For the next five years, whenever she wasn’t working, Michelle was studying four days a week at the Loft Studio. Fellow students included Sean Penn, Nicholas Cage, Johnny Depp, Meg Ryan, Michelle Pfeiffer – as well as older actors who were already well established at the time.
Two years after Michelle began studying with Peggy, she was cast in Francis Coppola’s The Outsiders. She then went on to star in eight major feature films over the next four years. After working steadily in Los Angeles, she went on a three-year hiatus in Canada to raise a family. Life with kids took over, and she has lived happily for the past fifteen years on Bowen Island, occasionally running acting workshops for adults and youth.
With my children now grown up, I can pursue what has been sitting in the back of my mind for a long time. I would like to work with a dedicated group of actors, and delve into Meisner technique as I studied it. I see this as a team operation in which we support Open Stage actors in the development of their careers. I know how hard it is to get to where you want to be in this industry. It takes a lot of energy and drive, and the ability to catch those little opportunities when they appear. At the same time, you have to make the work of treading this path enjoyable.
My “non-professional” class came out of conversations with friends whom, after I discussed what we did in acting classes, they said “I would love to do that!”. After hearing that a few more times, I thought, “okay, let’s do it.” I would like to see my non-professional group carry on down the path through to scene study and eventually live theatre produced by Open Stage.
I’ve never differentiated between acting for stage or acting for film or television. Anyone can take what they learn on stage and easily transition into film work.
In 2010 Wired magazine named Michelle’s character in Real Genius one of the top ten greatest minor characters in fiction film.