Portraying an overzealous Patriots fan facing Tom Brady in a 2012 “Funny or Die” video was a career highlight for Quincy actor Mike Mitchell. But as coach Bill Belichick would say, he’s on “Tomorrow”.
Mitchell, a 2001 graduate of North Quincy High, co-starred with Chris Pratt in the alien invasion thriller, “The Tomorrow War,” released July 2 on Amazon Prime. The two play as soldiers who travel through time 30 years into the future to erase a threat to all of humanity.
Brady may have helped Mitchell get famous with the track “Funny or Die,” but Pratt, the star of the hit “Jurassic World” and “Guardians of the Galaxy” franchises is now Mitchell’s Horseman or Death.
“Tom left us and went to Tampa Bay and Pratt took over,” said Mitchell, 38. “I appreciate that Pratt played this role of Brady.”
They first shared scenes from the sitcom “Parks and Recreation,” where Mitchell had a recurring role as Pawnee resident Bjorn Lerpiss. This is the role that earned him his SAG card, a milestone for actors trying to break into Hollywood.
In August 2019, days after auditioning, Mitchell found himself in Pratt’s orbit again, sitting next to the star on the Los Angeles-Atlanta flight. “He was reading the script for the new ‘Jurassic World’,” Mitchell said. “I had planned to sleep, but decided not to because I didn’t want to snore.” Mitchell also remembers Pratt ordering a healthy lunch. “I told her I felt bad for having the burger. And he said to me: ‘No! We need you! The real you! No salads! ‘”
Behind the scenes of “Demain Guerre”
The cast of “Tomorrow” is completed by Oscar winner JK Simmons (“Whiplash”), Betty Gilpin (“Glow”), Sam Richardson (“Veep”), Mary Lynn Rajskub (“24 “), Edwin Hodge (” The Purge “) Jasmine Mathews (” The Rookie “) and Yvonne Strahovski, (” The Handmaid’s Tale “). Under the direction of Chris McKay (“The Lego Movie”), filming took about five months, starting with a grueling week of training camp to master an AR-14 rifle. “I’ve never shot a gun before and had to learn to shoot,” Mitchell said. He was put to the test by retired Navy SEAL Kevin Kent, who also trained Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson and Chris Hemsworth. Kent was also Mitchell’s stunt double. “He’s a wild man,” Mitchell said.
Mitchell admits playing against the guy as daring futuristic soldier Robert Cowan. In terms of looks, style and demeanor, Mitchell is a cross between Zach Galifianakis and Chris Farley. With a mug full of facial hair and a sturdy physique, Mitchell typically ends up playing characters with names like “Sweaty Beard” or “Slushy Shower”.
“I didn’t think I had any action star qualities, and some people might still wonder if I have any after watching the movie,” Mitchell said with a laugh. “But, they wanted a few comedians … to bring lightness to a dark sci-fi action movie.”
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Cowan, however, is not meant to be the hero. That role falls to Pratt’s sculpted shoulders.
“Cowan is an average guy who works at GameStop,” Mitchell said. “He plays the video game ‘Call of Duty’ and loves it but has no experience in it. Once in the war zone, he realizes that he doesn’t want to be there. hide that fighting aliens. He’s a nice guy, thrown into a situation where he’s in big trouble.
Mitchell’s character, originally named Tank, has the distinction of being the first to spot alien predators – known as “white tips” – while saving scientists from a research facility. “It was so cool for me to have this moment. I think everyone who watches the movie thinks I’m about to be killed there, ”Mitchell said. “My cousin I watched him with was like, ‘oh, no Mike’ …”
Mitchell is later shot and must remove a spike from his body. That didn’t make the movie’s final cut, but an unscripted incident where Pratt stumbles over Mitchell’s foot and falls has been preserved. “Pratt falls and slides and fires his gun at the same time and he looks good to do it,” Mitchell said. “My big feet caused a really cool moment in the movie.”
Mitchell is also called upon to fire his AR-14 at a group of hidden firecrackers rigged to look like bullets exploding into the wall. “The special effects guy came over to me and told me you have 1.5 seconds to fire your gun and go either way to make it look realistic,” Mitchell said. “I was told not to cross anybody’s path, and on top of that, I was directed, and I was like, ‘Oh my god, there is so much that strikes me. “And once the firecrackers are gone it takes a full half hour to put them back in place. We nailed it. I’ve never had a set so happy with me. Not even because of my game. actor, but because I moved the gun correctly, that was the day I felt like an action hero.
Looking for laughs in Hollywood
Mitchell got his start in show business doing comedy skits for a troupe called The Birthday Boys. He also played roles in Judd Apatow’s Netflix series “Love” and did “The Simpsons,” lending his Boston accent to an obnoxious local sports fan. He starred in Fox’s “The Mindy Project” and played a restless viewer in the Netflix movie, “Desperados”. He featured a bar in an upcoming episode of the AMC series, “Kevin Can F *** Himself”.
When he’s not saving the world, Mitchell can be heard co-hosting the Doughboys, a comedy podcast popular on chain restaurants. Last spring, the podcast hosted a 25-hour streaming marathon for the Restaurant Workers Relief Fund, raising over $ 200,000. The stream included a visit from Quincy. “My co-host (Nick Wiger) and I stayed awake for 25 straight hours,” Mitchell said.
‘Just a Quincy Child’
Mitchell comes from a very Quincy family. Son of lifelong Quincy resident Corinne and the late William A. Mitchell. Mom was a teacher at North Quincy High School and dad was a general counsel at the MBTA and a founding member of the Granite Links Golf Club. Mike’s sister, Courtney, is principal of Merrymount Elementary School. Her cousin, Neil Kiley, owns the Fat Cat restaurant in Quincy.
He moved to Los Angeles 16 years ago after graduating from Ithaca College, where he earned a degree in film production, with a concentration in screenwriting. Although he’s been on the West Coast and lost most of his Boston accent, Mitchell hasn’t strayed from his Quincy – he still pronounces it “Quin-zee” – his roots. He hasn’t given up his “617” phone number and his cat, “Wolly,” is named after his neighborhood of Wollaston.
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After eight months of living with mom because of the pandemic, Mitchell will soon be reunited in Los Angeles at the premiere of “The Tomorrow War” on June 30. He will be accompanied by two dates: his mother and his sister. He’ll walk the Bank of California Stadium red carpet in a new suit he bought from Nordstrom in Braintree.
Being at the forefront of an otherworldly battle in “The Tomorrow War” is a far cry from her first role – a munchkin in a summer camp theater production of “The Wizard of Oz”. Mitchell describes the movie as a “crazy big sci-fi summer movie” that he still can’t believe was a part of.
“I’m just a Quincy kid,” Mitchell said. “Being on that giant set with the fake rain and holding guns next to Chris Pratt and Sam Richardson was a dream.”
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Contact Dana Barbuto at firstname.lastname@example.org.