Horror/Comedy "Kudzu Zombies" taps Hollywood trained actor Michael Joiner to co-star.
Kansas City, MO. June 8, 2016 - Michael Joiner has starred in about a dozen Christian films. He became somewhat of a "name" actor in that genre after landing the lead role in Sony Pictures "The Grace Card." That movie became what's known as a "sleeper" hit when it was introduced to theaters in 2011. Most critics, including Variety and The Hollywood Reporter, agree that it was Joiner's stand out performance that gave the low budget film its boost at the box office.
Now, almost Five years later, Joiner is enjoying a "perk" that many actors seek but only a few attain, the ability to land roles through "offer only", that is, without an audition… And without having to live in LA.
"The Grace Card" gave me my career back when I thought it was all but over, "Says Joiner." "It was truly a miracle for the producers to cast me solely based on my acting reel, even after some big names were lobbying for the role."
Joiner moved his family to LA in 2002 to more seriously study and pursue acting. He was just beginning to see the fruits of his hard work with commercial and TV roles adding up, when in 2008 the sour economy forced him to pack up and move his family back home to Kansas City, MO.
"Of course I was devastated", He said. "But as a Christian I had faith. I knew if God had created me for this, he would make it happen even in Kansas City."
Only a few months after he unpacked the U-Haul back in Kansas City, the opportunity to star in "The Grace Card", opposite Oscar winner Louis Gosset, Jr., fell into his lap.
Eight years later, the actor, who's film roles have gotten him the reputation as quite the "scenes staler”, says his career is going strong. "It's still quite a struggle" says Joiner, who also makes a living as a stand-up Comedian. "I still need to get known in the secular world as well as faith based, if I expect to really make a living on a successful level."
And it appears that is exactly what is happening. This past spring Joiner got the call from one of the producers of a secular based Indy called 'Kudzu Zombies.' "She remembered me from a faith based film I just did with Joey Lawrence". Joiner said.
And once again the former photo-double for actor Bruce Willis found himself being cast, without so much as an audition, in a role that almost went to a "name" actor.
(Producer) "Laura warner was set on casting me in this role. She knew I had the look and the comedy/acting chops to turn it into something special".
After watching Joiners reel the other producers agreed and cast Michael in the coveted role of the Mayor of Charleston, MS., Sam Luckwood.
"The Zombies invade my city during our big annual carnival which happens to be going on during an election year. My character also happens to be at least partially responsible. So a lot is at stake as I seek to help lead as many of the townspeople as I can to safety."
The movie, being filmed in Mississippi, also stars Miles Doleac (The Magnificent Seven), Escalante Lundy (Django Unchained) and Jeremy Sande, from the upcoming Mark Wahlberg film 'Deep Horizon', as well as a host of talented newcomers from LA.
It's Joiners hope that his role in Kudzu Zombies can help serve as a launching pad for bigger roles in big budget TV and Film productions.
"That was always my ultimate goal when we moved to Hollywood, " say Joiner. "I just had to take a bit of a detour."
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