A reel passion for showbiz

Saira Masood, Saira Masood, and Saira Masood

On the set at Paramount Pictures, Mike Johnson’s passion for acting has now become alive.

The reality sets in as actors Hillary Swank and Patrick Dempsy walk past him. Excitement and apprehension run through his soul.

He’s ready.

This is it. This is the beginning of his professional career.

“I recently played an extra in a movie that starred Hilary Swank,” said City College theater student, Mike Johnson. “I see myself here,” Johnson said. “I feel at home.”

The role in “Freedom Writers,” is one step closer to being eligible to join the actor’s union, he added.

Mike Johnson is an enthusiastic and inspiring theater student, who not only performs in City College productions, but also writes screenplays, acts in outside commercials and movies.

“If you want to be an actor you have to have a strong stomach because a lot of people are going to be really honest with you,” said Johnson.

The beginning of Johnson’s acting career started only a year ago. Before pursuing acting, Johnson obtained basketball scholarship at Ottawa, a small school in Kansas.

“I was sitting in a theater and realized this was something I needed to do,” Johnson said. “It was a huge decision for me, my parents thought I was insane.” In the fall of ’05, Johnson starred as Private Von Twitty, in City College’s production, “Gunfighter.”

Allissa Johnson, his mother, revealed that it surprised her the first time she saw him in the City College play, because he looked so comfortable and natural on stage.

Johnson said that he enjoys method acting, serious roles, and real portrayals of people.

“The church we were attending had a production introduction to theater and Mike played a part in “Go Go Jonah,” Johnson’s mother said. She also explained that the exposure to performance started there when he was 5.

“I was in a TV show, “Living in TV land” with my dad, and I will also be interviewed on a show in Los Angles, “Voices of Inspiration,” said Johnson.

The actor said he aspires to be a performer like Denzel Washington or Will Smith. He explained he relates to their intensity and work ethic. When he watches them, he said, it doesn’t look like work.

“To make it in this business you have to be lucky, and I feel like I am,” he said.

Johnson is also working on his first screenplay.

“Whenever I have time I write, it’s a way of escape and writing is therapeutic for me,” said Johnson, who wrote a book of personal memoirs in high school.

The actor said he has his heart set on transferring to Yale, but that he will most likely go to NYU or Cal Arts.

Johnson says the stage is his home and as challenging as it can be, it is what he truly loves.

“I could do this making no money my whole life, and love it,” Johnson said.

“Making it to me is doing films on the big screen, working with amazing actors and being at Paramount,” he said. “By 28 I will have made it.”