People You Should Know – Michael HagertyPeople You Should Know — By Buddy Sampson on April 6, 2014 at 6:34 am
Telling Life-Changing Stories
Michael Hagerty is one of those producers, determined to tell life-changing stories.
Born in Los Angeles, he and his family relocated to Fresno, but Hagerty he wanted to branch out. “Fresno was a great place to be a kid, but at seventeen, I needed something else,” said Hagerty. He was able to garner a football scholarship to North Park University in Chicago, where he played free safety. “Not that I was a really good player, but they were a bad team,” he laughed about his high school team. While at North Park, he saw a play that featured actor Gary Sinese. “I saw Gary Sinese and said ‘I want to do that.’” he said. Later, Hagerty did a pilot for “NCIS: New York” and it featured, well, Gary Sinese. “I was like, Gary, you’re the reason I’m doing this,” he reflected. “It was kind of a full circle moment.”
You’ve probably seen his face many times in film and television, as he has been an actor for the last twenty years, doing such shows and productions as “NCIS”, “CSI: New York”, “90210” and “Dawson’s Creek.” “I was always cast as sort of a bad guy, said Michael Hagerty, laughing. As a producer, he co-starred and produced “The Last Big Attraction,” which received the Kodak Independent Vision Award and was hailed by director Whit Stillman as “the best independent comedy in twenty years.” Additionally, in 2006, he produced a movie, “Clown,” that Film Threat Magazine named one of the ten best independent shorts of 2006. He also produced the film “Leave,” directed by Robert Celestino, which featured actor Bryan Cranston (“Breaking Bad”). “The wonderful thing about Bryan is that he was getting ready to go shoot a movie and we had him for two days,” he explained. “On the last day he said that his flight was leaving at 8AM and he said he would work until 6AM until he had to go to the airport. What a gracious thing and he bought an amazing energy to the set.”
Hagerty has always admired actors that became producers, such as actor Steve McQueen and Warren Beatty. But he had to develop his own vision. In Los Angeles, he saw a play at the Mark Taper Forum, “Floating Islands,” a play about three generations of Cuban Americans. His mother, Maria, is half Cuban, so the play resonated with him. “It was the first time I’ve ever seen my family on stage,” he said, blown away by the artistry of what he experienced. “Oh my God, that’s the power of it!” While being an actor gave him a certain sense of satisfaction, he wanted to explore the power of being a great storyteller for a great reason. “I wanted to tell stories, stories that hopefully change others’ lives.” Hagerty has a huge affection for his mother, and when he spoke about his mom, and her devotion to him, you can see the tears welling in his eyes. “My mom is a very special person,” he said.
Michael Hagerty has a number of projects in development, including a film with an iconic actor. He is working on a horror film, “Chill,” written by “Dumb and Dumber” writer Bennet Yellin and James Johnson (“The Howling: Reborn”). But what makes this soon-to-be celebrated producer and actor great; he wants to change the world with his unique production style, his heart and his sensibility. For all of those reasons, Michael Hagerty is one of the People You Should Know.