According to IMDb, Tyler Mane is the tallest actor to have played Michael Myers in the Halloween series. This may come as no surprise. Mane is just four inches shy of the seven-foot mark. His height lent itself to another imposing villain he played: Sabretooth in X-Men. His towering physical presence has impacted his casting opportunities as well as his journey to Hollywood. Mane took a page from Dwayne Johnson’s playbook, utilizing his athletic stature and prowess to transition from pro-wrestler to professional thespian. The actor spoke with Casting Networks about the intersection of height and cast-ability in Hollywood and how that shaped his career path.
How did you make the decision to transition from a pro-wrestler to an actor?
As a kid growing up in Saskatchewan, I would watch pro-wrestling, and then I would immediately start watching action films. I always wanted to make that transition into acting. And it kind of came about in a funny way. When I was wrestling in Mexico, I was offered a role in a Mexican wrestling movie. I ended up doing it, and after the movie, I was offered the Smokey and the Bandit prequel [Bandit: Bandit Goes Country] with Brian Bloom. And then once I did X-Men, I hung up my wrestling boots and have just pursued acting ever since.
How has your height influenced the casting opportunities you’ve received?
My height has definitely pigeon-holed me in the past into playing the big, stereotypical guy. That’s one reason I started my own production company [Mane Entertainment]—so that I’d have the opportunity to show my acting ability and transition into other roles. And luckily, it’s slowly happening. As I get older, I’m transitioning into some more mature roles and more roles that aren’t specific to my height. But as a tall person, sometimes as soon as you walk into a casting office, they’ll look up at you and go, “How tall are you?” Then you know you’re not getting the role. That’s the kiss of death right there. Being the height I am has been a positive thing and a negative thing. It’s just about doing the best with what we have, and I’ve just been improving my acting abilities so that I can step into more mainstream roles.
Is there a favorite height-related casting story you can tell?
When I went in to see Bryan Singer for X-Men, I tried preparing my best because I realized it was going to be a big thing. I went out and got fake teeth to put in and everything. I walked into his office, and there was this young guy sitting on the edge of the couch, typing on the script. I said, “Hi, I’m here to see Bryan Singer,” feeling like a complete nut with these fake teeth in my mouth. He finished the page he was working on, looked up at me and said, “I’m Bryan Singer. And, wow! You’re Sabretooth.” He got so excited and was like, “Choke me!” So I choked him and kind of did a Sabretooth growl, and from then on, I was Sabretooth. So that was kind of the most interesting and smoothest audition I’ve had, so to speak.
In regard to upcoming projects, Mane Entertainment will be providing the actor some more roles outside the “tall guy” box in such projects as Penance Lane. Mane is also slated to appear opposite Keegan-Michael Key and Judy Greer in Playing with Fire, to be released by Paramount Pictures later this year. The actor has come a long way from starting out as a self-described “tall, skinny kid in glasses and braces.” His journey teaches us that no matter what physical traits are impacting your casting opportunities, you can still wind up with a successful career. And you might get to wrestle Bryan Singer in the process.