daringly and brilliantly enters at the edge of the Hell of Fame
It takes a special kind to make it into the Hell of Fame at Death Ensemble. And by “special,” I don’t necessarily mean “popular.” Sure, Freddy Krueger is in here, but so is the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup. To make it into the Hell of Fame, you have to have something that separates you from the pack, stand out so far in a world of homogeny that you become a Titan among your kind. Given these criteria, I welcome Will Keenan into the HOF.
Will’s quirkiness makes him unique among the thousands upon thousands of actors in film history. No one would—Hell no one could—ever play a role like he does. He takes every character right to the edge, and on those sterling occasions, right over the edge. He dares to explore places where no actor has ever gone before. He may look goofy, but don’t ever underestimate him by confusing that with lack of ability. Because Keenan is loaded with talent, and he’s always entertaining.
From his humble beginnings at Troma in leading roles in TROMEO & JULIET and TERROR FIRMER, to becoming the star of the first fully digital film LOVE GOD, through his more recent efforts in THE GHASTLY LOVE OF JOHNNY X and CHOP, Keenan has always been edgy and brilliant. Never afraid to put his own body on the line, he’s done his own stunts in many of his films; these include getting hit by a car and climbing light posts in NYC. He’s played a modern day, porn addicted version of Shakespeare’s Romeo; the world’s first hermaphrodite serial killer; an alien rebel greaser; a bastard who confesses his many sins as his tormentor keeps severing his limbs; and the Queen of Hearts in a take on Alice in Wonderland. I submit that only Will Keenan could have played these roles. Without him, these films would have failed to have impact on their audiences.
Will broadened his audience with his recent stint at Maker Studios. In his executive role, Will expanded the use of Youtube channels for all sorts of programming. He brought art to the people, and found ways to monetize the internet for the artist. A forward thinker from his very first days under Lloyd Kaufman, Will Keenan is a Renaissance man.
He’s also gracious, as I found out personally. Last April, he sat down with me in NYC for an interview, and gave the in-depth kinds of answers that were real and unique to his vision of his career. Will was everything I ever hoped he would be, and in pure Will Keenan form he wandered off in the middle of our chat to talk up a fan. He even offered to pay for my movie ticket to see THE GHASTLY LOVE OF JOHNNY X that night. I declined, though he kindly repaid me by taking a pic of me in his red framed glasses (such pics are a Will Keenan trademark). Like Will himself, the interview was unique, and brought things right to the edge.
The sad thing is, Keenan’s audience should be worlds larger. If you put Will Keenan into an awful, by-the-numbers $150 million dollar blockbuster, you’d have a much better movie. If Hollywood wanted to challenge audiences, it should make him the next Jack Ryan or Batman. His unorthodox approach would add levels to big name characters and big budget films that just don’t exist, because Hollywood isn’t daring. But thank any God you worship that Will Keenan continues to dare.
Though Will doesn’t act so much anymore, he continues to be a presence on the internet. He’s recently started airing episodes of “The Will Keenan Show;” it’s not really a show so much, as it’s Will sitting in a chair, giving stream-of-consciousness thoughts on several topics in three- minute bursts. If I can’t see him in TERROR FIRMER 2, I’ll take it.
Several people have called Will Keenan a modern day Buster Keaton. It’s high praise well deserved for Keenan, and a great compliment to Keaton. I couldn’t have put it better myself.
Will Keenan is one of my favorite actors. He continues to challenge the status quo, and I love him for it. As I continue to write scripts, I can only hope that one day he’ll be gracious enough to act in a film I write. I can give him no higher praise than to welcome him into the Hell of Fame, an induction he most definitely deserves.