Michael Emery Offers Humor and Heart to Nonprofit Autism Drama, Randy's Canvas
Nick R Murphy
Michael Emery has led a storied career throughout the last decade, taking on various roles in movies and television. With his role in Randy's Canvas, Emery brings his special brand of charisma to this touching story of an autistic artist who falls in love for the first time. Co-written and directed by Sean Michael Beyer, Randy's Canvas explores the realities of autism without resorting to cliche or exaggeration. Many disorders on the autism spectrum have been covered on screen before in unrealistic and contrived ways, but Randy's Canvas promises to depict the condition in a truthful and positive light. The filmmakers worked closely with The Autism Project in Rhode Island to ensure authenticity in the portrayal of autism on film.
In Randy's Canvas, Michael Emery plays Henry, a big city dreamer who is roommates with Randy (Adam Carbone), a good hearted painter living with the daily struggles of autism. With Henry's help, Randy pushes himself to overcome the constant pressures of social anxiety in order to pursue the girl of his dreams.To prepare for the part of Henry, Emery had to attain a new kind of balance in order to find the core of his character. In the past, he found himself primarily in dramatic roles with no room for comedic inflection in his delivery. However, with Randy's Canvas, Emery was given the chance to express a lighter side of his personality, but it was not without challenges. As he explains:
"Comedy is hard. With drama you have the responsibility to find the emotional truth, but with comedy in playing Henry, I had to have the emotional truth and the technique on top of it."
Emery makes a valid point. To find the elusive nuances that make comedic performances true to life, it is important to establish equilibrium amongst the genuine human emotions that bring realism to a character. The delivery must come off organic. If not, it will feel forced. The humor will lose the spark of spontaneity that gives good comedy that intangible fresh feeling, which could make a character's more sincere moments feel disingenuous. It's a level of technique that Emery is more than game for, and in Randy's Canvas he gives it his all.
In regards to his path as a performer, Emery had this to say:
"I think there was something in me at a young age that was not worried about success, but worried about becoming a better actor."
There is dignity in having the humility to forgo the allure of fame and fortune to perfect one's craft. Once mastered, it affords ample opportunity for better work in the future. Actors like Michael Emery are willing to do everything it takes to hone the skills required to produce quality work for some of hardest working filmmakers on the indie film scene.
Emery's professionalism as an actor speaks volumes about his commitment to Henry's character, as well as his function in the creative universe that unfolds around him. In the universe of Randy's Canvas, we see the world through the autism spectrum. Within that spectrum is a message of hope that inspires the strength to conquer all obstacles we may face in life. This is a moral that resonates with all audiences, which makes Randy's Canvas a movie that needs to be seen. Not only as a heartwarming coming of age love story, but also as a way to spread awareness of an often misunderstood condition, which could open people's eyes to any misconceptions they may have.
While a unique production in and of itself, perhaps the most unique aspect of Randy's Canvas is its designation as a nonprofit film. All proceeds from the movie are to be donated to The Autism Project, Rhode Island. Which will help fund programs for families and individuals affected everyday by autism, giving them the tools they need to maintain productive and fulfilling lives for years to come.
Michael Emery is proud to have lent his talents to such a special film. A film made for a great cause that has the power to change lives. In discussing his process in creating fully formed characters in front the camera, Emery says that,
"I never try and ACT. I try and simply bring out the animal that's inside of me."
With that level of naturalism on display, there is no doubt we will see Michael Emery's name many more times in the future ahead.
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