As far as Michael Oberholtzer knew, he didn’t get the acting job.
As a Fort Wayne native turned actor living in New York City, he knew not to take it personal – that’s show business.
He had auditioned for a role in Delivery Man, starring Vince Vaughn. The writer and director of the film, Ken Scott, didn’t like him for the role he auditioned for. But Oberholtzer’s agent called him to say that Scott wanted to see him audition for a new role – one that required improvisational acting one-on-one with Vaughn.
He didn’t know it at that time, but Oberholtzer was on his way to booking his first studio movie.
You can’t ever plan these things out. It doesn’t work that way, he says on the phone from New York. You never know what your next project is going to be, and I wasn’t anticipating it. When they sent me the paperwork with DreamWorks (Pictures) on it, it was awesome – I’m not too proud to say that I was humbled.
Oberholtzer stars as Kyle Walters in the film, which is set to open today. The film is a U.S. remake of Scott’s 2011 French-Canadian film, Starbuck, which centers on the affable underachiever David Wozniak (Vaughn), who learns he has fathered 533 children through sperm bank donations 20 years earlier, and that 142 of his offspring are determined to find out his identity.
The news brings a number of surprises and personal connections Wozniak has been missing for a lifetime.
Oberholtzer will play one of the seven primary children featured in the movie.
Living in New York since 2005, Oberholtzer says he is far from the naïve actor he was when he first arrived.
I have found that much of my training came into process once I started auditioning, he says. So much of acting is auditioning – at least that’s what I’ve deduced thus far. Mastering those four minutes you get for a scene.
Oberholtzer says he grew up entertaining his family and friends participating in school plays and choirs. Although he enjoyed the stage, he says it was a group of mentors and teachers who thought he should consider studying theater in college.
His Chicago visit to Columbia College, the largest private nonprofit arts and media college in the nation, confirmed that. Oberholtzer graduated from Bishop Luers High School in 2001.
I was really excited about going to school in (Chicago). I knew I wanted to have that school experience, he says. Once I got there, it became overwhelming within a couple of months. It was a big city, and it wasn’t like the traditional student body. It took me a while to find my way.
Studying interdisciplinary dramatic arts and writing, Oberholtzer found his way by creating short films with his peers and friends on the weekends and becoming a student ambassador. He says the big push to be an actor came from mentor and seasoned New York acting teacher Maggie Flanigan a week before graduation. She invited Oberholtzer to attend her six-week summer course in New York.
She said, Listen, this is what you’re going to do. You’re going to be an actor and you’re going to New York,’ Oberholtzer says. It was kind of nice being told what to do since I didn’t know what to do. At the end of my six weeks, Maggie thought I should stay and do the two-year conservatory program.
So I packed up my apartment in Chicago, and moved out here with a couple of duffle bags.
Since moving to New York, Oberholtzer has been featured in an array of theater, film and TV projects, including a guest star role on Law and Order.
He says that working on a major studio production suich as Delivery Man was also a learning experience, especially when it came to improvisational acting. Toward the end of filming, Oberholtzer says Vaughn stepped on set for a scene, and didn’t say a word about what the two were going to talk about until the director called action.
Improv is a part of the process; it’s how you get in the mind of the character, but to have permission to do it on camera – I had never done that before, he says. On one hand, it creates a lot of anxiety, but it can be really freeing. You can’t be in your head too much because you don’t really know what’s going to happen.
Oberholtzer also has continued writing, which he says always helps keeps his creativity flowing. He is currently working on an unfinished draft of a stage play that requires some more digging and drilling. As far as acting goes, he says he is still on the pursuit for any role that is a fit for him.
My goal is to continue to book work, do good work and learn my craft, he says. If I can make a living at this, then that’s a success because it’s a tough business and incredibly very few people are fortunate to do that.
Ending the year with his first studio film in the theaters, Oberholtzer says he’ll be returning home for the holidays to watch the film with family. He says that he has already received a lot of support from old friends on Facebook who have spotted him in the film’s preview trailer, and he is filled with gratitude.
I can step back and see that I’ve been able to make some strides in my career. I’ve been fortunate enough to have booked some jobs and had the opportunity to audition for other works. I’ve been making some progress, he says. I’m getting better at seeing those moments when they happen – those moments you think are never going to come.