EXCLUSIVE: Jean-Michel Le Gal Talks Nickelodeon’s “Max and Shred”
Jean-Michel Le Gal plays the cool dad on Nickelodeon’s “Max and Shred,” where he tries to raise two very different teen boys. However, he is often more immature than the young snowboarder and science geek he is supposed to be parenting.
Jean-Michel Le Gal talked exclusively with CableTV about his new show, his hobbies, and his love of Shakespeare.
How would you describe your character Lloyd Ackerman on “Max and Shred?”
Lloyd is basically a five-year-old child stuck in the body of a 35-year-old man. He loves action and adventure, but he can be a bit naive at times. He’s trying very hard to be cool, but his geek side also comes through sometimes.
What has been the best moment on the show for you?
I have to pick two. One moment was happy and one was sad. The happy one was watching Max and Shred fight with fake fish during the ice fishing episode. The sad one was filming our last episode. I can’t give details, but it was very emotional.
What has been the most challenging part of playing Lloyd Ackerman?
Playing the character came naturally to me. The challenging part was on a technical level. Being a regular on a show and filming five days a week has been hard. The schedule is intense. It’s been a huge learning curve.
A large part of the cast of “Max and Shred” is very young. How would you describe them, and has their age affected filming?
They’re little professionals and sometimes more professional than the adults. They work so hard on their lines and do their best to prepare for the show. They also have tutoring for two hours before filming. They’re a pleasure to work with on the show. I wish people could see our gag reel. We have so much fun with inside jokes.
You are a classically trained actor and have performed in multiple Shakespeare plays. Has switching to a comedy like “Max and Shred” been difficult, and how would you describe the transition?
I’ve done British farce in the past, so the transition was not that hard. The timing in a comedy is faster, and you have to be sharper. You must be lighter on your toes, but ultimately you’re still acting. I feel privileged to be able to go from one type of role to another.
I miss doing Shakespeare. I try to make up for it by reading ten minutes of Shakespeare’s plays every morning. It’s the geek side of me.
If you could invite one actor or actress to be a guest star on “Max and Shred,” who would you pick?
I have always loved Henry Winkler. The Fonz could play Lloyd’s crazy uncle. I think it would be a lot of fun to have him on the show.
What would be your dream television or film role?
I have a long list of Shakespeare roles I want to play one day. I would love the chance to play Iago, Henry V, Richard the Lionheart and King Lear. I also love period dramas and would love to play someone in a big sitcom for adults.
Looking back over your career, what was your favorite role?
It was the part of Garry in the “Noises Off” play. It’s a British farce, and he’s an actor playing a part in a play. It’s basically a play within a play. It was a fun role and a great play.
How do you stay busy when you are not filming? What are your favorite hobbies?
I like to write. I’m working on two half-hour TV shows right now. One of them is in French, and one is in English. I also love archery and bow hunting. I stay busy by auditioning for new roles and training, but I like to be outdoors. I try to spend one to two weeks in the bush every year. I prefer to get away from it all and just go up to the boreal forest in Canada.
Can you share some information about your current projects?
I’m bilingual, so I am doing some voice gigs for different Canadian companies. I just did one recently for Bell Canada in French and English. I’m also working on developing my own TV shows.
“Max and Shred” airs on Nickelodeon and YTV.
Photo courtesy of Jean-Michel Le Gal