Michael C. Maronna [Interview]

 

Hello Folks! We have an absolutely wonderful interview to share with you all today. Today’s interview subject began his acting career at a very young age and in some pretty recognizable roles. But, he then would shift gears to take a bit of a different approach whilst still remaining very much at large in the world of film and television production. It’s the great Michael C. Maronna! Michael may be best known for his work as a kid as older Pete, in the brilliant and now legendary Nickelodeon series The Adventures of Pete & Pete. Now, Trainwreck’d Society historians (is that happening? Write in if it is!) would be able to tell you that Michael is actually not the first of Petes to appear on these digital pages. In fact, it was the month of August when the other Pete was on the site. And again, it was August…..7 YEARS AGO! I promise you I nearly shit when I realized this. Younger Pete, Danny Tamberelli, was actually one of our first guests. Actually, our 15th interview subject of the closing in on 500 that we have done. I know this because it was early on, and then the records get a bit hazy after a while. Anyway, 7 years have gone by and after 7 years of periodically making attempts to get Marona on the site, we have finally done it!

And I will be god damned if it wasn’t well worth the wait. We dig into The Adventures of Pete & Pete, Michael being a part of the legendary Home Alone McCalister family, His reunions with Danny which involves a wonderful podcast, and just so much more. Oh and because I feel like I forgot to state it earlier, Michael became involved in the world of electrical work in the entertainment world. And as a former electrician in a fairly recent past life, I am very impressed and feel like this man has/had my dream job. He has worked on projects like Kevin Smith’s Cop Out, Sidney Lumet’s Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead, and the wonderful Woody Allen as a pimp masterpiece by John Turturro, Fading Gigolo.

It is absolutely wonderful to have Michael grace our digital pages today, as it is a long time coming and I can not believe we finally made it happen. Thank you so much to Michael, and I hope you all enjoy his amazing answers as much as I did. Enjoy!

 

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You began your career in the world of acting at a very young age. What inspired you to want to get into the world of performance so very early?

I was the first grandchild in a big family and I quickly grew to need attention! I liked to read and talk, and my parents weren’t crazy about paying for college, so these interests quickly coalesced…

What was your very first paid gig as an actor that you can remember getting? And were there any kind of lessons learned from this project that continued to affect your work as an actor?

My first commercial was for Scott Toilet Tissue and it was a very simple set in a studio, a camera pointed at the back of a station wagon. I had to carry a bag of groceries. I clearly remember the director Sol had a big King Kong built out of Legos in the studio. He pulled off Lego King Kong’s head to reveal a can of Hawaiian Punch stored inside. Sol told me he came from the planet Lunch and proceeded to pull scarves from his mouth. As a five-year-old, I was enchanted. I’m recalling that initial wonder – and remembering how it felt in that moment like being the most important person on the set.

 

 

In 2008 you appeared in a music video by one of my favorite bands of all time, Nada Surf. The video was for the catchy and brilliant track “Whose Authority”. How did you find yourself working with Nada Surf? Where you previously a fan of the band?

Chris the locations manager for the video was roommates with my friend Mike and recommended me to the director Jonathan as a bicycle riding guy. Simple as that! I met the wardrobe supervisor, decided on lots of layers for the weather and a coupla days later we shot on the lower east side with bicycles. Nada Surf had a cool debut song with “Popular” which I knew from radio play in high school but I didn’t get that album. It turns out they shot the video for “Popular” at Bayonne HS in New Jersey where we also shot Pete and Pete episodes including “Valentine’s Day Massacre” so I was psyched to be involved in a video with the band.

It was a brief bit I did with some of the actual Nada Surf members riding around in Manhattan. I like ”Whose Authority” a lot and I really appreciate the triumphant feeling. I can also remember getting sick after riding around for two days!

In more recent years, you have worked in the electrical department on some of pretty amazing film and television projects. How did you manage to find yourself in this line of work? Would you say it was your true calling in the entertainment industry?

After the first season of Pete and Pete, the grips gave me a belt and some essential tools as a wrap gift. That was great! I was in high school and I didn’t use them much. The gaffer from the third season of Pete and Pete gave me a shot after the show ended. My first full job with him was a feature that I auditioned for the lead of and ended up driving the electric truck for $50 a day. Six Ways To Sunday starred Norman Reedus, Isaac Hayes, and Debbie Harry. I was 19. It’s tough to say what my true calling is – I’ve spent a lot of my life on set, I’m not done yet, and being a member of local 52 for the last 11 years has been a great time so far!

You are a member of the now legendary fictional family that once flew away without one member of the family being left behind. That family is the McCallisters. And the film was Home Alone. The film has since become one of the most acclaimed holiday films of all time. I am curious to know how it feels to be a part of something so historic? And what was the set life like on this project? Where you aware at the time that you were a part of something very historic?

Chicago life was a lot of fun. My dad was there part of the time and my grandparents as well. That was when I went to a big cathedral for Mass for a few weeks – my grandparents. I remember lots of pizza and video games besides that. The cast parents seemed to have fun in Chicago and since we were all in school the production was often dispatching us to tutoring five or six times a day between setups. The assistant directors were great at wrangling us in the group scenes. As I said, I’m from a big Irish family so I felt at home in a crowd, vying with Devin Ratray to entertain us between takes. He was really funny and I saw him in my local comic book shop earlier this year while working on The Good Fight. It’s nice to hear randomly from someone watching the movie that they’re seeing me run with determination in the airport or that they love watching it with their family. That’s sweet. I didn’t have an inkling at the time that it was historic, but I didn’t know too many John Hughes movies – not that I would have been allowed to watch too many!

 

 

You’re former on-screen brother and friend Danny Tamberelli was actually one of our first interviews here at TWS. Over 6 years ago! Since that time you guys have seemed to reunite a lot more. Including the creation of a podcast entitled The Adventures of Danny and Mike. How did this project come about? What influenced you guys to collab regularly once again?

We had been doing Pete and Pete reunions in various locales around the country and after a really fun one in Portland we decided to recap it in a podcast. I’m guessing it all started up again in Brooklyn when I stepped out of McCarren Park after a soccer game in my cleats and found Danny by the pool, puking between two cars. It’s been pretty consistent with us since then, even though we’ve both been married since the podcast started! We’ve been able to get some great guests and record good studio episodes and fun live shows along with our producer, Jeremy.

What does the future hold for you? Anything you would like to plug to our readers?

The Danny and Mike machine will return to the road in 2019. Look for us in the southeast, the northwest, and one other direction.

@michaelcmaronna on Twitter @dannyandmike

What was the last thing that made you smile?

Watching my son looking at the NYC skyline out the window of an Amtrak train I got stuck on trying to find seats for him and his mom.

 

About rontrembathiii
write. write. write.

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