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Top Ten Movies with... Sean Cameron Michael

Sean Cameron Michael is a talented, versatile and respected South African actor with over 30 years of acting experience. Having performed in over 80 local and international television series, shorts and feature films, he's emblazoned a solid reputation for himself in the industry. His latest feature, a western called The Salvation, sees Sean in a supporting role opposite Mads Mikkelsen, Jonathan Pryce and Eva Green. Last year, Sean starred opposite William Hurt in Challenger Disaster, before becoming Black Sails regular, Richard Guthrie, on the popular Michael Bay-produced pirate adventure series.

His international breakthrough came in 1997 when he landed the role of Young Timur in Adventures of Sinbad. A series of cameo roles in CI5: The New Professionals, Ernest in the Army, Home Alone 4 and Charlie Jade later, he landed the support lead role in the sci-fi mini-series The Triangle. He went on to join the cast of Crusoe, played a villain in 24: Redemption, featured opposite Matt Damon and Morgan Freeman in Clint Eastwood's Invictus, as well as Natalee Holloway, Albert Schweitzer and Outcasts. Sean Cameron Michael has also appeared in Lost Boys: The Thirst, America: The Story of Us, Mermaids: The Body Found, Death Race: Inferno, The Girl, Strike Back and Safe House.

Having worked on so many award-winning local and international productions, it may come as quite a surprise that South African born Sean Cameron Michael isn't a household name already. His fervent passion and commitment to the art is really starting to pay off and Sean Cameron Michael seems to rising to the challenge of bigger and better international roles with each passing year. He's starred opposite the who's who of Hollywood and been directed by some of the best. We were lucky enough to catch up with Sean to get his Top Ten Movies...

"I think every actor I know has a screenplay
in their back pocket for a passion project..."

I can't watch movies without...

- A good sound system, some snacks on the side and maybe a scotch or three.

Which famous people share your birthday?

- Ryan Seacrest (American Idol), Ricky Martin, Michael Raymond-James (who I had the incredible honor of acting opposite on The Salvation recently), Howard Hughes and Mary Higgins Clark (author) – Yes, I had to Google some of those.

What is the first film you remember watching?

- When I was twelve years old I landed my first professional theatre production as Anna’s son, Louis in Rodgers and Hammerstein’s musical The King & I. My folks took me to the Three Arts Theatre in Plumstead to watch the film musical with the late Yul Brynner and Deborah Kerr. It was a wonderful experience - and great research.

When I was a little older, I think the 1988 movie Dangerous Liaisons with Glenn Close and John Malkovich made the strongest impression on me as a teenager and as an aspiring actor. Their performances were totally over-the-top, mind-bogglingly masterful and seriously inspiring.

What's the worst movie you've ever seen?

- That really is a difficult one - it's always so subjective and everyone is entitled to his or her opinion. I genuinely can't believe that anyone purposefully goes out to make a bad movie and I always find some sort of merit or enjoyment in every single film I watch. That said, if I had to choose, it would probably be one of the 'mockbuster' classics like Sharknado, Snakes on a Train and Mega Shark Versus Giant Octopus. These movies are usually made on very minimal (or non-existent) budgets, shot within a week or so, put into post-prod for a few days and then hit the shelves. And to be honest, I’m sure if you went through my credit list from a couple of years back, you'd find some pretty bad flicks there that have made some critics cringe. (laughs)

Which movies have made you tearful?

- E.T., The Notebook, Magnolia... certainly Tom Cruise’s strongest dramatic performance to date, The Boy with the Striped Pajamas…and the list goes on and on. It's not necessarily the soppy tearjerkers that get me - I'm easily touched and deeply moved by brilliant dramatic performances by actors that I respect.

Who is the most famous movie star you've ever met?

- I've been so fortunate to work opposite some legends in the industry, including: Clint Eastwood, Morgan Freeman, William Hurt, Charles Dance (Game of Thrones), Matt Damon, Mads Mikkelsen, Ryan Reynolds and Denzel Washington.

What's your favourite movie line?

- “You don’t understand. I coulda had class, I coulda been a contender, I could’ve been somebody, instead of a bum, which is what I am” from On the Waterfront and also “All right, Mr. De Mille, I’m ready for my close-up” from Sunset Blvd.

Who would you choose to play you in your biopic?

- James Franco to play a younger me and William Hurt to play an older me.

If you could produce a movie, what would it be about?

- I think every actor I know has a screenplay (or two) in their back pocket for a passion project they'd love to produce one day if they won the Lotto. The first one I've been working on is a semi-autobiographical family drama about divorce and the long-term effects it can have on children, all set in the sixties and seventies in South Africa, with a strong focus on the music and dance styles of that era.

The second is a very heavy, dark Afrikaans period art house drama about a small family living on a farm in the middle of nowhere and focuses on physical and psychological abuse within the constraints of old-fashioned, irrelevant traditional family values imposed by a misguided society. So yes, all very light-hearted, comical and amusing themes(!)

Finally, your top ten movies of all-time...

- Dangerous Liasons ...overall brilliant cast, John Malkovich and Glenn Close excel, giving everything they've got, with a wonderfully written screenplay and a storyline that sends your emotions on a rollercoaster ride.

- Magnolia ...genius acting all around with show stopping performances by Mr. Cruise, the late Philip Seymour Hoffman, William H. Macy and Julianne Moore. The epic making-of DVD / behind-the-scenes is even more brilliant and essential for any filmmaker.

- The Matrix ...was revolutionary and mind-boggling for it's time. I’d never seen anything like it before and probably one of the only movies that Keanu Reeves was excellent in besides maybe My Own Private Idaho. The Wachowski Brothers are simply genius.

- Withnail & I ...a Richard E. Grant classic that every actor on the planet can relate to.

- As Good As It Gets ...the masterful Jack Nicholson and Helen Hunt, with a hysterically, brilliant screenplay.

- Being John Malkovich ...over-the-top performances within a crazy and clever storyline.

- Requiem for a Dream ...I cannot rave enough about Jared Leto and Ellen Burstyn's performances that break my heart every time I watch it. Of course Jennifer Connelly is very hot in this too.

- Schindler's List ...yes, it's on everyone's Top 10 list and deservedly so. If you're not emotionally wrecked after watching it, then you're made of stone.

- American Beauty ...again, superb performances by all the cast, especially Kevin Spacey and Annette Bening, who make incredible acting choices in their performances. Here too is an extensive making-of DVD with special features, including in-depth script/on-screen analysis.

- American Psycho ...A really wacky and darkly funny movie with Christian Bale in a tour-de-force performance of a lifetime.

Top Ten Movies with... is a people series on SPL!NG, featuring a host of celebrities ranging from up-and-coming to established personalities from all industries including, but not limited to: Internet, Radio, TV, Film, Music, Art and Entrepreneurs. It's a chance to discover who they are, find out where they're at and to get a fun inside look at their taste in movies.