Talking Mr. Mercedes With Makayla Lysiak

Recently I spoke with Makayla Lysiak about her work on Mr. Mercedes, her career, and her interests.


What can you tell us about Barbara’s role this season? With Jerome off to Harvard, will she attempt to fill his shoes back home so to speak?

Barbara has definitely changed this season. Internally, Barbara is burdened with feeling like she can’t live up to the expectations of being as smart as Jerome. She starts hanging with the wrong crowds and acts out through her attitude, fashion choices, etc. Another thing that weighs on Barbara is watching her dad struggle to support the family financially, due to the amount of Jerome’s Harvard tuition.

The subject matter of Mr. Mercedes is more mature than many of the other shows you’ve worked on. Has it been a more intense experience for you on set as an actor?

Mr. Mercedes is differently way different than any other shows i’ve been on. The show is very gruesome and intense, but instead of that being a negative, I kinda found it cool. On set I loved seeing the makeup artist’s creations with head molds, fake wounds, and dummies.

Have there been any important lessons you’ve learned from being surrounded with such a talented cast?

I feel like the show taught me so much about the many angles of creating good TV. I got to learn from not only an incredible cast (Jharrel Jerome, Holland Taylor, etc) but from talent behind the scenes (Jack Bender, David E Kelley, Denis Lehane). In scenes with Holland Taylor, she taught me the importance of digging deep into your character’s pain and letting that show during a scene. And reading the brilliant words of David E. Kelly has shown me that an authentic, powerful script is what it takes to create an amazing project.

You’ve done comedic shows, family shows, and now Mr. Mercedes – is it important to you to gain experience in different genres? Is there a particular genre you like best?

I think its extremely important to venture into different genres. In my opinion to become a well rounded actor, you never wanna get stuck in one style of storytelling. I favor drama because I can take from real, deep emotions inside myself and show them in a way that feels authentic and not over exaggerated.

As someone who is involved with all kinds of creative avenues in the entertainment business, is there an ultimate goal you’re working towards, directing film for example, or do you want to continue to do a little bit of everything?

All angles of the film industry inspire me from acting, screenwriting, filming, editing, and directing. I want to work towards producing and directing the scripts I write to see my visions come to life.

What inspired you to start your own YouTube channel?

I wanted to start a YouTube channel because it’s a way to express myself through videos and share my views on life and the way I perceive it.

Is YouTube a way for you to work on your filmmaking style and writing? Or more of a way to have fun off set?

My YouTube videos are definitely not a reflection of my filmmaking and writing style, it’s more of a way to share who I am with the world.

What are you working on outside of Mr. Mercedes and your YouTube channel?

I’ve got a lot of exciting stuff in the works. Outside of Mr. Mercedes I have two upcoming projects premiering this fall. I’m featured in the first episode on season 5 of The Last Ship, debuting this September. I also appear in the movie What Still Remains, available this August. And I just wrapped up filming a series on the teen network Brat.

If you weren’t acting, what do you think you’d be pursuing?

If I wasn’t I would be approaching other areas of the industry; screenwriting, filmmaking, editing, singing, and painting.