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Q) What are the recent projects that you are working on?
A) I have recently been working on the new show "Anger Management" on FX with Charlie Sheen. I think we are half way through season one right now. We're anxiously waiting to hear if we are going back to work on that. I also recently directed a production of a play called "La Ronde" in Los Angeles as part of a theatre company that I am starting, a site-specific theatre company. The show is done in ten different locations throughout Los Angeles and the audience is sort of voyeurs to the scene. Right now I am prepping to do a concert at Below 54 in New York, which is a really cool concert space that is Studio 54 on August 12th. I am going to head up to Williamstown Theatre Festival to work on this other piece I'm writing, which is a theatre festival in the Berkshires. I'm also in the movie The Odd Life of Timothy Green.
Q) Please tell us about your character Patrick on the show "Anger Management."
A) Patrick is one of Charlie's anger management patients. I am having to go to therapy because I slapped a client at work. I'm a personal shopper dealing with passive aggression, which sometimes turns into aggressive aggression.
Q) What made you want to be a part of the show?
A) It's a fantastic group of writers and producers. Charlie is so wonderful. More than anything, the script was so strong. It's the funniest script I'd read all pilot season. I feel so lucky to be a part of such a wonderful cast.
Q) What have you found challenging about playing this role?
A) He isn't very challenging to play. I think it's just trusting the material and knowing that the writers were writing the passive aggression and all I had to do was be honest and truthful with what I was saying.
Q) What is it like getting to work with Charlie Sheen?
A) It's great! He's a great actor. He's a really caring performer. He cares about everyone in the room. He's nothing like what I was expecting going in on the first day. He's concerned about the quality of the work and he's really caring. He's also a beast who memorizes lines faster than anyone I've ever seen! I'm really impressed with him.
Q) There is great chemistry between you and the other anger management patients. Was that instant or did it have to be developed?
A) We all walked in and we sat in our places on set. It just sort of fell into place. We got to know each other really quickly and we're still really good friends. They are still people I hang out with all the time. It was pretty easy to play the chemistry. I think in order to hate someone on screen you have to really love them. Hopefully, it shows we all really love each other because I hate some of the other characters on the show. That's a testament to that.
Q) What have been some of your favorite moments from filming "Anger Management?"
A) There was an episode we did called "Charlie Tries Sleep Deprivation." That was my favorite episode because we all got to go a little nuts and do things we didn't normally do in the episode. It's a perfect situational comedy. That episode was really fun to shoot and to stay on set late. Usually, we are in session, but we got to sort of live on the set together and do things you normally don't. Also, working with the guest stars like Kerri Kinney who was absolutely incredible and Denise Richards was great to work with. Of course, Martin Sheen - that was an event, definitely. He was wonderful and so much fun to be around. He's such a team player. It was really great to do that.
Q) What do you think it is about the show that has captured so many viewers?
A) I think people are interested to see what Charlie does next. So, there is a curiosity level that is really high. Then, they get to see him playing an anger management therapist, which I think is a bit of a funny thing to see given how we've seen him in the media for the past few years. I think the satire there is also great. Also, I think once they tuned in past the initial curiosity I think it's a really funny, smart, racy show. It's the only sitcom like it. The network sitcoms can't make the jokes that we get to and they have to pander a bit to more of a mass than we are. I think that's why people like it. I think they tune in to see someone they love in a role that is unique and sort of special for the performer as well as get to hear great jokes and see characters go through something interesting.
Q) You're in the upcoming film The Odd Life of Timothy Green. Were you familiar with the book before starring in the movie?
A) I had not. I came to it fresh just reading the script.
Q) What is it like working with director Peter Hedges?
A) He is a director that I have loved forever. I would stand in the background to be in a Peter Hedges movie. I have been a fan of his for such a long time. He's such a great director and has such a unique voice. All of his films say something striking and illuminating about what it is to be human. In this film, he really explores what it means to be a parent. It's beautiful and he cares so much about his work and that comes through in every single frame of the movie. He's so emotionally involved. There were days he would burst into tears because he was just so happy about telling the story. I would work with him for the rest of my life. He is truly special and I've never met anyone like him who has that much passion and takes that much care with his work.
Q) You're a writer, actor, director and activist. What else would you like to try your hand at?
A) I would really like to direct for film. There were some elements in the last play that I directed that I worked on, but I'd really love to try getting behind the screen in that way. Maybe that's next.
Q) You've starred in theatre, film and television. Do you have a preference?
A) No, I really enjoy telling stories in any way that I can, whether that be with a pen, on stage or on screen. There is such validity to all of it. I feel so lucky that I am able to jump from one thing to another. That's what I always do because I love them all too much to be able to do one thing.
Q) You are an avid user of Twitter. What is it about the social networking site that makes it such a great place for you to connect with fans and promote your work?
A) I think it's a great way to alert people to things you love and care about. You can talk about things you are passionate about as well as relate things that you find interesting, funny or terrifying. It's also the hundred and forty character thing about Twitter, it's really fun! I think it's the part of me that likes crossword puzzles. To fit everything in that amount of space is a challenge. I enjoy that! Plus, I love reading other people's tweets. I think it's really changed the world in terms of how we get information and news. I love it! It's a bit of a free-for-all, but that's what is so great about it! It can sort of be what you make it and I like that!
Q) Where can people go online to get to know you better?
A) I don't really have a website, but they can find me on Twitter at @michaelarden. They just have to learn about me by coming to see my work!
Q) What would you like to say to everyone who is a fan and supporter of you and your work?
A) I just feel so lucky that people are interested in what I have to say as an artist because what I have to say as an artist is directly linked to the people I love, why I care about them and who I care about. I feel like it's this beautiful way of feeding into the human spirit. I feel lucky to be able to hold a mirror up to what I see as an artist and, hopefully, people who watch the film I do or read my work or play my music or come to plays that I work on can see themselves in that and can learn a little bit about themselves. I hope to do the same from the audiences that come. It's all about giving! I'd say thank you! I hope to do it for a lot longer and become better and better and tell more stories that hopefully can touch everybody.