Montrel Maurice Miller is no stranger to television and the big screen. He has a recurring role in Tyler Perry’s “House of Payne” and a film debut in Unconditional (2012) which starred Michael Ealy. He’s returning to film with the title role in Studio 11 Films’ Nice Guy alongside mentor and actor Miguel Nuñez, among others.
Here, the high school salutatorian and FAMU summa cum laude honor talks mentors, inspiration and Martin Lawrence. –yvette caslin
Where you were born?
I was born and raised in Newton, Ga.
Why did you take this role?
I took this role because I love the message of the story. My character (Dan) goes through a battle with self and a lot of it is due to the pressures of society. I feel many people can relate to this.
Did you have any particular mentors or inspirations as a young actor?
I always was inspired by Martin Lawrence and Jim Carrey, comedic geniuses and I love their physical comedy skills. Also, Denzel Washington and Al Pacino, I love how they are able to own scenes and bring an unique level of urgency to them.
The one movie attended that you will never forget:
Bad Boys I
Your personal acting idols:
Denzel Washington, Al Pacino, Will Smith, Martin Lawrence, Meryl Streep, Michael Ealy, Thandie Newton, Hilary Swank and Ryan Reynolds
Last good movie you saw:
Think Like A Man
Some films you consider classics:
The Godfather 1-3, Goodwill Hunting, Lion King, The Shawshank Redemption, Malcolm X, Friday, Titanic, Bad Boys 1-2, Scarface, John Q, Dark Knight, Taxi Driver, Why Did I Get Married and Bridesmaids
Performer you would drop everything to go see:
Michael Jackson. If I have to pick someone who is living, I choose Kanye West.
Pop culture guilty pleasure:
I am a fan of skinny jeans. (Not super skinny though)
Atlanta, Washington D.C., Los Angeles, Chicago and Toronto
First CD/Tape/LP you owned:
First Tape I owned was when I was in the 4th grade. It was Outkast’s “ATLiens” album.
Moment you knew you wanted to perform for a living:
During a step show, my fraternity’s step team played my P. Diddy parody skit (I was portraying P. Diddy) for a crowd of 10,000 and everyone thoroughly enjoyed my performance.
Worst flubbed line/missed cue/onstage mishap:
Once on stage, I was given the wrong cue and entered the stage in the middle of an intimate scene that character had no parts being in. I had to improv the entire time. It was a tough one, but we made it look like it was originally a part of the script.
Most challenging role you have played:
I played an individual who was molested numerous times when he was younger by his uncle. In his adult life, he has to care for his uncle and also battle with the effects it has on his everyday life.
Worst job you ever had:
I was a Human Directional and my job description was to dress up like a chipmunk on the side of the road and direct people into an apartment complex. I was dancing and holding a sign that said “BIG SAVINGS”. Extremely cold hot temperatures were not my friends.
Career you would want if not a performer:
I would be a lawyer.
Three things you can’t live without:
My family, acting, and my “Martin” DVDs