By Lapacazo Sandoval
You may not know his name but it’s a good chance that you know actor Michael Beasley by his face, and it’s a nice face even when he has three teardrops painted under his eye, a mark charting the number of people that he murdered. In real life, Beasley is a 6’3’’ lovable teddy bear.
In Showtime’s “Escape at Dannemora,” directed by Ben Stiller starring Benicio del Toro, Paul Dano and Patricia Arquette, who earned a Golden Globe for her role, Beasley plays the character ‘Murder’ one of the main inmates at the Clinton Facility, a maximum-security prison in the sleepy town of Dannemora in Upstate New York.
The series is based on true events and follows the 2015 prisoners escape of Richard Matt (Benicio del Toro) and David Sweat (Paul Dano). At the start of the story Murder (Michael Beasley) and his closest friend Kilo, are on seemingly good terms with Matt and Sweat. It’s later revealed that Matt snitches on Murder, which lands him in solitary confinement for a week. A now vengeful Murder gets together with the new tailor-shop patrolman CO Frank, to set up revenge.
Beasley’s other acting credits include Netflix’s series “Bloodline,” a reoccurring role in HBO’s comedy series, “Eastbound and Down,” a two-part episode run in CW’s drama series “Preacher,” Netflix’s “House of Cards” and “Superfly” to name a few.
Here is what Michael Beasley had to share about seizing opportunities, making plans and telling the universe exactly what he wants.
Los Angeles Sentinel: Before we jump into talking about “Escape at Dannemora,” where do you call home?
Michael Beasley: Atlanta. Atlanta has changed a lot. When I first got started [in acting] everyone was telling me that I had to live in Los Angeles or New York. In New York, for example, you might have eight thousand actors auditioning for one role. That’s not the case in Atlanta and I wanted to create opportunities for myself here [Atlanta]. I had a plan. It didn’t just happen. It was a numbers game. The more auditions that you have, the more chances you have to book. Once the casting agents knew they could trust me, the work came in. I’m definitely about the work and having a plan.
LAS: I viewed the trailer for Escape at Dannemora, now on Showtime and I am blown away. Unfortunately, they did not provide me access to watch the series.
MB: ‘Escape at Dannemora’ is now streaming so hopefully you can catch it. I play a character named ‘Murder’ and he has three teardrops under his eye which means that he has three bodies, three murders that he committed.
LAS: Three, that’s a lot. What was it like working with the cast? It’s an impressive ensemble.
MB: I love great actors and learning from them. It was a great thrill to work with such a great cast. Patricia [Arquette] won the Golden Globe Award [Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Limited Series]. And you know, Benicio [Del Toro] is a really nice guy. He and I have several scenes together and he would turn to me and ask ‘Michael, what do you think about this scene?’ and I am thinking you’re Benicio Del Toro and you’re asking me? Working on this series really opened up my palette to a lot more things now.
LAS: What does that mean, to open up your palette in the context of acting?
MB: It means that I have a plan to go to the next level. I attended the Golden Globe red carpet, in LA, (“ESCAPE AT DANNEMORA”), and I got a sense of what the next level is. Now, I am working on that plan to get ‘there’ and to stay ‘there.’ First, you have to see it. Then you have to believe it. Then I plan it out and then I start working as if it’s already happened.
LAS: I think that you just gave me the headline for this story!
MB: You have to put it out into the universe.
LAS: Can you edit it down a bit for me?
MB: First, I see it and then I make it happen.
“Escape at Dannemora” directed by Ben Stiller, starring Benicio del Toro, Paul Dano, Patricia Arquette, and Michael Beasley is now playing on Showtime.
Watch the trailer: https://youtu.be/RVbOjP1Ziec
This article originally appeared in the Los Angeles Sentinel.