An interview with John Keefe

Interviewer: Tell me your name and a little bit about your background, as far as acting goes.

John Keefe: My name Is John Keefe and my background as an actor starts when I was a young kid and I did shows in my basement for my family. I come from a big family and we were always putting on shows in the basement. My sister would have tapes of musicals and so we would block out dances and sing along with them. Then I started doing community musicals just as a town’s kid and then kid roles. In high school and university I continued doing it and I took a couple of classes on the side. My university didn’t have a theatre program so I had to do it on the side. I was in as many plays as I could be as I went along and musicals, street theatre. When I graduated I went to the Edinburgh International Festival which was my first taste of professional theatre drama acting, and I just loved it. I was doing a couple of shows, I was doing them everyday and starving and I was hooked on that. I worked for a little while to pay off some debt, some university debt and then about a year ago I started sending out resumes and booked a couple of gigs and then I got this job in the end of April and that’s where I am now.

I: Were your familiar with the RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD series before working on these projects?

J: RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD, I didn’t know anything about it before my manager called me, which was sort of at the end of March, early April and she said they’re doing a couple more movies of the RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD series and there’s a good part for me in it and so I went in and I read. Then, I got a call almost three weeks later saying “Do you remember RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD? They want to see you again. Can you be ready in a couple of hours?” So, I went in and went on tape again and they offered me the role within the next week and that was it.

Some people in the project have a connection to the old series and kind of come to the movie with that and I don’t at all, I haven’t seen any of the other movies and I’m not a very big horror buff.

I: Tell us about your character.

J: Julian is a really interesting character. At the beginning of the first movie, he’s lost his parents in a freak accident, he’s living with his uncle who he doesn’t really like, he’s just finishing high school but he still has kind of that teen angst to him, he understandably doesn’t really understand why the world is treating him as such. He has a really annoying little brother that he doesn’t connect to very well and that’s really his only immediate family left, so he’s in a funny place in his life. It's really intense but also kind of cool, he’s got a good group of friends that he gets along with, he’s got this girl that he kind of likes even though she’s his best friend’s girl and they’ve just broken up and he really likes her but doesn’t want to step on his best friend’s territory and that’s where they are sort of when Zombies enter the scene. Between the two movies, in the first one he’s with his group of friends and he loses a bunch of them along the way but he also forms relationships with the ones that survive. He comes through with Cory and Becky and then in the second film, he’s got Jenny and that’s his new family.

I: What's it like filming in Bucharest?

J: Working in Bucharest it’s difficult, because it’s a very different place. It’s a European city, its just come out of communism. It’s at a really dynamic time in its history and so its cool to be here now. You can’t find this in LA.

The best thing about it I think is the crew, because you really kind of make a connection to the place that you don’t get by just kind of walking on the streets or you know walking into museums or into just spaces. They all speak English. That’s nice for us because we get to make the connection to all the people that are working on this project, I mean when you make a film it’s a big team effort. Collaborating with people from a different culture is so exciting. It’s challenging and fun.

I: Would you come here again?

J: If I had options I don’t know that I’d come back right away. We’ve been here a pretty long time and it’s been really busy so if I had the choice to go to Bucharest or another European city, I might choose the other European city but I wouldn’t rule out coming back here because I have made some good relationships here with Castel, that’s the studio we’ve been working with, and that would make it more attractive because I’d have the opportunity to see some of the same people again.

I: What’s next for you? Would you do another horror film?

J: I don’t have any particular job lined up next, a couple of things I’m looking at. I will not go directly back to L.A. from here, I’ll go to London which is a second home for me. My girlfriend’s based there so I’ll go there first and I’ll look for work there. Where I go from here I don’t really know. I’d love to do another film, but whether its television or stage, I’m kind of open to all projects at the moment. Would I like to jump into another horror film right away? I don’t think so. I think I’d like to do something else outside of the horror genre but I don’t have too many specifications right now. I’d like to do something that’s interesting, a character like Julian, has some depth and some complexity that I can really sink my teeth into. I’m not too picky about the genre but I’d like to continue working with good people and do some good work.

I: How do you like working with the rest of the cast?

J: I spend a lot of time with Cory and Aimee, Jana and Jenny. They are great and they each bring their own personality to our work. Cory, he really cracks me up and I think Cody and Julian’s relationship is like that, Cody’s a little crazy and he can wind Julian up a bit but at the end of the day they’re friends. We shoot hoops or we talk, we keep each other updated on the sports world and you know generally moan about things we miss from home because you need to have someone to do that with as well. Aimee, she cracks me up too and its funny, her personality is kind of quirky in a way similar to how Becky kind of sticks out from the group. You know Becky is kind of nerdy and Aimee is definitely not nerdy but she has this kind of quirky style that’s very unique and one that’s great to have around and add balance to our group when we hang out. We go get coffee, just sit, talk and we’ve both read this book while we’ve been here so we’re able to talk about that. Jana is very sweet, very lovely and we shot the first film a while ago so she hasn’t been here recently and I miss her but she’s great. It’s funny because she and Julian kind of don’t really get to have the type of relationship that Julian gets with Jenny in the second movie and actually on screen, Katie and Julian don’t have that much time together. Jenny has just been here recently and it’s been nice because we’ve been working hard for so long and her new energy is refreshing. It is a great experience.
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