Christian Keyes Chats About Latest Film
If you’re a fan of urban theater, you know the name Christian Keyes. But this sexy actor’s talents aren’t limited to just the stage. As a producer, singer and model, the entertainer has worked with Tyler Perry and has landed a recurring role on BET’s “Let’s Stay Together.” Now, he wants us to catch “The Good Life,” his latest film full of scandal and deception, out on DVD now. The film was directed by Chicago native, Christopher Nolen.
Keyes chatted with JET about his steamy new movie, his upcoming version of “Magic Mike” and watching Fruitvale Station with his 10-year-old son.
JET: Give us a brief synopsis of “The Good Life.”
KEYES: “The Good Life” is about a couple that seems to be in a good relationship living the good life and it isn’t what it seems to be. He’s messing around on her. She’s messing around on him. They deal with some really crazy circumstances individually. I guess what the big question is “are we going to make it through it?” So it’s really cool.
JET: You usually play the nice guy, but you’re actually the other man in this film. What did you differently to prepare for this role?
KEYES: I am the guy that she’s dipping out with. I wanted to play the bad guy a little bit. I kind of always end up playing the safe guy, the boyfriend, the husband, the doctor, the boy next door. So I wanted to play somebody who wasn’t quite so safe this time. So I’m the other guy, and I’m aware that she’s married and that they’re having problems. She keeps coming back to me for the physical side of the relationship. You know you can’t really judge the character and look at it like “oh I’m a bad guy,” because my character doesn’t really think what I’m doing is wrong. I was just honest and truthful with that element, because it happens every day. I just wanted to bring that part to it – a real honest element about it.
JET: What are some takeaways viewers should receive from “The Good Life?”
KEYES: Just any of the situations that may actually relate to their lives. I’d rather they watch and pull out their own as opposed to me telling you what you should get from it, but there are several things that they can come away with as far as messages.
JET: In addition to films, you’ve been acting in sitcoms, too, such as BET’s “Let’s Stay Together,” which got picked for a season four. What can we expect from your character Troy in the fall?
KEYES: Oh yeah! I love them over there at BET and the whole Let’s Stay Together team and cast. I mean to show up on a show that I already liked before I was ever really on there and then to be involved in the show was cool. There’s definitely some surprises, but I can’t say what. I want to say it bad too, but I can’t. It’s definitely worth tuning in for. My character Troy is still dating Kia and we’re dealing with some stuff and we’re growing and progressing – leaps and bounds. It’s some big surprises and they have to tune in to see. If I even give the smallest hint, it’ll give it away.
JET: What else are you working on?
KEYES: It’s always been a passion of mine – producing, writing and behind the scenes work as well – because you want to create. I don’t just want to sit around and wait for other people’s wonderful projects. I want to shoot some of my own. So we shot “Note to Self” and it ended up being really, really good. It was nominated by EOTM (Entrepreneurs on the Move) for a media award for best screenplay.
And we’re about to shoot another one of mine called “Ladies Night.” “Ladies Night” is a black version of the “Magic Mike” movie. It’s “Magic Mike” meets “Takers.” It’s a really cool and interesting film and I think the ladies will like this, especially being that there wasn’t a strong minority presence in “Magic Mike.” You know we took care of that for them. We address that issue for them. And it’s a really, really good story. It’s not just going to be about the male exotic dancing and stripping and gyrating and all of that. It’s a really strong script and story with layers and levels and surprises and messages, so I’m really excited about everybody getting a chance to see that.
JET: Let’s switch gears a bit. There’s been a lot of outrage surrounding the Zimmerman verdict. What was your reaction?
KEYES: I was so disappointed in that situation. As a young Black man, it hit me because I got a son. I told him you always have to be prepared and look for as many opportunities as you can to show love and to take the high road. But you you also have to be aware and know the United States, and especially certain states, have proven that they are not African-American friendly. I’m going to make sure I sit down and watch “Fruitvale Station” with my son. He’s 10, but I got to start talking to him about this stuff now and do my job as a parent. It looks like it’s a very well directed and very good acted piece. Hopefully, those involved and those that dedicated that kind of time and effort and talent get the proper acknowledgement for that great piece of work. And hopefully it shed some more light in relation to the police and their misuse of power. It’s disgusting and it’s got to change.
JET: How do we move forward?
KEYES: I think for one we got to get some of these policies changed. We have to be aware of what we’re doing to our kids. He doesn’t see me glorifying violence and mistreatment of women and he doesn’t see me showing that that’s cool. He sees my decision making process in moments of frustration and he sees me work it through quickly and kind of pick the best possible way. That way I can hope to show him a good example.