“The Runners” is a new movie starring actor Micah Lyons. Growing up in Texas, Micah would spend most weekends at the theatre watching the latest efforts from Schwarzenegger and Stallone. A couple of decades on, the talented actor and producer is now headlining his own action movies – the latest, “The Runners” available on DVD and Digital this month from Uncork’d Entertainment.
Micah recently discussed this film and more via an exclusive interview.
Meagan Meehan (MM): Where in the US do you hail from?
Micah Lyons (ML): I was born in the North East Texas town of Longview (same town as Matthew McConaughey and Forest Whitaker) and graduated from nearby, Hallsville High School.
MM: And is in your family in “the biz”?
ML: No. My dad is an entrepreneur and owned a small chain of paint stores when I was growing up. He used to take me everywhere and taught me everything I know about business, negotiating and sales. He was really teaching me how to be a producer without either of us realizing it at the time.
MM: When did you know you wanted to become an actor?
ML: I was heavily involved in sports growing up and always promised myself I would try out for a play in high school before I graduated. Well, the spring of my senior year (2004) rolled around and I still hadn’t made it a priority. So, I decided to quit the golf team in order to take a shot at the stage and it worked out! I was offered a supporting role in the musical, “Ragtime” and then another small supporting role in “The Voice of the Prairie” as “The Watermelon Man”, which was seen by the right people and ended up earning me a college scholarship for acting/theatre. That’s when I first felt the confidence to say… “Ok, maybe I can do this for real.” And I haven’t looked back since.
MM: Did you study acting?
ML: Yes, I am so proud of my training and I often credit it to my abilities in other areas such as directing and screenwriting as well. I was accepted into the prestigious BFA Acting program at Texas State University in 2006. Since then, I have continued to study with several of the top coaches in Texas and LA including the Nancy Banks Studio in Hollywood. Now, I teach acting classes for kids and adults too. See info at BreathOfLifeProductions.com
MM: Do you have a credit on your resume you consider your ‘big break’?
ML: I don’t really look at it that way. This business is so much about relationships. I’d look at it more like that. Building authentic and lasting relationships with my peers as we all continue to advance together in the business is a much bigger win than any one-off film or show in my opinion. Relationships get you through the hard times and cause your phone to ring when no one else is calling you for a gig…
MM: What was the main motivation for getting your own productions going?
ML: When we started, I really wanted to promote my acting career, but through the journey of this film, my eyes and heart were opened a lot to several other areas of production. So, now I don’t just consider myself an actor who happens to write, direct, and produce when necessary. I consider myself equally all of the above. And I look for opportunities to do each of these different skill sets regardless of whether or not all of the other titles come along with that particular “role”.
MM: And how long has the idea for “The Runners” been with you?
ML: The original idea was written down back in 2013 I believe. Then, when Joey and I decided to produce the movie together, we looked through several of the concepts/scripts that I had already written and we landed on The Runners. From there it was a labor of love as I wrote and re-wrote the script all the way up to (and through) production. From original concept to our July 14, 2020 release date, this project is about six years in the making.
MM: What films or filmmakers influenced you, especially in relation to “The Runners”?
ML: I grew up on action films. My dad took me to the local theaters all the time and action was just about all we ever watched. My major influences growing up were Schwarzenegger, Stallone, Willis and Mel Gibson. In preparing for The Runners I got into Peter Berg’s directing style and stuff like that. We wanted this movie to feel very gritty and raw because of its subject matter of human trafficking.
MM: How was it working with the legendary Tom Sizemore?
ML: Tom was great! As a guy who grew up on action films, I have to say, it was a little surreal sitting outside one-on-one, running lines with Tom at first, but he was so down to earth that it quickly faded and my training kicked in, just like it would with any other actor. When we weren’t filming, Tom and I spent a lot of time talking about sports and life and God and all kinds of stuff. He also shared a lot of cool inside stories from working with some of the greatest actors and directors of all time. We had a really great time together.