The very funny, very talented “Impastor” actor cracks us up with tales of inappropriate on-set behavior, why voice acting is so fun, and his penchant for showing some skin (and no, we don’t mean as a bald Lex Luthor).
Photography by John Hong
Styling by Lisa Martinez
Styling Assistant Tamra Wagner
Grooming by Mandy Perez using Jack Black
Story by Ethel Navales
Video by Jonathan Navales
There just aren’t many people in this world who can say they play a con man pretending to be a gay pastor, but that’s exactly how actor Michael Rosenbaum describes his character Buddy Dobbs on TV Land’s “Impastor.” Most known for his seven-year stint as Lex Luthor on “Smallville,” films such as “Sorority Boys,” and his impressive voice acting skills, Rosenbaum claims “Impastor” is not only a series he feels lucky to be a part of but also one that he truly feels excited about. We got the chance to talk to this actor, director, producer, writer, voice actor and all-around hilarious guy about everything from his “Smallville” days to his most awkward fan interaction.
Composure Magazine: Let’s go way back. What first sparked your interest in acting?
Michael Rosenbaum: I wasn’t popular in high school. In fact, I was pretty dorky. I was more comfortable not being me, so acting was the perfect fit. You got to go on stage and be someone else for a few hours. And the response I got after I did my first play, “Grease,” was amazing. It gave me just enough confidence to do the next play. I really knew I had found my calling.
CM: We’ve read that your mother was a theater actor. Did she help shape your interest in acting?
MR: My mother is so off the wall and theatrical that I’m sure she had something to with it. I’m also sure that she would love to take credit for it.
CM: And how did the rest of your family feel about you pursuing entertainment?
MR: The rest of my family just looked at me like I was crazy.
CM: Tell us about your big move to New York City after college.
MR: I was going to go to grad school, and I sat down with my mentor at Western Kentucky University my senior year. He looked at me and said, “You’re ready. Forget grad school. Go to New York.” I did. And the rest, as they say, is history.
CM: In 2001, you took up the role of Lex Luthor in “Smallville.” What attracted you to this character?
MR: They wanted the show to be grounded and not cartoony. That attracted me. And working attracted me. Plus, nobody had played a young Lex Luthor before, at least not to my knowledge. He was the most dynamic and intense character I’ve ever played. I’m really happy with my work and the show. Tremendously talented cast and crew. I will always have fond memories of “Smallville.” The creator Al Gough, Miles Miller, and I are trying to find something else to do together.
CM: Can you tell us about a favorite moment you’ve had while filming?
MR: I had so much fun making the crew laugh and farting on Tom Welling [who played Clark Kent] daily. He was such a good sport. We had a blast, and we are still friends to this day.
CM: You also directed some of the episodes. How was that like? Is directing something you see yourself doing more of in the future?
MR: I love directing. I know what it’s like as an actor to be directed, and I think it’s easier to talk to actors when you’re one of them. I had directed plays in college, and “Smallville” was my first professional directing gig. I also directed and acted in the movie “Back in the Day,” which also stars Nick Swardson, Morena Baccarin, and a bunch of other comedic actors. We had such a great time. Shot the movie on a shoestring budget. I’m really proud of it.
CM: You embodied the character of Lex for seven years. What was it like leaving the show? What led to this decision?
MR: It was awesome. It made me famous. I’m honored to have played such an iconic character, but seven years was enough. I wanted to do other things, and luckily I have.
CM: You’ve also done quite a bit of voice acting. Any favorite characters to voice?
MR: What a great gig voice acting is. I loved voicing The Flash on “Justice League.” I also enjoy doing the voice for video games. You get to play with yourself. I mean, play the game that you’re in. You know what I mean. Geez. But it’s fun when you just have to show up and talk. No makeup, no lighting, no blocking. Just talking. Oh, how I love talking. I could keep going on.
CM: And you’ve also dabbled in film. Most memorable or favorite movie you’ve taken part in?
MR: Laugh if you will, but I had the most fun on “Sorority Boys,” “Back in the Day,” and “Hit and Run.” Check ‘em out. You can actually see us having fun. I think it really shows.
CM: Do you prefer acting for film or for television?
MR: Film. You work for three months or less and then you move on. I like to play a lot of different roles. But working on a cable network like TV Land, we only do 10 episodes a year, so it’s not too demanding. When I was on “Smallville,” I was bald and cold for 10 months a year.
CM: Describe your ideal role.
MR: I’d love to play a Han Solo type character. I tested for “Guardians of the Galaxy” for [Peter] Quill. That would have been an amazing role to play, and Chris Pratt did such a fantastic job. I also want to play a really dark, relentless psychopath. I really love horror movies.
CM: Currently you play Buddy Dobbs on TV Land’s “Impastor.” Can you tell us the premise of the show in your own words?
MR: It’s about a pot smoking, opportunist con man who steals another man’s identity and becomes the gay pastor of a very small, weird little town.
CM: Tell us about Buddy and what you like about him.
MR: For such a ne’er-do-well, he’s really street smart and very charismatic. I also like that he actually cares about the people he’s conning.
CM: Are you anything like him in real life?
MR: Nah. I’m not a con artist. I don’t do as many drugs as he does either — just an occasional joint. And I don’t know anything about religion, so we are similar there.
CM: How has this second season differed from the first?
MR: For lack of a better word, it’s edgier. And the characters have a lot more depth. You know them better and you care about them more. I think this season is even better than the first. I think people are really happy with it. I know I am. I wish I had shown my ass a few more times this season, though.
CM: Tell us about working with co-star Sara Rue on “Impastor.”
MR: She’s amazing. A really hard worker — sometimes too hard. I admire that. I’m a goofball on set, so we are two completely different people, but we respect each other and have a lot of fun. My goal every day is to make her laugh. I usually get her at least once a week.
CM: What can we look forward to seeing from Buddy in season three?
MR: Ha. Don’t get ahead of yourself. We are still waiting for the pickup. I hope it comes. The show is catching on, and the response has been terrific. Really excited about the series and lucky to be a part of. If there is a season three, I hope we go darker, weirder and funnier. I’m an executive producer on the show so I’ll try to push for that. Or threaten them.
“Impastor” airs Wednesdays at 10:30/9:30c on TV Land.