Supanova Interview: Michael Rosenbaum opens up about depression, anxiety & social Media; Lex Luthor & his Podcast Inside Of You

Through years of on-screen and off-screen, films (Sorority Boys, The Neighbour), cartoons (Avatar: The Last Airbender, Justice League) & TV (Smallville), Michael Rosenbaum has become a sensation, garnering fans from all around the globe and now, running his own Acclaimed Podcast ‘Inside of You With Michael Rosenbaum’. Lex Luthor himself arrives on our shores now in just a weeks time. I got to sit down and have a chat with Michael and his dog about everything that has brought him to this moment in his life.

We chat about the serious stuff, depression and anxiety, Alzheimer’s; and the good stuff, his love of Australia and the many amazing guests he has already had on his Podcast Inside of You. We discuss what makes a great Luthor and have a joke about not being cast in Zach Snyder’s rendition of his Justice League. Michael has such an hilariously dry sense of humour but he has a humble, honest and open personality, he’s not afraid to say how it is and that is why we all love him so much. So, let’s get to it.

David Hunter: Hey Michael. How are you?

Michael: I’m doing well. Except I don’t know if it was my dog that farted or my assistant.

You’ve got a lot of that happening around you, Michael. I think just, everyone likes farting around you.

Yeah. I think that’s true, and I think it was me. I’m not going to blame my assistant. She’s a girl. She’s not going to appreciate if people think she farts. But yeah, anyway. How are you?

I’m good. I’ve been sitting in the car waiting for the phone call, listening to more Inside of You (Michael Rosenbaum’s official Podcast). It’s been pretty sweet.

Yes. Dude, I love that you listen to it. Thank-you. Whatever you could do to give it a plug. Listen to it for free on iTunes, or themichaelrosenbaum.com. It’s free there. I’m trying to get as many great guests, because I know people want to hear. I just interviewed Bruce Campbell and Zachary Levi and Dominic Monaghan. I love it.

Here in Australia you’ve got a lot of fans jumping onboard with it now. The episodes I’ve caught up with, my highlight’s been your brother interviewing yourself. Stealing Caramello bars from the concession carts comes to mind. Of course, James Gunn who’s enchanting to listen to. He’s on my bucket list I may never achieve. But who’s been your absolute favourite to speak to so far over the course of the series?

You know, I talk about this, but it’s become therapy for me. It’s nice to hear from these big giant movie stars and TV stars and athletes that, they experience adversity and they experience depression or anxiety or failure. It makes me feel better about myself, and I think when people listen, they can sort of go, “These people aren’t perfect. They don’t have great lives”. I think that everybody has been really interesting. I’ve had my favourites. I mean, Zach Levi and I both almost cried and we talk about it. It got emotional. Rob Benedict who did some Supernatural episodes, he and I had a moment. James Gunn was great.

I’ve really, really just enjoyed all of them. Even Tom Welling and I, it was really nostalgic. Bruce Campbell came on and he was stoned the whole time. It was a blast, he opened up. I think everybody’s really opening up and realizing that this is sort of a comfortable platform to just enjoy it and have a good conversation and feel safe. I’m digging the people listening to it, and I really like that more and more personalities are coming onto the show and they’re liking it.

Well I didn’t want to bring up the serious chat straight away, but you’re talking about the podcast now. One of the things you stated is that no one wants to hear you’re miserable or how depressed you are, especially on social media. Depression in the workplace. Online bullying. It’s such a huge deal here in Australia now, and many other countries. Social media’s the new outlet for many people’s thoughts, like how we used to write down in diaries of old. But I know, times to get tough, especially when shit doesn’t go your way. Are you someone who likes to keep it all inside? All your emotional baggage inside? Especially away from the public prying eyes and media? Or do you think it’s healthier to try to tell someone when you’re feeling down, but not express it so much on such a public platform?

