INTERVIEW — Legendary Actor, Stacy Keach
I had the great pleasure of talking to the great Stacy Keach (“American History X” “Titus” “Prison Break”) to talk about the release of “Planes” on DVD and Blu-Ray. Click the ‘Play’ button below, and follow along!
Stacy Keach: Hello!
Dan: Hi! Stacy Keach! How are you doing today?
SK: Good, how are you!
Dan: I’m doing very excellent. I wanted to get this thing started here, and I wanted to say I had a chance to see “Nebraska” this past week, and I thought it was incredible. You did fantastic as Ed Pegram.
SK: Oh, Thank you!
Dan: What was it like for you working on a dramatic movie with a comedic actor like Will Forte?
SK: I know! First of all, I didn’t know that Will was such a good comedic actor. I had seen him I think once or twice briefly on Saturday night live when he was doing it, but I wasn’t aware of his comic chops. As a dramatic performance I think he did a Hell of a job. I really do.
Dan: I completely agree with you. Did you ever find yourself between the takes on set cracking up? Was he keeping things light in the mood there, or was he keeping everything serious due to the tone of the movie?
SK: I think due to the tone of the movie, and I think also the director Alexander Payne, he really stayed in that mode. He wanted to, we all stayed in the mode of the characters we were playing during the course of that shooting.
SK: Where did you get to see it?
Dan: I got to see it at an advanced screening here in Orlando this past Friday. They had it in the middle of the day for the press, and I was lucky enough to make it over there in time. It was excellent. I really enjoyed it.
SK: Oh good. “PLANES!” Let’s talk about “Planes!”
Dan: Absolutely! I know you’ve had a variety of different roles from comedy in “Titus” to dramatic in “Prison Break,” and now of course you were Skipper in “Planes.” What is it that makes you choose the characters that you want to play? The roles that come up?
SK: Well you know Skipper chose me, I didn’t choose Skipper. John Lasseter (the writer) wrote me a letter after I had done a documentary on the Pixar story, and I was the narrator and John Lasseter liked it, and so he wrote me a letter and asked me if I’d liked to be in “Planes.” He sent me a script, and I read it and I thought, “Wow. I love this. This is great.” I always wanted to be in a Disney movie, and never had a chance as a kid growing up, and during the course of my career. Not that I didn’t try. It was just one of those things. So my time has come to play Skipper. I loved playing Skipper. First of all he’s a good guy, and as you know I play mostly bad guys.
Dan: I know you’ve done some voice-over work in the past from “Rugrats” to “World’s Most Amazing Videos” and now “Planes.” Do you prefer voice-over work to live-action acting?
SK: Well you know it’s a whole different world, and I jokingly say, and it’s true though, you don’t have to wear make-up. So doing voice over work is great in that respect. it also gives you the option…it’s very much akin to radio, and I love radio. When I grew up my dad produced a show called “Tales of the Texas Rangers” for NBC back in the 50s, it was a Western radio show, and when I was 12 years old I went down to the studio to watch my dad direct these wonderful actors in a live radio broadcast, and it just turned me on. I think the main reason I became an actor was the appeal to the imagination that radio gives you, and that’s all done with the voice. I really believe you can create any number of characters with just your voice, and that’s a great challenge and a great opportunity at the same time.
Dan: Do you think that it is even more difficult to do acting in a studio instead of on a set with props and things like that?
SK: Well it’s different. I don’t know that it’s more difficult. You have to apply more than just your voice. When you’re acting in the studio you are using your whole body: Your eyes and your whole person. I think it has more demands, but equally fun.
Dan: I know that you said you had been trying to get involved with Disney for a very long time. Were there any other projects that you had tried to be a part of in the past that just didn’t come through?
SK: Oh yea! I wanted to be the bad guy in “The Lion King.” I think Jeremy Irons did it.
Dan: Oh, Scar?”
SK: Yea yea.
Dan: That would have been very interesting. If you had gotten that it would have been completely different.
SK: Yea! I mean he was great. I thought Jeremy was wonderful, a great Scar. It’s a great character, but I read for that.
Dan: That’s interesting. Coming up on your plate in the future do you see yourself trying to take on anymore of these light-hearted roles where you’re more of the good guy than the bad guy?
SK: Dan (Yea. We are on a first name basis now. We are good buddies 😉 ), I really like doing it all. That’s the great thing about being an actor. You can be a good guy one minute and a bad guy the next. Sometimes in between. One of the things I love doing, Theater. In the theater you have the chance to tell the story of a character beginning middle and end without someone yelling “CUT!” unless someone throws something at you. Variety is very much the cousin of Versatility, and I think they go hand and hand. The actors that I love and respect go down that road.
Dan: I know going into “Planes” it was a spin-off of the “Cars” franchise. Were you a fan of that franchise before getting involved in this?
SK: Absolutely! Totally! I love the “Cars” franchise! AND! In some of the reviews for “Planes” I have been equated with my old friend, dear Paul Newman, the character that he played in “Planes” [he meant “Cars”] that my character was sort of like the counter part of that character which I loved. There is a definite parallel between “Cars” and “Planes” and I think that’s one of the reasons that the publicity for “Planes” was very much off of “Cars.” Not trying to deny that at all because “Cars” was a great success number one, and I think values put them in the air. I think the message is you win the race to win. To be successful there are certain things you have to work for.
Dan:I know coming up you recently played a role in the upcoming “Sin City: A Dame to Kill For,” which is a graphic novel adaptation. I was wondering if there are any other comic book or graphic novel properties that you might be interested in having a role in in the future?
SK: Oh I’m sure there is, but I couldn’t name them. The whole idea appeals to me it really does! I just wrote a book. I just wrote my memoir “All in All.” Just came out. It’s about my life on and off the stage, and I’d appreciate it if you could give it a plug, that’d be great. It just came out and it’s online.
Dan: My last question, I’m running out of time, what exciting projects do you have coming up that we’re all going to be able to enjoy in the near future besides “Sin City: A Dame to Kill For?”
SK: Well “Nebraska.” I think the Alexander Payne movie is coming out in a couple of weeks, and I’m excited about that. I’m going to be playing Falstaff in both parts of Shakespeare’s “Henry the IV” Parts I and II at the Shakespeare theater in Washington D.C. from January to June. I’m looking forward to that.
Dan: I understand that you are a part of a new film from John Gallagher called “Sam?”
SK: “SAM!” You know John Gallagher?’
Dan: I don’t know him personally, but I know of some of his work that he’s done in the past. “Blue Moon” and “Men Lie.”
SK: Do you like his work?
Dan: I haven’t seen a lot of things, but some of the shorts that he’s produced I thought were pretty excellent.
Dan: Well thank you for putting this time aside for us.
SK: Ok Dan! Good luck to you!