much.

Can you tell us a bit about your novel What Lies Beyond the Stars? When did you decide to add novelist to your expanding list of credits? And where did this story come from?

What Lies Beyond the Stars is based on a screenplay I wrote 20 years ago. I was actually close to shooting the film with myself and Michelle Williams to star, but then the financing fell through in a very predictable Hollywood way. So, instead of letting the project die, I threw the script on a shelf and waited and waited and 15 years later found myself doing some directing work for a Publishing company that happened to be looking for new material. I showed the CEO my script and he agreed to let me turn it into a novel!

What’s the book about?… I’ll just say that it is the artistic work that I am most proud of (along with Heroin Bob of course). Here’s a link if people what to check it out.


What else do you have coming up that our readers should be on the look out for? Do you have anything to plug?
I’m currently writing a sequel to What Lies Beyond the Stars which will come out in the Fall of 2018. I’m also going to be doing a play at the Berkeley Repertory Theater later this year. Back to the stage!

What was the last thing that made you smile?

Dave Chappelle

Pick up a copy of Michael’s book What Lies Beyond the Stars right HERE. For a preview, check out this amazing trailer that has been put together for it:

About rontrembathiii
write. write. write.

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