That’s a tough question. All the things you talk about in bullying and things like that, those sort of issues should be brought up and should be all over social media for awareness and things. But the thing I’m talking about more is, if you’re on Facebook and your friends are always just saying, “Another crappy day, this happened and this happened”. It’s like, to me that’s not what Facebook’s for. I feel like Facebook is like, maybe if something happens in your life where it’s like, someone passed away and you say, ‘I want to say I love this person'”. You can say what you want to say, but there’s a lot of those Debbie Downers out there that are always, everything’s tragic, Everyone’s a victim. Everything’s the end of the world.

I think I was gearing that more towards friends on Facebook than I was real problems and real issues that arise in society. I definitely think with Twitter it’s become sort of the National Enquirer, and every second there’s a new headline, and this and that. People base where they get their information. It’s all off of Twitter. It’s so omnipresent. There’s so much going on in the world. I think a lot of it’s important to be broadcast so we can see the horrors that are going on. But it definitely gets oversaturated.

For me, I mostly like to put fun things online, and not get too involved with that stuff. If I do get involved, I get involved in a real way. Either helping out with an organization or donating or doing something. To me that’s important. Or marching for something, or walking for something. I walked for the Alzheimer’s walk for my grandfather. There’s a difference. There’s a difference between something very important and something that needs to be talked about, and then things that are first world problems. Sometimes it’s hard to differentiate, but I try to.

That’s what I love so much about your show. It’s like, it makes you think as well. It just lets it all out of everybody, and it was beautiful hearing you talk about your grandfather. I’m really sorry to hear what he’s going through. It must be bloody hard. It’s good hearing you talk about it. It was really good.

I appreciate that. I think a lot of people, they suffer from it, so it’s nice to have a voice and it’s nice to say, “I’m going to go walk for my grandfather and Walk for Alzheimer’s“. My grandfather’s had a great life. He was my best friend. It’s hard to see him like this, but it’s nice to know, when you hear Bill Gates is putting $50 Million, and all these people are working on it. You just wish that they would have done it years ago. But you want to find the cure so other people don’t have to suffer and watch their families go through what you had to experience with some of your family members.

That’s right. Well something a bit different now. I wanted to say thank-you for being the best Lex Luthor we’ve had in basically any media related content. My wife and I just absolutely loved Smallville, and you were one of the best parts about it. When you left for a bit there it kind of sucked a little bit. But you came back and it was fantastic. What do you think of the current slate of DC and Marvel films and their villains? Have you had any stand out? The ones that you would rather forget about or ones that you love?

That’s also a tough question to answer. The first part of your question, or it was more of a statement, I never get tired of hearing that. I love that people appreciated what I did with Lex Luthor. To think that it was just a TV show and it’s a character. But the fans are pretty loyal and the fans are pretty vocal on how they feel about different things. I didn’t know what to do with Lex Luthor other than be vulnerable, be real, memorize your lines, and do it your way and see if they like it. That’s all I could do, and they appreciated it, and they embraced Lex and what I was doing with him. For that I’m forever grateful.

That’s something I love hearing. When people say, “You’re the best Lex ever”, and, “Who’s your favourite Lex?”. I’m like, “Well I always loved Gene Hackman. That was my Lex Luthor”. I love to hear either, “You were the best”, or, “You were the second best”. I mean, hell, top three would be cool. But it’s always nice to hear that.

In terms of the movies out there, I didn’t see Justice League, but I did see, what was it, Superman versus?

Batman v Superman?

Batman v Superman. The one with Jesse Eisenberg. Yeah, I think it’s hard to criticize someone else’s work, because I think Jesse Eisenberg is a great actor. He’s just great. I’ve worked with him and I think Social Network was genius. He’s a terrific actor. This was a direction that both he and the studio and the director, Zach Snyder, wanted to do. That was their choice. It doesn’t really matter what I think or not, but the fans, I have a feeling, it looks as though they didn’t love it. It had a lot of issues with it from what I’ve read.

