You may only know him from the time you saw him get into a fistfight with himself in Mitsubishi Electric’s popular “Shadow Boxer” commercial, but Matthew William Chizever isn’t a violent guy. The Aquebogue native is just doing his job.
The 30-year-old got his first taste of acting when he starred in productions at Riverhead High School and North Fork Community Theatre in Mattituck. After graduating from Riverhead in 2001, Mr. Chizever studied at Manhattan’s American Musical Dramatic Academy, graduating in 2006. Since then, he has appeared in numerous shows in south Florida, including “The Turn of the Screw” and “Evil Dead: The Musical.” Recently, he’s added a healthy dose of television work to his expanding résumé.
Mr. Chizever lives with his fiancée, Erica Bunn, and their 19-month-old son, Lawson, in Margate, Fla.
Q: How did you get into acting?
A: One of the main reasons I got into acting was I was very competitive with one of the guys I went to Hebrew school with who was always the lead in local shows. I was very jealous of the attention he would get. I think that competitiveness kind of came out from my grandpa and my father, who are both awesome tennis players.
Q: What was your first big acting job?
A: Right after school I got a gig at the American Girl Theater at Rockefeller Center performing in a show called “Circle of Friends: An American Girl Musical.” I did that show for a few months before I started going out on the road. That was really cool because they only had two adults in the show, and the adults played all the kids’ parents.
Q: You live and work in Florida now. What prompted the move?
A: I started auditioning for a lot of different regional theaters outside New York, mostly Florida theaters. I started going out on the road. Once I stayed down in Florida I started getting noticed pretty quickly by some larger theaters. I’ve made a name for myself.
Q: You recently appeared on a season seven episode of USA Network’s ‘Burn Notice.’ What was that experience like?
A: I got to meet Jeffrey Donovan, the lead, who’s a really awesome guy. When you get to that point, with guys like that, it’s awesome to be around them just to watch them work. The caliber of work going on around you is amazing to be around.
Q: You fight your own shadow, and lose, in the ‘Shadow Boxer’ commercial. How did you prepare for that shoot?
A: At the American Musical Dramatic Academy a lot of our training was in stage combat and weapons. It was nice to be able to pull from something I had such a good time doing in school; my teachers really got me into it. I performed my own stunts for the commercial and went through a balsa-wood table a few times — it was a blast. So much of what I do in theater gets really physical that doing that commercial was almost like a culmination of everything I’d done and loved about my career beforehand.
Q: What projects are you working on now?
A: I’m working on a local law group commercial. Nothing theaterwise. I’ve been trying to keep my schedule open for a lot more camera work.
Q: What would you like your career to become in the future?
A: I’d like to step away from the theater a little bit and see what happens with some television and commercial work.