A Chicago native, Kevin has been an actor in Los Angeles since he made the move to Southern California 10 years ago. Aside from being known as Eric Miller on TNT/Michael Bay’s “The Last Ship”, he has also started his own stock investment group known as the Black Dune Fund.
How did you end up in LA?
I knew if I wanted to be an actor, Los Angeles was the place I needed to be. I studied theater at Illinois State University for two years, then transferred into UCLA for performance for the remaining two. It was tough to leave my world behind in Chicago, but it was the right move.
I’m sure you get asked this a lot, but how do you like your role as Miller on TLS?
It was a two episode character that turned into a series regular down the line. I think it was partially due to the role being one that had a lot of room for growth. The progression of Miller, both physically and mentally from Season 1 to Season 5 has been powerful. My goal throughout the production has been for the audience to follow this novice soldier into adulthood where he rises in the ranks of the U.S. Navy. I have been lucky enough to grow up on this show, and I believe the people watching at home have witnessed that progression.
What’s been your favorite project? And what’s next?
The Last Ship has been the best journey in my career so far. The cast and crew have grown so close to each other. When you are lucky enough to go 5 Seasons on a show, you know those relationships are everlasting. I’d like to revisit my comedy roots after the show is over. That said, I must say I would not mind doing a Season 6 if that becomes available with the TNT network. I take each day as it is because Hollywood is never afraid to pull the rug out from under you.
Acting and investing are your passions, do you ever see investing taking the limelight away from acting?
This is a question I have been getting a lot more in the past year. It may be hard to believe, but these two passions have been able to coexist extremely well since the very start. I am able to focus on the show for the days I film, and watch the stock market on the days I’m not. Acting work comes and goes. This industry is sporadic and can drive a man insane if he doesn’t have other areas to turn to. The market supplies me with that relief, as well as plenty of stress!
Will my investing ever take the limelight? I’ve chosen a profession that will always have the limelight so I’m not concerned on that front. I’m lucky to have two passions in life that bring me such joy. That said, acting is and shall always remain my living dream. Performance is the captain in my life, investing is the co-captain. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
How is Michael Bay?
Michael is more behind the scenes now. He is the top executive producer so everything goes through him before the people watch it at home. He has not yelled in the moments I’ve come in contact with him, although I would think it was super cool if he did! I grew up a big fan of the Transformers franchise, so being a part of this talented team behind “The Last Ship” is incredible. I could not ask for a better opportunity at this point in my career.
Let’s say you have unlimited funds. What would your ideal role be?
Jack, my youngest brother, hosted a party a couple months back and one of his fellow USC film comrades asked me a similar question. I will deliver the same response I gave to him: “I refuse to answer that question because I must refrain from putting myself into a category of what I think is possible. You offer me a role and I will bring my best version of the truth to that character”. I can focus on what I want as an artist but must understand what others see me as. That is the challenge. I play a tactical squad member in the explosive world of Michael Bay. I can tell you right now this was never on my list of characters to play because I never thought it would be possible. Now, that list of desired characters is unknown and, as an actor, I believe it should remain that way.
What was your worst “finding a location” horror story?
My brother Jack and I produced indie films in Chicago for 10 years. The list of horror stories is nothing short of abundant. If I had to select one moment in time, it would be when we lost a location the night before we were slated to shoot a large party sequence at a college fraternity. The stress of finding locations and locking them down for a decent price, especially when you are a young filmmaker, is extremely difficult. We ended up sneaking into a large night club and filming as much as we could guerrilla style.
What do you like most about Wrapal?
From both an investment and producing standpoint, Wrapal is a fantastic concept. Independent filmmaking has never been bigger. The advancement in camera technology has made indie films far easier to create than when I was growing up. This growth has led to a higher need for locations to create those stories. Wrapal makes that possible. If only my brother and I had this site when we were growing up.
It’s the end of the world and you can only choose one item. What would it be?
Water. Easiest question in the bundle to answer. The scarcity of water is only growing. I am actually heavily invested in water because I believe it will become a commodity down the line. Water would sustain me enough to find some sort of weapon if necessary.
A bar fight is about to go down. You can choose anyone to get your back against the group of assailants. Who would it be?
Definitely my middle brother, Jimmy. The kid is built like an ox and I’m pretty sure he has been in more fights than I have credits on my resume. These were college days of course, but still–he’s my guy. For Season 4 preparation, I worked out about 12-14 hours a week for muscle build. It took me 3 months of that to finally have just a bit more muscle mass than him. Lets keep in mind he hits the gym about a quarter of that time because he works full time at an agency. Sadly, Season 4 is now over, and the balance has been restored. He is now much stronger than I am again.