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AMERICAN MORNING WITH PAULA ZAHN

Talk With Guy in Ditech Commercials

Aired June 20, 2002 - 09:45   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: We take great pride now in introducing you to one of the finest actors ever to grace the American dramatic commercial scene. His legendary range can be enjoyed in such inspiring roles as a pickle in a computer game commercial, and of course what many consider to be his most poignant role ever, a man playing his own mother in this commercial, which calls to mind the Greek tragedy of "Oedipus." All of cable television knows him as the high-tech dot-com guy, and we present to you Ron Michaelson.

Ron, good morning. Thanks for being with us.

RON MICHAELSON, ACTOR: Glad to be with you.

KAGAN: When we watched this great work of you as the ditech.com guy, and we do watch it over and over here again on CNN -- and we are captive of your art -- I just can't help but wonder what your inspiration is for that character?

MICHAELSON: Well, studying Stanislavski, studying theater, trained. Of course I bring 30 seconds at a time. I just -- I'm in the moment for 30 seconds at a time.

KAGAN: And we're there with you. Now, the latest 30 seconds, you not only play you or play the Ditech guy, you also play the ditech.com guy's mother, but let's take a look at that piece of work.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICHAELSON: Interest rates have changes.

I know, mom. I'm a loan officer at the bank.

So I've decided to refinance the house.

MICHAELSON: OK. I can help you.

Where did you go?

I'm calling ditech.com.

Mom!

(END VIDEO CLIP) KAGAN: So I Have to wonder when I watch this, it brings to mind these other great roles, Dustin Hoffman as "Tootsie," Jack Lemmon, "Some Like It Hot."

MICHAELSON: Tim Curry, "Rocky Horror Show."

KAGAN: And so do you think this is just the next great in line of drag roles?

MICHAELSON: They say you are really not an actor until you have cross dressed. Well, I guess I've arrived.

KAGAN: How was that experience for you, Ron?

MICHAELSON: I got in touch with my feminine side.

KAGAN: I think perhaps an interview for another time.

Speaking of another time, as that time goes on and we go to that place where we -- none of us can avoid. When the time comes, if and when you do get to Heaven, what do you think that will be like?

MICHAELSON: When I see Saint Peter at the gate, he will probably say, welcome, and I'll say, Is this my last residual check?

KAGAN: Speaking of which, do you get paid every that that...

MICHAELSON: No.

KAGAN: No, that's a flat-out answer.

MICHAELSON: No. For cable play. For wild spot play across the country. They can play it 1,000 times, I get paid the same thing. It's a flat rate. So I'm not wheeling the wheelbarrow full of money Fort Knox to the bank. But they've been good to me.

KAGAN: Bottom line, my most burning question is, have you refinanced?

MICHAELSON: Well, I still live at home with mom. She refinanced. So what do I need to?

KAGAN: And she did with the computer.

MICHAELSON: That's right.

KAGAN: Ron Michaelson, good to see you in person. As always, we do see you over and over again right here on CNN.

MICHAELSON: Hope you see more of me.

KAGAN: The next role for you perhaps? Anything you haven't tackled, beyond Ditech? And I do realize that that's the role of a lifetime, but beyond that?

MICHAELSON: Well, I'm willing to go to be a 2-minute to 8-minute actor in films, et cetera. I've done some of that, but would like to do even more.

KAGAN: So put the word out, you're available.

MICHAELSON: Yes, my agents...

KAGAN: Put the number up, like the guy that was looking for a wife that we were talking to earlier this week.

So there's actually two new commercials. There's the one with the mom and there's another in your other dramatic repertoire, and that's has to do with looking into the future.

We want to look at that one, too. Let's look at that one real quickly.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Your appointment is here.

MICHAELSON: Oh, just a minute.

OK. Well I sell this new home loan today?

Why? Is it ditech.com? Oh, no. Not again!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KAGAN: Such passion. Such grief comes out in that role right there in that performance.

MICHAELSON: Did you catch the nuance, the small things, the double take, the energy that brought the rhythm with the eight ball, moving it as I say the line.

KAGAN: I'm wondering what traumatic event is in you're childhood that you're calling upon to bring up these feelings?

MICHAELSON: That's between my and my psychiatrist. I can't really discuss that on air.

KAGAN: Well, perhaps another time, we will have you back to talk about that. More on that cross-dressing issue, which I think America is fascinated with, but they will have to be satisfied to just see you in the commercials, as I said over and over again.

Ron Michaelson, thanks for stopping by with your busy schedule.

MICHAELSON: Thanks for having me.

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