In the few short years she's been on the Hollywood scene, Washington native Mikaela Hoover has racked up an impressive array of appearances in such high profile fare as How I Met Your Mother, Anger Management, Two and a Half Men, and more, but it's safe bet that her biggest credit to date is in the smash hit Guardians of the Galaxy, the year's number one film at the domestic box office (with good reason, if you read my review).
I had a chance to talk to the actress recently about her turn as Glenn Close's assistant in the Marvel Studios pic, and she was happy to share stories of her time on the set, including what it was like working so close to Close, and her reaction when she first heard the news that friend James Gunn had gotten the gig to direct the high profile film. In addition, she also talked up her latest project, the quirky webseries Zombie Basement.
Read on for some of the highlights from our chat:
So, you grew up in Spokane. At what point did you decide, "Hey, I'm gonna try to make my way in Hollywood?"
Well, I can never remember a time when I didn't want to be an actress, to be honest. And so, all through high school I knew that I was gonna go to college in Los Angeles. I just didn't know where. And I knew that I was gonna try to get my theater degree. So I got accepted to Loyola Marymount University and that's when I moved out there and started doing theater and started to pursue my career.
What would you say you've learned working in the industry that going to school did not prepare you for?
Everything. I wish that there was a program in college that taught you what to do about getting head shots, how to get an agent, how to get a manager, how to - none of that was taught. It was all your craft, and I'm very appreciative that they taught the craft in theater, but film and television are completely different than theater. And there really was not anything that was really aimed at teaching you how to act in front of film, or how to act for film or television. It was very, it was just very like theater. You know, there was nothing, there was nothing for that.
So I really when I graduated college had to learn everything all on my own. I had to learn how to get head shots and a resume and all of that. I had no idea how, how any of that worked. So that's why I think that it was such a long process. I think if somebody would have helped me along the way and said, listen, this is what you need to do to get here, and here, and here. Because with that, I would have gotten there a lot faster. But since it really wasn't, there was no program and I hope that Loyola now does have a program that focuses more on the students that do want to do something with television as opposed to theater.
You've had a couple of collaborations now with James Gunn.
Yes. That's so amazing. I'm so blessed. I auditioned for him for a short called Humanzee!, I want to say six years ago. And within minutes of meeting him, I knew that he was going places. He was so extremely talented and his humor and his direction and everything that he comes up with is brilliant. So he then, after Humanzee!, he wrote Sparky and Mikaela and produced that with Peter Safran. So I got to know James better then. I did three or four projects with him after that. So a great friendship's developed through that and working with him is a dream.
He's been on a slow rise for awhile, and now with Guardians he's got the number one movie of the year.
It's so exciting. I remember the phone call that I got when he was up for, to be the director. And I told him, I mean he called me and said, "I'm about to go in." And I said, "I have such a strong feeling this is it. This is gonna be the movie. You are gonna get this. You're exactly what they're looking for." And he got it. I mean, there was no question in my mind from the second that I found out he got it that he was gonna blow it out of the water and he did.
And obviously you got to be a part of that. You got to hang out with Glenn Close and John C. Reilly.
That was very fun. And it was just really great to be able to see James working with those actors and just how, just watching him direct. He really is just so brilliant and I've known this all along. So being able to see him at that caliber was pretty incredible.
For you, this is the biggest scale production you've ever been a part of.
Yes, it was. I mean, working next to Glenn Close was unreal. I kept saying, "I'm gonna pinch myself, this is a dream." She's one of the most respected actresses in the world and I respect her so much. So working next to her was just, it was an unreal feeling. It was a dream-like, unreal thing. It's pretty amazing. I mean, that's all I can say is that working next to her was just a dream.
You've also got Zombie Basement coming out. Tell us about that.
It's about two friends that have survived the zombie apocalypse. And because they've survived, they're now bored and they're down in their basement and they decide to make a webcast, a little web series for people out there who have survived. And it's just the journeys that they're on and their episodes and the funny things that they go through with this zombie apocalypse to keep themselves entertained.
So this is you, and Angela Kinsey.
Yes. Angela Kinsey plays the mom to one of the boys, and I play the next door neighbor, Kim Kim.
What's your long-term hope for the project?
Well, I'm hoping that it eventually goes to network, and has that kind of audience where people really love it and believe in it.
Many thanks to Mikaela Hoover for her time. Zombie Basement premieres soon on the web, and Guardians of the Galaxy is priced to own digitally now, and hits home vid on December 9. To hear the audio from this conversation, be sure to check out episode 57 of the MovieFilm Podcast via this link or the embed below.