“I really wanted to be an actor, but I was so in love with comedy and I was starting to write a little bit,” the 67-year-old confessed to the TV host, 61, during the interview. “I started doing stand-up in New York, actually.” Things changed when Michael realized he wanted to be “really, really great at something” and, having studied it, he decided to shift the focus entirely to acting.
The Beetlejuice star gave Ellen kudos for her return to stand-up comedy after 15 years away with a Netflix special, Relatable. “When you and I talked about your special I thought, ‘Oh yeah, she’s been out on the road obviously, you know, getting ready because she hadn’t been on stage for a while,” he said, joking that he was talking about Ellen like she wasn’t right there. “It knocked me out. It was like you did it like four days ago and then you just went up. It was really, really impressive.”
Michael appeared on the popular talk show to chat about his recent performance on the highly-anticipated live-action remake of Dumbo, where he plays Vandevere, an entrepreneur who acquires a circus to exploit the titular elephant. “I always thought my backstory for him was he owns a giant circus but he also own many, many other businesses,” the Oscar-nominated actor explained. “And Danny’s [Danny DeVito] character owns the Medici Circus, which is a soulful, sweet little kind of mom-and-pop circus that’s not doing so well.”
The film, which also stars Colin Farrell, Eva Green and Alan Arkin, will be released on March 29. No word yet if Michael will ever return to the stand-up stage, but something tells us he’s a tad busy starring in big Hollywood blockbusters to do any of that right now.