Interview with Netflix’s ‘Dead Boy Detectives’ Star Michael Beach

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Dead Boy Detectives (2023)

Michael Beach as Tragik Mick in episode 6 of DEAD BOY DETECTIVES. Cr. Ed Araquel/Netflix © 2023

Netflix’s new Sandman Universe show, Dead Boy Detectives, is finally upon us. We talk to star Michael Beach about his recurring role as Tragic Mick — a walrus trapped inside a human body who occasionally helps out the titular detectives through the various magical trinkets he sells in his shop.

Based on the comic book characters created by Neil Gaiman, Dead Boy Detectives is the latest installment in Netflix’s Sandman Universe. The series, developed by Steve Yockey (The Flight Attendant) and Beth Schwartz (Arrow), follows deceased duo Edwin Payne (George Rexstrew) and Charles Rowland (Jayden Revri) as they refuse to enter the afterlife and instead decide to remain in the mortal world and investigate paranormal cases that would otherwise be forgotten.

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We recently got to chat with Michael Beach about his work on Netflix’s Dead Boy Detectives, where he explains how he collaborated with the team and portrayed such a unique character.

Check out our interview below which has been edited for brevity and clarity.

WoN: Could you tell us a little about Tragic Mick and the role he plays in the show?

Tragic Mick probably named himself because for the last 200 years he’s been trying to find a way to turn himself back into the walrus he once was so that he could return to the sea. There’s a great backstory that explains how he became human and why he so desperately wants to return to the deep. Of course, that comes later in the season and I won’t spoil it for you. But his tragic life is exactly why he fits so well into the series. Mick owns a shop filled with magical items that he’s acquired over two centuries so he could find his way back to the sea and the Dead Boys come to him for potions, spells or trinkets that would help them solve their cases.

Dead Boy Detectives

DEAD BOY DETECTIVES. (L to R) Jayden Revri as Charles Rowland and Michael Beach as Tragik Mick in episode 2 of DEAD BOY DETECTIVES. Cr. Ed Araquel/Netflix © 2023

WoN: How did you approach playing this character, someone with such a unique backstory?

Normally I don’t do any real physical work on how a character moves or sounds. But for Dead Boys I thought the fact that he was once a walrus and didn’t want to loose that part of himself it was important for me to use that backstory in creating the man he became. I mean, how often does an actor get to play a man who used to be a walrus? So one of the first things I did after reading the script a couple of times was go online to watch videos of walruses. I really wanted to see how they moved out of the water and then I heard the sounds they made and those two physical traits really helped me find the guy I ended up creating.

WoN: Neil Gaiman is an executive producer on this show. How did it feel to work on a project set in Neil Gaiman’s beloved Sandman Universe?

I hate to admit it, but I didn’t know about the Dead Boy Detectives comic book series. I wasn’t even aware of Neil Gaiman’s Sandman Universe. But, in fairness to Neil, I’ve never read a comic book.

WoN: What is the first thing you do to research and approach a role? Did you read any of the comics?

Some actors love research and find it very helpful, which I respect, but I’ve never been much of a research guy. The producers took the time to explain Mick to me and the world they were creating. The scripts were lots of fun to read and I spend most of my preparation work breaking down scripts and asking myself many questions and, at times, that leads to me looking up things that I feel need to be answered with specific details and/or facts. In the case of Tragic Mick the walrus videos were helpful in finding his movement (pace), voice and overall temperament. Once I got that down other choices started falling into place.

WoN: What’s your favorite memory from your experience working on Dead Boy Detectives?

Hanging out with the actors in between set ups was pretty fun for me. I got to know George, Jayden, Kassius and Yuyu and really enjoyed being around talented young actors that could easily become the stars of tomorrow. I also had fun watching Jenn Lyon figuring out each beat playing Esther Finch. She is very talented.

WoN: Between Aquaman and Swamp Thing, you’ve been involved in a couple of great comic book projects — how does Dead Boy Detectives compare?

Dead Boys was a little more nerve-racking for me because it has a tone that’s a bit out of my comfort zone as an actor. It’s more whimsical and humorous than Aquaman and especially Swamp Thing. Dead Boys is more of a fantastical world that I wanted to make sure I fit into since I normally do straight drama. So, my choice to change my physical movements and give my voice a deep harshness was scary for me because even though I wanted to fit into Dead Boy’s world, I also needed to make sure that Mick was grounded in reality. But sometimes, we need to be uncomfortable and work through it to show ourselves that we can do things we didn’t think we could do. So Dead Boys required more from me as an actor than Aquaman or Swamp Thing and for that reason it stands out among the comic book projects I’ve been involved in.

WoN: Outside of Dead Boy Detectives, what are your plans for the year ahead — can we expect to see you in anything else soon?

Season 3 of Mayor Of Kingston with Jeremy Renner on Paramount+ starts airing Sunday June 2. I’m now shooting season 2 of Tulsa King with Sylvester Stallone also for Paramount+ and I’m waiting to hear when the limited Netflix series The Perfect Couple with Nicole Kidman will start airing.

Dead Boy Detectives

DEAD BOY DETECTIVES. Michael Beach as Tragic Mick in episode 4 of DEAD BOY DETECTIVES. Cr. Courtesy of Netflix © 2023

You can read our big preview of Beach’s upcoming Netflix project The Perfect Couple here. Right now all focus is on Dead Boy Detectives. All eight episodes of Dead Boy Detectives are available for streaming on Netflix from April 25, 2023. Want to learn more about the show? Check out our huge preview.

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