NORTH SALEM, N.Y. -- Yes, Westchesterites, that's Michael Chernus from the Netflix comedy-drama series "Orange is the New Black" grabbing his coffee at Hayfield's Market in North Salem.
The actor, who's appeared in numerous TV shows, theater productions and films including "Captain Philips" alongside Tom Hanks, divides his time between Brooklyn and Brewster where his wife, Emily, runs SPACE on Ryder Farm, an artist residency and retreat program housed on the grounds of Ryder Farm, a 220-year-old working organic farm.
"’I'm on the farm as much as I can be because I love it there and I love the organization and what they’re doing and I love being in Putnam and Westchester," he said. "Someday we’re thinking of moving there full time."
In the meantime, the newlywed -- he and Emily got married at the farm in September, 2015 -- is busy with a variety of projects. Many days you'll find him in Chicago filming a new 10-episode series for Amazon, a dark dramady called "Patriot" about a family in the national security business. He plays a congressman and the brother to an intelligence officer. Actors Michael Dorman and Terry O'Quinn round out the roles. "It's funny and weird and quirky," said Chernus.
He also was a series regular on the WGN-America World War II drama "Manhattan" about the Manhattan Project, which he shot in Santa Fe, NM. Lastly, he's spent the last couple of months working with Melissa Leo on a new Netflix movie based on the true story of Madalyn Murray O’Hair, an influential atheist activist. The film is called "The Most Hated Woman in America."
The Juilliard-trained actor said he feels very fortunate to have all this work and loves that he's been able to branch out into more film and TV roles after spending his early years in the theater. "What I really dig about doing film work is that I still feel like I’m learning," he said. He also feels lucky he's not playing to a type and gets to play a wide range of characters.
Despite being in "Captain Philips," and "Men in Black III," he's mostly recognized on the street from "Orange," which incidentally, shoots many exterior scenes in Rockland County. The fourth season drops on Friday, June 17 and no, he won't reveal any spoilers. He will, however, be happy to talk about SPACE on Ryder Farm and the great service it does for the community.
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