You might recognize Aaron Muñoz from his role on The Walking Dead, or from films like Cadillac Records and CBGB. We talk about growing up in the Midwest, working on TV, film, and stage, and we discuss playing the role of Francis Henshall in One Man, Two Guvnors, which you can catch at Georgia Shakespeare in Atlanta July 11th – 29th.
I see that like me, you’re from the Midwest! How does a guy from Middle America become an actor?
I got into acting in a lot of non-traditional ways. As a kid, performing (through church, boy scouts, school) was always fun and an outlet for making people laugh. In high school we never did a full production of a play, but performed scenes, wrote, and made movies. I also played the part of class clown. The irony is that the stuff that got me in trouble then is what I get paid to do now.
At eighteen I didn’t know much, but knew I wanted to be an actor. Post high school I went to Columbia College Chicago, a fantastic school that utilized the Chicago theatre scene and provided me a wonderful, safe place to grow as an artist and man.
Tell us a little about One Man, Two Guvnors and the role you’re playing.
One Man, Two Guvnors is an incredibly funny, silly, British farce (based on Goldoni’s Servant of Two Masters) that was performed on Broadway two years ago. This Georgia Shakespeare production is one of the first to be done outside of NYC and I couldn’t be happier to be playing the lead, Francis Henshall. As Francis I get to use my improv background, clowning skills, and I even get the girl at the end. It’s a dream role for a character actor and I’m having a blast.
You’ve been part of some amazing projects in TV, film, and on stage. Do you have a favorite medium?
It’s a tough choice. Performing live is like nothing else – but honestly, gun to my head, right now I’d choose Television. The storytelling in TV is so good right now that it’s be hard to turn down, even if I had other options.
I noticed in your bio that you’re based in Nashville – how does living there as opposed to NYC or L.A. affect (or even inform) your work as an actor?
My wife and I are still pretty new to Nashville. She went to Vanderbilt for graduate school and recently got hired at Vandy. After years of moving around we’re so happy to have some roots in an amazing city. Since moving from New York I’ve actually had a ‘NY actor’s career’ without living in the city. I go out of town for work a lot, spend time on each coast, and the bonus is I make my living as an actor (for cheaper rent!) Wherever you are, at a certain point you’re going to have to travel for gigs. I made the choice to be in a city I love knowing that the work is just a part of my life – a passionate, essential part – but just a part.
I’ve spoken to other actors about being a bigger guy in the entertainment industry – some say it’s more difficult, and some say they don’t notice a difference. Could you talk a little about your experience being a plus size actor in this business?
The entertainment industry isn’t easy. I’ve lost gigs because I’m too big, because I’m not big enough, or I’ve got blue eyes. Whatever. You have to be comfortable in your own skin and celebrate who you are. Being unique in this industry is an asset. There are a ton of six foot blond guys with abs competing for roles – but not a lot like me.
What’s next for you?
After the play ends I’ll be spending some time in Los Angeles and remounting a 2-man production of Romeo & Juliet that my buddy and I performed in New York. It’s called ‘2 Assholes, 2 Households: Shakespeare’s R & J. And yes, I’m playing Juliet.