Jesse Lee Keeter (Z-Nation, Grimm) takes time to talk with Artsploitation Films about his current role as Andrew Costello in the new movie, The Anatomy of Monsters
What attracted you to the script and your character for The Anatomy of Monsters?
The thing that interested me most about Andrew is his uncertainty. Over the course of the film he's almost always on the ropes, out of his element, and forced to improvise. Initially his biggest conflict is finding the courage to go out and kill somebody. That's not a decision made lightly. There is so much that can go wrong, so many consequences for failure. Not to mention the mental strain involved with the act itself and potential fall out there after, the grief and guilt, the paranoia tied up with getting caught. This is a decision that doesn't go away. So just finding the courage to do it is a hell of a struggle in and of itself. So he finds the courage, luckily for us, and we get a movie out of it. But when he meets up with Sarah and things take a turn for the worse, of all the possible outcomes of the evening, there's no way he ever would have considered this as a possibility. We take a guy, already in a strange head space, and put him into a situation that is not only dangerous, but completely unexpected, and that's fun to play. Plus, Andrew never gives up. He may have a hard time, choose some useless or silly tactics, but he plays the game to the end.
How was it working with Byron C. Miller?
Byron is a great director. He has the rare ability to balance a strong vision with the willingness to collaborate. We made this flick with a tiny budget in about five days less than would have been ideal. We needed to stay focused, move at a break neck pace, and not lose sight of the big picture. That kind of environment typically lends itself to dictatorship. But with Byron, we were able to accomplish all those things, while still being able to have a voice and be heard. Even at the eleventh hour I was able to say, "Hey, I think I can bring this to the table." And Byron would always say, "I think you can too." He's a sweet heart. So is Paul. They made a great team. It's difficult to get things done and feel fulfilled on a lot of independent film sets, but the two of them created an environment where creativity was encouraged and respect was a given.
Was there a certain day of shooting that is most memorable to you?
The intro sequence of the film, where Andrew cruises a couple bars, we shot that down town Seattle, in bars that were actually open. Just some of that good old fashion guerrilla film making. Gets the blood pumping when anything could happen on a live set. Especially playing a moody character. Luckily, at the time we were making this movie, the atmosphere was a little less shooting/election centric, and there for, a bit more forgiving for a shmuck like me to skulk around and look for trouble. Trying to pull something like that this year would possibly be looking for too much trouble. But whose to say. I had a great time.
Who are your influences in the horror genre?
Nicolas Winding Refn. Some of Jim Carrey's weirder roles. I'm not a huge horror genre buff, but I love that movie Monster Squad.
What sets The Anatomy of Monsters apart from all the rest?
Anatomy of Monsters is made by people who give a fuck and love what they do. This movie has heart and takes risks. And I thinks it's pretty darn good.