Movies & TV / Columns

Actor Michael Bugard On His New Movie Routines, His Movie-Making Heroes

June 24, 2020 | Posted by Bryan Kristopowitz

The 411 Interview: Michael Bugard


Michael Bugard is an actor, producer, and artist who has been appearing in movies, according to imdb, since 2011. Bugard has appeared in such movies as Zombie Apocalypse: Redemption, Tommy Battles the Silver Sea Dragon, and Morning, Noon, & Night (he has also appeared in short films such as The Russian Sleep Experiment and You Can’t Kill Gideon Gates). Bugard’s latest movie is the dark comedy Routines directed by Domenic Migliore. In this interview, Bugard talks with this writer about making Routines, working with director Migliore and co-star Anita Nicole Brown, his moviemaking heroes, and more.



Bryan Kristopowitz: How did you get involved with Routines?

Michael Bugard: From what I understand the person who was originally cast had to decline because he was picked up for a Rob Zombie feature. Ultimately I got involved because director Domenic Migliore was familiar with my work and hit me up on dreaded Facebook.

BK: How did you approach your character Bruce Mann?

MB: Because Bruce states early in Act I that he is bored with his life’s routine and wants something different and, as he states later in the film, because he is “almost 50” I wanted to give him an air of continuous impatience, a sense of constantly being annoyed by the day-to-day tedium of his Kafakaesque corner of the world.

BK: Do you have any sort of background in stand-up comedy?

MB: Not at all. I used to MC a very vulgar trivia night in a neighborhood bar, the very bar where I attended my very first movie audition, which was received with a mixture of laughs and the occasional death threat. I looked to Bill Hicks to guide my sense of decorum and stage etiquette. Should I ever do stand- up I suspect that trolling Trumpists on Twitter has prepared me for the handling of hecklers.

BK: What was it like working with director Domenic Migliore?

MB: It was quite unique. We were on the same wavelength for most of the production. We have similar, strange tastes and interests. However, I cannot deny that there were moments. A mentally disabled director and a mentally disabled lead actor did lead to some locked antlers, but the rocky PTSD moments did not overcome the shared vision.

BK: What was it like working with Anita Nicole Brown, who plays Bruce’s love interest Darling Wednesday?

MB: Anita is incredible. Even in my most mental moments on set she was able to break my circle of emotional nonsense with a joke or even sometimes just a look. She is an amazing talent, uninhibited, and has a fantastic sense of humor. And she saved the film. The person previously cast to play Darling had to bow out just a week or so before production began, so she stepped up and nailed it.

BK: What was the hardest scene for you to film as an actor?

MB: The bathroom scene with Kaylee Williams. Bruce tries to coerce her character into doing something she does not want to do, which was as uncomfortable for me to perform as it will hopefully be for the audience to witness. You thought I was going to say the coffin scene, right? Without betraying too many spoilers, it was hard to keep a straight face doing the coffin bit. I kept thinking, “How would Harvey Keitel’s Bad Lieutenant do it?”

BK: Any moviemaking heroes?

MB: Countless. What country, what period, what genre? I do not know how to begin to answer this. Eisenstein for giving us the montage, mise en scène and Prokofiev’s scores. Hitchcock. Welles. Kurosawa for his visual use of motion. Bergman for his gorgeous photography and somber tones. Laughton’s expressionism. John’s Waters for giving the finger to repressive suburban culture. David Lynch for his surrealism. Stanley Kubrick for his cynicism. Tex Avery! Tim Burton for sending Pee Wee out into the greatest road picture of all time, which inspired the name for my cat, Amazing Larry. I’m a sucker for a well- made film, period. Or even a clever pile of crap.

BK: Any upcoming projects you can tell us about?

MB: No, but I can tell you about upcoming releases. Look for me in famed comic artist and Star Wars illustrator Matt Busch’s Aladdin 3477 trilogy, in which I play the 35th century’s crime boss, Vex Skanda. The first of the three should be coming out late this year. Also look for me later this year in the upcoming World War II action thriller, Wolf Hound (starring James Maslow) in which I play Nazi scientist and Luftwaffe Engineer, Dr. Riefenstahl.

BK: What do you hope audiences get out of Routines?

MB: The obvious answer is that I want them to demand that I get paid to be in more productions. Now that I have said the quiet part out loud, I want them to get the same message that Number 6 received in the finale of The Prisoner. We create our own mental traps, our own absurdist routines, our own cages, just as Bruce is the architect of his own emotional shackles, or I am of mine.

BK: Where did you get that swanky yellow coat and those sparkly shoes?

MB: I cannot speak in reference to the jacket, but the shoes were actually my contribution. I found them on Ebay. Would you like the link? Also, I requested the Velcro camouflage wallet for Bruce. I wanted his hack couture wardrobe to visually express that he is a barely contained disaster.

BK: Was it your idea to spell out “Fuck” with your French fries in the dinner scene or was that in the script?

MB: Domenic allowed me to bring quite a bit to the set which was not in the script. The French fries, let alone “FUCK”, were absent in the script. They were the only leftovers aside from salad remaining from that day’s lunch catering. I chose the fries because I did not want Bruce to be served anything healthy. I was supposed to just sit throughout the scene while the others talked, but when I saw the fries I knew what Bruce needed to do to express his inner state. I did not tell anyone about my Crisco soaked scheme before doing it during the first take.


A very special thanks to Michael Bugard for agreeing to participate in this interview and to david j. moore for setting it up.

Check out the official Routines Facebook page here

Check out my review of Routines here

Check out Michael Bugard’s Instagram page here and his Twitter page here.

Check out the Breaking Fate Entertainment official Facebook page here

Check out the Film Regions International official Facebook page here

First image courtesy of Michael Bugard. Second image courtesy of Domenic Migliore.