MR. RIGHT: MIKE COLTER

MR. RIGHT: MIKE COLTER

By Teryl Warren

Photo by Sierra Prescott

To say that Mike Colter knows what he wants is a bit of an understatement.  After all, he knew he knew he wanted be an actor at the tender age of 8.

“As the youngest of four children, I was always by myself, and I didn’t have a lot of toys, so I developed a vivid imagination. At a very early age, I learned how to literally transport myself to another world,” he shared.

“My imagination – combined with watching HBO – sort of predestined me for acting.  I think I watched every movie they aired from 1980-1998. From that I learned to enjoy storytelling and I knew I wanted to be a part of telling the story.”

But unlike many who are bitten by the acting bug during their prepubescent years, Colter decidedly did not want to be a child actor.  So, after living a normal life and attaining his undergraduate degree from the University of South Carolina and his Masters from Rutgers, Colter followed the road most often traveled to Hollywood: he found himself an agent.

And it’s obvious that his recipe for success has served him quite well. Since arriving in Tinsel Town, the versatile, 6’3″, striking actor has worked with some of the biggest players in the game.

Fans of the Academy Award-winning film Million Dollar Baby will recognize Colter as Clint Eastwood’s marquee boxer in the beginning of the film.

And enthusiasts of the Men In Black franchise know Colter as Colonel James Edward II, father to Will Smith’s Agent J in Men In Black III.

Stepping onto a set with Hollywood heavyweights would no doubt fray even the coolest person’s nerves, but Mike insists that the task, for him, wasn’t as daunting as one might expect.

“Really great actors are very giving and very humble. They make you feel welcome.  Regardless of celebrity status, all actors are artists playing together.  We come on, we do our thing, and we open up and let each other in to experience world the writer has created for us,” he said. “Million Dollar Baby was my first big project, and, at first, I felt about as nervous as I could feel. But Clint Eastwood created an environment that was relaxed, calm and peaceful, and made it very easy for a young actor [like me] to perform.”

Mike is also known for his recurring role on “The Following” alongside Kevin Bacon and his series regular turn in the short lived ”Ringer” with Sarah Michelle Gellar.  More recently, Mike has had a hot streak in television as a recurring guest star in CBS’s critically acclaimed drama “The Good Wife;” where he plays the powerful Lemond Bishop.  His return to the series this year causes quite a stir in the lives of Alicia Florrick (Julianna Margulies) and Will Gardner (Josh Charles).

“Upon my return to ‘The Good Wife,’ we see that Alicia’s  new firm must now figure out their identity. My character helps them do that.”

Photo by Kim Nicholais

Mike can also be seen in his recurring guest role in the EMMY and Golden Globe Nominated mini-series “American Horror Story: Coven;” where he plays an executive of a powerful company, alongside Jessica Lange and Angela Basset.

With so many stellar credits already under his belt, it’s hard to imagine what a dream role would look like to Mike. Interestingly enough, he confided that his role of a lifetime would actually look a lot like an Average Joe.

“I’d like to play an ‘every man’ role.  I don’t have to play a hero with a lot of action sequences,” he told us. “I’d love to play a character in a film that you watch more than once because you feel like you have to watch again – because you want to relive experience. I love ‘It’s A Wonderful Life.’ I love the message, I love the acting, and by the end of the movie, I’m ready to watch it again. ‘Boogie Nights’ is another film I love to watch. I want to be a part of role that takes you on a ride, where you can totally relate to the characters and experience the conflict and the resolution.”

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