Exclusive Online Feature: Michael Socha

REBEL WITH A CAUSE. A bad boy through and through, the mischievous Michael Socha leads us down the rabbit hole and shows us how misbehaving bagged him the role of the Knave of Hearts in “Once Upon a Time in Wonderland.”

Shirt by Ben Sherman, blazer by Topman

A bit of a misfit on- and off-camera, Michael Socha’s bad boy image might just be what landed him the role of the Knave of Hearts in TV’s “Once Upon a Time in Wonderland.” With angst-ridden roles such as Harvey the bully in the highly charged “This is England” and the pumped-up guitarist in “Svengali,” embodying characters that are rough around the edges hits close to home for the mischievous actor. Peeling off his brass-knuckled persona, he reveals a soft side to DA MAN while chatting about his memorable acting mentor and the twisted fairy tale-themed bash he’d throw.

DA MAN: How are you? Can you tell us a little bit about what you’ve been up to?
Michael Socha: I’m working in Vancouver, and I just visited LA properly for the first time. The first time I got here, I was extremely busy, so I didn’t get the chance to explore the city. This time, I got to see Venice and Hollywood. I loved it; L.A. is amazing. There are loads of things to do here. Every day is different; there’s always something new to see and do.

DA: How did you get involved with “Once Upon a Time in Wonderland”?
MS: I was just working away at acting in England, and it was my manager who told me about the project. I got put down on tape three times before they officially sent me to the pilot.

DA: You play the Knave of Hearts, a mischievous character who seems to always get into trouble. Can you relate to your character?
MS: I was definitely more knavish in my youth. I’ve balanced out a bit, now that I’m older. I’m just saying that in case my mother’s reading. But I’ve still kept a few qualities. My views are quite realistic, like the Knave’s. Or as realistic as one can be in Wonderland.

T-shirt by Marc by Marc Jacobs

“I’m really happy I was on board and had the opportunity to get down in film and learn the different ways we tell stories.”

DA: In the show, Alice gets three wishes from a genie. If you could have three wishes, what would they be?

MS: First wish would be: I’d love to understand what my little child is saying. I don’t understand a thing he’s saying, he’s 13 months old. He can understand me, but I have no clue what he’s thinking or doing. Another wish would be to find a Nike outlet for sportswear so I could pick up every pair of ‘87s and ‘90s. Those aren’t in Vancouver. Maybe they have a few pairs in L.A. Last thing would be to make Derby, my hometown, hot and sunny, and get some water close to it. Acquiring a coastline would be nice.

DA: What can we expect from this season’s “Once Upon a Time in Wonderland”?
MS: You can expect love; you can expect action. You can expect danger. And you can expect me, Alice, Cyrus, the whole gang to be there.

DA: If you had to throw a fairy tale-themed bash, which fairy tale would you choose, and what’s your party going to be like?
MS: The thing about parties is lads will only come if loves are attending. So I’d throw a Cinderella-based party. That’ll attract a lot of numbers. The theme would sort of die after the first hour. It’d be a messy party after everyone’s been drinking. Even the ugly step-sisters would have a good time. It would be a party that people talk about. Instead of ending at the stroke of midnight, it’d get raided at 8 o’clock in the morning. I’d be interviewed by the local news.

T-shirt by Marc by Marc Jacobs, blazer by Theory, jeans by Levi’s, boots by Frank Wright

DA: One of the first times we’ve ever seen you was in the highly charged, highly acclaimed film “This is England.” How do you feel about working in a film that touches on such sensitive subjects?
MS: Even though the film was set quite a few years before my birth, “This Is England” was extremely relevant to me and my life. I didn’t think it was such a big deal since that’s how it was for me anyway when I was out and about in Derby. But when I watched the film, it had an effect on me. A lot of people in the film are my good friends. I’m really happy I was on board and had the opportunity to get down in film and learn the different ways we tell stories. The issues it brought up are still relevant today, especially class culture.

A lot of it was about how kids are influenced by adults. When you’ve got nobody, you’d settle for the next best thing. It’s a touchy subject, how easily these kids are swayed. I suppose a lot of kids in working-class culture hang out with older people. That’s just how things are, at least in my experience, growing up.

DA: You played Harvey, the bully who antagonized Shaun in the film. What were you like in school?
MS: I was just a little troublemaker. Most subjects I couldn’t care less about, but I enjoyed Drama, English and History. If I didn’t act, I don’t know what I would have done. I hung out with the bad lads, and didn’t go to class half of the time. School wasn’t something I saw as a place to educate myself or to better my future. I saw it as a place I had to go to, so I made it fun. But I’m thankful I crossed paths with my acting teacher, Mrs. Hughes. She was a very lovely lady. Like I said, I don’t know what I would have done if I didn’t get into acting.

DA: You play a quarter of the up-and-coming band “The Premature Congratulations” in the film “Svengali.” Were you ever in a band?
MS: No. [laughs] I’ve just picked up a guitar a couple years ago. I really enjoy it, but no way am I good enough to be in a band. I’ve made up a couple original songs and I can play a few things, but I’ve got a lot to learn.

T-shirt by James Perse, cardigan by Topman, jeans by Levi’s, shoes by Fred Perry

“If I didn’t act, I don’t know what I would have done.”

DA: What kind of music do you listen to?
MS: I can listen to all sorts of music. For the most part I’m into reggae and ska. One band I’m into now is the Arctic Monkeys.

DA: Your sister, Lauren Socha is also an actress. How do you feel about having a sibling who’s also in the industry?
MS: I enjoy it. Acting is something we have in common, something we can share. And she’s great at it. She’s really good.

DA: Is there a sibling rivalry going on?
MS: We make sure we check in on each other.

DA: What’s your favorite TV show?
MS: “Breaking Bad.” I love it. I still have to watch the last season. It’s the only show that’s really kept my interest over the years.

DA: What do you do for fun?
MS: I like to chill out; I like to go footballing, I like to party. I love spending time with my little boy, Elis.

DA: What’s your favorite place to chill and unwind?
MS: My favorite place to party is Sheffield, England. I love going to my mum’s house. It’s lovely to sit down and eat my mum’s food or just hang out in my old bedroom. I just invade her house for a day.

Photographer: Bryan Kong
Fashion Stylist: Paisley Grey
Groomer: Carissa Ferreri @ Tracey Mattingly