Joshua Mikel stars as Jared of the Saviors on The Walking Dead. What can I say about someone who is so annoyingly hateful? Jared, that is, not Joshua. I’ve been assured by one of his friends that Joshua is a very nice guy. Jared, not so much. In my Baker’s Dozen interview with Jayson Warner Smith, Jayson said that Jared must be Negan’s nephew or he would have whacked him already. I think we all are at that point. Jared is just downright despicable. He is always spoiling for a fight.
To me the worst thing he has done so far was shoot Benjamin in the leg, thereby causing his death, when he was supposed to kill Richard on Gavin’s command. Benjamin had embarrassed Jared twice by knocking him to the ground with his fighting stick and also calling him “rat-faced prick.” Childishly, Jared wanted to get back at Benjamin and I believe this is why he shot him instead of Richard. Jared acts like a spoiled nephew, doesn’t he? Jared-can’t live with him; not allowed to kill him.
Joshua took time out of his busy schedule to answer a baker’s dozen of questions for me. After reading his answers, you can tell he really is a nice guy and a great actor to make us despise Jared so much.
Where were you born and where did you grow up?
I was born and raised in Georgia. I grew up there and my folks still live in Conyers, Georgia.
How did you get into acting?
I started acting in High School after my AP English teacher & mentor, Jerry Smith, thought I might be a good fit. After sucking really hard at football, and then getting injured and really never wanted to go back, I was looking for something else to do. 🙂
Was it always your dream to become an actor?
I think it was a peripheral dream. Like, I never thought, frankly, it would be this easy. It hasn’t been easy, but I didn’t think I’d ever get cast in anything. I wanted to very much, but I don’t know, I don’t think I expected anything from it. I definitely feel like I’ve been particularly fortunate by being in the right place at the right time here in Atlanta. And I’ve had other dreams-some that are still pretty active in one way or another-I’d love to tour more with my band, and I always wanted to be an animator. (I’ve done some computer animation work for a few music videos I’ve done over the years-vimeo.com/joshuamikel) but some other dreams that maybe are a little tougher to manage without a bigger life change (being a paleontologist for instance).
What was your very first acting role?
My first speaking role was Gollum in my high school’s production of The Hobbit. I was an ensemble member in my high school production of Grease before that. Just not cut out for musicals…
How did you get the role of Jared?
I’ve auditioned for The Walking Dead maybe 10 times over the past few years, but this was by far the best role I’d ever auditioned for-and unlike maybe many of the times I’d auditioned before, I felt like this role was so very me. It just clicked in ways that previous stuff had not. The antagonism and potential smart-assery of Jared really appealed to me.
Did you do anything special to prepare for the role?
I tried to catch up on as much of the series as I could and read as much as I could about the Saviors and how they operate in the series and the comics. I also referred a lot to Cormac McCarthy’s The Road and its depiction of the apocalypse, and tried to internalize as much of that as I could. I wasn’t completely caught up on The Walking Dead-I’ve gone through some rough family patches lately-and it was just too dark for me at the time, but I’m doing my best to get all 7 seasons watched.
Were you a The Walking Dead fan before landing the role?
I was-but as I mentioned, I wasn’t a religious viewer, just couldn’t handle it where I was, am right now. But I am so very honored and thankful to be a part of the universe that so many folks have poured their hearts into for the past seven seasons, and one of the tentpole Georgia productions that has been such an unexpected success and has truly become a piece of pride for the entire state.
Were there any funny or memorable behind the scene moments you experienced?
Honestly, it was all so very surreal. I got to kick it a few days with Lennie James and hear stories about his work on Snatch. My scenes are with Jayson Warner Smith-who I saw in a play in Atlanta many moons ago and had wanted to work with since. I sat next to J.D. Morgan & Norman Reedus at lunch. Greg Nicotero directed our first episode & between takes showed us pics of the trash walker- bonkers! Hairstylist Tiffony Simpson, with whom I did my first ever feature, was working hair and is the sweetest, most welcoming face you’d ever want to see on the biggest set of your life. It was all so awesome.
What has been your favorite acting role?
I have to say it’s Jared for sure. I’ve played a great many assholes in my day, but Jared is kind of a piece of all of them-a culmination of them. The directors have given me so much freedom to mess around and I couldn’t be acting with cooler folks. Cooper, Jayson, Carlos, Kerry, Logan, Karl, Lennie, and our bad ass backup saviors-Mike, JD, Brian, Todd, Blaine-so many bad asses.
You are multi-talented, an actor, playwright, director, and musician. Which one do you enjoy the most and why?
I love them all. I go through periods when one takes a particular front spot in my life, but I think they all are reflective-and each interest helps me understand the others in different, deeper ways. I love working in the arts, and hope to always, in one way or another, be an artist.
Do you have any new acting roles in your future?
I just squared up a cool part in the Jason Bateman/Rachel McAdams comedy Game Night that I’m super stoked about! I also have a bit part in this film Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda which also features Logan Miller (Benjamin) so that’s pretty awesome to be back on a project with him after killing him off on The Walking Dead.
What can you tell us about your music?
I’m the long time drummer for the indie math rock band Look Mexico. You can check out all our work on iTunes/Bandcamp/Spotify. The various lineups of the band have toured the states for a solid 10 years or so-a lot of that in a diesel airport shuttle we converted to run on veggie oil. We’ve slowed things down a bit the past couple years as we’ve focused on our respective careers and growing families, but we do still play a handful of shows a year, and hopefully will manage to get a longer tour in sometime soon.
Is there anything you can tell all us fans about yourself that we don’t know?
There’s a lot about me out there. Probably too much already. 🙂
Not only is Joshua a great guy, but he’s modest, too, which makes him even more lovable. It’s hard to conceive that the handsome young man we see in the picture below is the mean, dirty Jared we see on screen. As they say, he cleans up good!
I’m hoping Jared finally “gets some sense,” as my Dad used to say, but I’m also afraid it’s doubtful he will. I’ll be watching The Walking Dead each Sunday night at 9/8C on AMC to see what happens. Remember we only have two more episodes of Season 7! Watch with me and let me know what you think @sassypoo.