Michael Koltes, Jimmy on the movie “Sheep”
Born in Hamburg, Germany, Michael moved to Los Angeles as a kid.
He studied acting in London at “The Royal Central School of Speech & Drama” and began his career in the London ‘West End’ theatre scene. He now turns into film and television around the world.
Interview Michael Koltes
Actor Media: Hello Michael, thank you for giving us an interview. A few days ago, the short film “Sheep” was publicly released. You play the main role of Jimmy in this dark futuristic thriller. Can you tell us more about the movie?
Michael Koltes: The movie was inspired by a short story I read several years ago, although completely different. It sparked the idea to create this. I was wanting to work with Matthieu for a while on something shot on 16mm because we are both lovers of original cinema. We thought this would be the perfect project to do it. I wrote the original draft and sent it to Matthieu who was on board straight away.
Gary Zweers was an old friend of mine from my Drama school days. We have written many things together so I gave him a call to fix up the script a bit and bring his ideas to it which he did.
The movie is mostly about Choice and how our decisions can affect not only our lives directly, but those around us, the world we live in.
We often take for granted our decisions, but they are powerful and important tools that we have at our disposal and it’s important to make the right ones based on the heart and not egoic impulses.
AM: In “Sheep”, you are not only the main actor, but also producer and co-writer. Where such a dark story came from and how did you proceed with Gary Zweers on writing the script.
MK: Actually Gary an myself had been working on a post apocalyptic feature for a while now so we have already built the world and threat. It’s ironic because we did this before Covid even started and look what happened!
Cyberpunk and sci-fi are two of our favorite genres as a team and it was just a lot of fun to come up and make this movie. I think in a world where everything was more of a threat, the stakes would be high enough to make people act out of desperation. I think one of the scariest things is to be trapped in your own body where you are, knowing you are already dying but have no control over anything. It’s like they become a prisoner in their own bodies so their mind is active but their body is dying and restricted by the control collar and by their failing limbs.
We were originally planning to extend this to possible mini webisodes. Covid happened so the team got split up around the world. Perhaps in the future we will.
AM: It seems that you are passionate about cinema, which position is your favorite, being an actor, producer, …?
MK: I have been an actor or performer most of my life so obviously it is something I really enjoy and live. As a boy I would watch a lot of adventure and sci-fi films especially which I loved. ET, Around the World in 80 Days, Journey to The Center of the Earth, Time Machine, Star Wars, etc. etc. were movies I watched a dozen times each.
Producing is probably not something I would naturally choose to do. But when you know the right people and wanna get things done as good as you can then you just get to it and make it happen. I think one of the parts of filmmaking I enjoy the most is the collaboration with other talented creative people. The film takes so many people to make it better, without one part it can all fall apart, or be successful.
AM: What are you up to at the moment and what are your projects for the future?
MK: I am still writing and producing. In fact, I just finished another short film called “Kite” with Olivier Dressen the director of “Passport” and “Two Men One Pool” with Andrej. Next will be a couple features which are going through final edits now.
Acting has been pretty busy also, I recently finished shooting Karl Marx as Marx which was a dream job. I am fortunate to have been part of it and I hope it can reach as many people as possible.
I realize that not that many people actually know much about him besides his writings and of course through communism. But Marx was mostly trying to change the world for the better in his own way.
The industrial revolution was in full swing and the factories were taking advantage of the poor and also making children work like slaves in the factories for just enough money to live, but not enough to make anything of their lives, which is what Marx was trying to change. Sometimes the only way to change the world is through a shock, otherwise everyone is happy to continue the way things are.
Marx wasn’t a violent person, it was the people who came after him that interpreted his teachings in that way, he was more predicting what needed to happen in order for things to change. Through all my hours of extensive research before playing that role I grew to have a deep respect for him even though I know he wasn’t perfect and just a man. He never gave up, no matter how tough life was for him and his family and that is what I was focusing on in this movie. Gary also helped to fix this script actually, it was a lot of fun working on it with him and he really helped elevate the script. I believe lots of exciting things are coming up in this next year.
AM: Thanks for sharing such interesting information Michael, we wish you the best and wish to hear about you again in a near future.
Michael Koltes on Instagram: @michaelkoltes