Celebrating the little victories: 'Broken' star Miles Tagtmeyer's journey to becoming an Emmy-nominated actor
Miles was nominated for Outstanding Actor in a Short Form Comedy or Drama Series for his role as Liam in 'Broken'
26-year-old Miles Tagtmeyer had humble beginnings. A graduate of the Mendota Elementary School and the Friendly Hills Middle School in Mendota, Minnesota, the actor now finds himself in uncharted territories: he's been nominated for Outstanding Actor in a Short Form Comedy or Drama Series for his role as Liam in web drama series 'Broken.' Miles was recognized for his impeccable performance as a man who struggles to deal with the death of a friend and is still coping with the loss as the one-year anniversary approaches. Ailing from schizophrenia, he finds that his inner demons threaten to consume him. I'd love to spoil more, but the episodes are a crisp six to eight minutes long, and most definitely worth the watch.
Miles had revealed the extent of his preparation and dedication to the role to Meaww in a previous interview, going into detail about the meticulousness and thoroughness required to master such a complicated character.
Unsurprisingly, that diligence shines through in his portrayal of Liam and has given the actor a shot at television's most prestigious award. If the panel does decide to award the honor to Miles this coming September, it will be a crowning achievement in a fledgling career that promises so much more.
It will also be a testament to his craft and perseverance, having moved to Los Angeles to pursue his acting career in 2010 when he was still in his teens. As it is with all young actors, there were times when there were downturns in opportunity, but that never stopped Miles in the pursuit of his dreams. What makes his most recent nomination even more impressive is that he doesn't hail from an acting or performance background. To hear him tell it, the decision to pursue this career was a spur of the moment decision, though he will also be the first one to tell you that he does not regret it in the least.
"It's the weirdest thing," he says. "I was eight-years-old and I came home from school one day and told my parents I wanted to be an actor. And they were like 'Oh! Okay!' No one in my family is artistically inclined. No one has been an actor. No one has been a dancer, nothing! So, they were probably wondering where did that come from? But they were very supportive so they signed me up for a theater camp/drama camp like thing for the summer."
It would be at this drama camp that Miles would get the encouragement he needed to keep soldiering on in an alien world. "It was the drama teacher at this drama camp who came up to my parents and said, 'Your child has IT,'" he laughs. "And in Minnesota, the deal is that you can sign up with all the agencies. It's a matter of who calls you up first and offers you an audition. So, I signed up with every agency in Minnesota and started doing short films, industrial videos, radio voiceover, commercials, anything I could find."
Most actors make their breakthrough after they've established themselves in the theater scene, and it was no different for Miles, who could do little to resist the stage's pull. "I always continued to do theater after falling into it at a young age and I loved it," he says. "I felt like it was a natural calling."
It wouldn't be long before he got his first big breakthrough in the form of a national commercial. But in the interview, Miles chose to focus on how he dealt with the opportunity rather than the opportunity itself, offering a refreshing perspective to the ups and downs an up and coming artist like himself often have to experience. "If there's one thing I've learned to accept in Hollywood — and I've been in LA for about eight years now — it's that you have to celebrate the little victories along the way," he says.
"Everyone wants to be a celebrity, everyone wants to be a star but few realize that it doesn't just happen overnight," he continues. "Yes, there are overnight success stories and it seems glamorous, but it's a long and hard journey to get there, so I've learned to celebrate when I get these little victories. So, I celebrated that national commercial, I celebrated my first independent feature and now this Emmy nomination is HUGE!"
And while 'Broken' already proved to be such a gamechanger for Miles, the 26-year-old has another project in the works that could enhance his burgeoning reputation even further. He will be playing the role of Prince Satyavan in Anuja Ganpule-Sheorey's 'The Candle & the Curse,' a fantasy feature that will be centered around Princess Savitri (Ashwini Ganpule) embarking on an epic journey to the underworld to convince the god of death to bring him back to life. It's a role he's immeasurably proud of, despite its relatively minor nature.
"You know, I'm actually drawn towards sci-fi and fantasy, and that was exactly was 'The Candle & the Curse' was," he explains. "I loved it, even though I got to play this guy who didn't believe in magic, which I was upset about because I didn't get to do any of the cool things. The whole movie is about the princess going into the forest to save my soul because I'm dying, and she gets to fight goblins and sirens, and there I was, a person who didn't believe in magic and thought she was naive only to end up dying."
"The whole journey is about her trying to save me," he says. "And while I didn't get to see any of that, there was this one part that I did where she comes across sirens. Because these sirens take the form of loved ones, one of the sirens was me, and I loved it."
Asked how he would compare his role in the feature to that in 'Broken,' Miles insists that they were 'totally different.' "Whereas 'The Candle & the Curse' was fantastical and whimsical, and adventurous, 'Broken' is based on the reality we all know; even more so because that reality is within Liam's mind. I call it genre-defying because you can't pinpoint the show, it's got a little bit of everything — it's a psychological genre-based semi-thriller, semi-horror."
'The Candle & the Curse' isn't your run-of-the-mill fantasy movie either. The feature is gender role defying and flips the age-old narrative of prince rescuing princess to princess rescuing prince instead. I asked Miles how he responded to the script when it was presented to him, and his response was unequivocal. "I loved it! I absolutely loved it!" he proclaims.
"Anuja made it her mission statement to break the norms," he says. "She wanted the princess to save the prince and she wanted the main characters to be people of color and diversity because that's how our world is; it's not whitewashed. So here you have me, a white prince who just died straight away and that's kind of unseen by the audience, but it propels Princess Savitri to go on her journey and discover herself."
What Miles wants to do the most, however, is explore the science fiction genre further, though he does concede that he would be open to taking on any role. "I love acting so much and I like becoming a new character, or some kind of alien, and in science fiction, you can create anything," he says.
"You can create how they talk, walk, act, and behave but on the flipside, from a practical standpoint, that's a lot of time spent in makeup and wardrobe. So, part of me wants to really be an alien and to be in a sci-fi space genre project, but then the practical side of me is like, 'I don't know whether I want to spend so much time in the makeup chair.'"
The actor also has another film coming up in the form of Mike Phillips' 'Dauntless,' where he plays an officer. Set in June 1942 during World War II, it follows a United States carrier group tasked with springing a trap on the Japanese navy in an effort to change the course of the war. As one can imagine, the movie involved some heavy CGI, an aspect that Miles says was quite challenging to master.
"I was doing a scene with my co-stars and it was my very first time on a green screen sound stage," he discloses. "There was NOTHING. We were all wearing naval uniforms but everything was going to be CGI — for the ship's wheel, there were people holding their arms out and acting as if they were moving the wheel as if they were steering. You have to be very imaginative."
"But even then it's all about the human interaction and human connection," he adds. "It's always actor to actor and everything else is just added. Most people when they think of science fiction think of weird space sounds and visuals and effects. But when you break it down it's all about the human connection."
Miles is now very much in demand. His Emmy nomination has put him on the map as one of the rising talents of the industry and the line of directors and producers wanting to cast him is only set to grow in the coming months.
"I actually met a producer through all of these For Your Consideration (FYC) events and he's been working with a number of directors," he reveals. "There are quite a few that have expressed interest in me and a few that have wanted me to star in either their TV pilot or their movie. So, I'm quite excited and thrilled to be reading all this and looking forward to where I'm going."