Smile Politely

Cloverfield’s Leading Guy: Michael Stahl-David

If you missed the release of Cloverfield> at the local cineplex, you have another chance tonight and Thursday at the Virginia Theater. And wouldn’t you know it, the lead actor, Michael Stahl-David, and I both went to Lincoln Park High School and graduated the same year. Even better, we were in the drama program together. But you don’t see me landing a major motion picture role, do you?

Yes, Michael made it as an actor in New York, and this past weekend, I ran into my old friend at SxSW Music Festival in Austin, Texas. Even though everyone wants a piece of him, he ever-so-lovingly answered some questions for me and my not-so-glamorous job here at Smile Politely. I didn’t even have to go through his publicist.

In a past life, you were…: a chimney sweep.

Most ridiculous job you had to take on in order to pay the bills: I was a bike taxi driver in Times Square.

What role, in a play or movie, would you most like to land?: I’d like to play Beck.

Cloverfield was…: a surprise.

When you’re not working, you are…: making fun of myself — go to Michael to see what I mean.

What/who inspires you?: David Simon and Tony Kushner inspire me, and people who make political art that still feels like its about character.

Two things you can’t live without: My bicycle. Nutella.

Name three of your New York haunts: East River Park with take-away margaritas; Jimmy’s Corner, a dive-bar oasis in the crush of Times Square owned by Muhammed Ali’s old corner man; and the soccer fields in Red Hook during summer, when the families come and stands serve cheap amazing Central American food.

What do you miss most about Chicago?: Of course, most of all I miss my parents and friends…. And the train bridge that goes over the river by Ashland (Avenue).

Bands you’re listening to now: DJ Kris Rios, Ratatat and Girl Talk.

Your favorite presidential candidate: Obama.

Cloverfield plays tonight, Tuesday March 18, and Thursday March 20, at the Virginia Theater. It’s located at 203 W Park Ave. in Champaign. Tuesday and Thursday’s showings start at 7 p.m. and the cost is $2 and $3, respectively.

Runtime: 1h 24min — Rated PG-13 — Scifi/Thriller

Photo courtesy of Adam Fedderly

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