They say, “Why didn’t you play Lex Luthor in that thing?”. I go ‘jokingly’, “Well I wasn’t given an opportunity”. My joke is, “I didn’t even expect it. How about just a fucking audition, Zach (Zach Snyder)? Jesus, man. Let the guy audition who did it for seven years”.  You think that there’s that stigma and there was for people crossing over from TV into movies. But it’s not the case anymore. That’s pretty much universal now. People go in and out of TV, in and out of movies.

People say, “Would you love to play Lex Luthor again someday?”. I’m like, “I did it. Would I do it again? Sure”. If it was the right vehicle. I always thought, my whole thing is, Lex Luthor should be conniving and brilliant, and when he loses his shit it means something. He’s not The Joker and he’s not crazy like that. Everything is internalized and powerful. That’s who Lex Luthor is in my mind, and should always be. However that response, well whatever you think of that, that’s how I feel ultimately.

You’re coming over to Australia very soon of course for Supanova Comic Con & Gaming Expo. You’ve been over to these dandy shores before. What’s made you come back this time? Other than seeing your fans, is there something else that’s bringing you over here and what else are you getting up to when you visit?

You know, there’s certain conventions that you do, and certain times in your life where you’re like, “I want to do this again. I’ve got to come back here”. Given any opportunity to come to Australia is, if I’m not doing a film, I’ve already been putting a lot of podcast guests. I’ve already, I’ve been recording a lot, so I’m saving up so I’ll have a couple weeks to relax in Australia while my podcast is airing. I just love to go there, and the people are fantastic. Daniel who runs the thing is just, he’s become a friend. He invited me again, and I’d be stupid not to do that. It’s just the best place on Earth. If I didn’t live in the US I’d move to Australia.

You got any plans? Anything you want to see you didn’t get to see last time?

I don’t know, but I hope maybe the fans could tweet me and Instagram me and write to me on Facebook and tell me what I need to do in Melbourne and Gold Coast, and other things that I need to explore and check out that I’ll absolutely love, because I’m up for anything.

You need to get back to Sydney, because that’s where I’m at.

I’ll go to Sydney. Maybe I’ll come on my own anyway. I love Sydney. I hear Mazzy Star is playing in Sydney, the singer from the ’90s who still tours and who’s amazing. Listen to some Mazzy Star. It’s good when you’re having sex, not that I do that a lot.

What’s next for you now? What’s on your to do list? 

I did a movie called The Neighbour which just came out on iTunes, with Bill Fichtner from Prison Break and Armageddon. He is fantastic. I did that movie. I was one of the leads in that. It’s really good.

Stephen King tweeted it and said he loved it. I did a video game for DC that I can’t talk about. I’m writing a script right now for myself with a couple producers attached, and hopefully get that sold and make it, with me starring. Just writing a lot, and doing some conventions, and doing the podcast, Inside of You with Michael Rosenbaum.

So, you don’t have much time for things like video games and watching films then?

You know, I love this show called Dark on Netflix. I think it’s the best show on TV. I just thought it was phenomenal. If you haven’t seen it, look, I don’t even know anybody in it. It’s in German and make sure you listen to it in German with English subtitles. But to me it’s the best series of the year.

It was fantastic.

Yeah. Holy shit, man. That was a show that just blew my mind. I couldn’t believe it every week. It’s almost like you don’t even need movies anymore. You’ve got Netflix. My dog’s moaning. He does not like me talking this much.

Alright. Well thanks so much for your time, mate. I’d love to shake your hand one day, especially if you get to Sydney.

Yeah man. If you can somehow get over to Gold Coast or Melbourne do it. We’ll hang out for a minute.

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Sadly, I won’t be able to attend due to living in NSW, but thousands of other fans will and anyone that wants to take up his offer to hang with Michael for a minute, you will have to get along to Supanova yourself and grab an autograph for me while you’re there.

Supanova Comic Con & Gaming Expo will be held in Melbourne April 20th – 22nd at the Melbourne Showgrounds and again on the Gold Coast April 27th – 29th at the Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre.