GUY’S GUY: An Interview with Gian Keys of THE LOVE WITCH

thelovewitch_kingofficeInterviewee Gian Keys (above), appearing as Detective Griff Meadows in Anna Biller‘s latest film, THE LOVE WITCH. / Image rights belong to respective owners and not DRC.

The Love Witch marks filmmaker Anna Biller’s triumphant return to the spotlight, after previous genre hit Viva. Find screening dates here.
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With an incredible Rotten Tomatoes score of 95%, The Love Witch “offers an absorbing visual homage to a bygone era, arranged subtly in service of a thought-provoking meditation on the battle of the sexes.” — Rotten Tomatoes, 2016. 
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DRCYou’re no stranger to genre acting. Heading into the new year in the coming months, we are seeing a gradual push for independent cinema becoming the norm. What’s your take on the current state of mainstream cinema?
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KEYSFirst, I’d like to say, ‘Thank you,’ for giving me an opportunity to be a part of DRIPPING RED CINEPHILE.  It seems the big studios do a lot of comic book movies and sequels.  I’ve heard it’s because there’s less risk involved, which makes sense from a business standpoint.  Although, it could mean fewer original movies being made, which can be frustrating to those of us who enjoy a great story surrounded by beautiful cinematography and fantastic performances.  I’ll admit, I do enjoy my fair share of car chases and crazy CGI effects, but I usually prefer a film with more substance, layers, a message, and not simply loud noises to distract me from everyday life. 
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DRCAnna Biller is quite the powerhouse filmmaker. The Love Witch brings a new type of narrative to audiences potentially unaware of the forgotten genre films of the 1960s. What was your initial reaction after reading Ms. Biller’s script for the film? Tell us a little about the creative process with her.
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KEYSWell, I wasn’t sure what to think, because I’d never read anything quite like it. So, I had to read it again.  I definitely liked the character I played — Detective Griff Meadows — because I can relate to him on so many levels.  I spent four years in the U.S. Air Force, so I’m familiar with the idea of having strict rules to follow and being a rather straight-laced kinda guy.  The more Anna and I talked about the project, the more I could see what she was going for.  Initially, it’s difficult to see how all the colors were going to come into play, but Anna had a  clear vision of what she wanted and she explained it very clearly.  I wasn’t overly familiar with movies from the ’60s and ’70s, so Anna gave me a list of films to watch.  This played a big part in helping me to understand how she wanted Griff Meadows to be played.  I’d say we worked very well together.
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DRCGriff, the primary male-lead in The Love Witch, arguably represents the power of masculinity and the early-1960s fear of challenging the patriarchy. His character initially reinforces the stereotype of men being dominant over women, but later changes in the second half of the film. How did you mentally approach the role? In your opinion, what does his character represent?
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KEYS:  I’ve learned a lot from my acting coach, Joe Palese. He talks about how important it is for characters to have a an arch during a film, instead of being one-note throughout the entire piece.  So, things that happen to Griff Meadows need to affect and change him in some way.  He’s a dominant male from the ’60s, but he’s also quite human.  I wanted to combine how men were perceived on film during that era, but also include the human aspect that exists in all eras.  I think he represents a certain type of man — the rugged, masculine, guy’s guy who was raised properly and taught the importance of being honest and doing the right thing.  He also represents the traditional male who’s in charge and probably uses the philosophy of, ‘It’s my way or the highway.’
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DRCThe Love Witch directly challenges the very concept of sexuality, in its unabashed disconnect of sexual physicality and actual romantic connection. Tell us a little about what the character of Elaine, the witch herself, represents, to you, about ‘sexuality.’
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KEYSAh, yes, sexuality.  Well, sexuality can be weird, awkward, and uncomfortable at times.  Elaine is young, and she’s simply trying to figure out what works for her.  Men and women are quite different, so I think it’s great she’s trying to understand how men tick.  However, in the process…she ends up killing a few.  Uh oh, is that a spoiler alert?  Elaine may have underestimated herself.  I don’t believe she needed any ‘love magic’ to attract Griff Meadows. 
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DRCThe film has been getting insane press and amazing reviews in the past several months. With a bigger spotlight being placed on indie genre cinema, what other types of ‘genre film’ would you like to see hit the big screen? Any dream roles or types of characters you’d like to play in the future?
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KEYSI’d like to see more Film-Noir.  I recently saw La La Land, which I really enjoyed, so maybe a bit more from the Musical genre.  After seeing Ryan Gosling in La La Land, I think it’d be a heck of a lot of fun to learn to sing and dance for a musical.  I took several months of voice training for The Love Witch, so I’m well on my way to singing. Ha-ha!  I’d also like to do a gritty Western, like some of the old Clint Eastwood movies.  I took four lessons on horseback riding for The Love Witch, so I’m halfway there to ropin’ and ridin’.
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DRCYou recently co-created an original series — F***in’ Actors. Obviously a comedy. Tell us a little about the series, and how we can surely get hooked. Where’d the initial concept come from, and what can we see from your character on the series?
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KEYSWell, F**KIN’ ACTORS was originated by myself and my friend, Ashton Bingham.  Ashton’s great with comedy.  We were both in the same acting class, and I approached him on putting together some short comedy scenes, so I could put together a comedy acting reel.  He then got the idea  that we do more with it and possibly create a series.  Actors, and many of the things actors do in order to be successful, are quite bizarre, especially to those who don’t know exactly how the industry works.  We essentially set out to make fun of ourselves doing the varied things actors do.  Ashton and I are very different.  We’re similar to the characters Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum play in the Jump Street movies.  A bit of the blind leading the blind.  My character, Chase Anderson, is very high-strung and intense.  He’s like the bull in the China shop, whereas Ashon’s character is far more mellow. We decided to enter our series into a few film festivals, and the next thing we knew, we’d won six awards for Best Web Series.  It blew our minds.  Our main platform is YouTube.  If you type in ‘F**KIN” ACTORS,’ all seven episodes will pop up. 
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DRCWhat can we expect to see from Gian Keys in the future? Any other upcoming projects we’ll get to see on the big screen?
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KEYSGian Keys is working his way up the Hollywood acting ladder.  The Love Witch is the biggest role I’ve had, and it’s leading to some wonderful connections and opportunities.  It’s a bit early to mention projects, because I don’t want to jinx myself.  Ha-ha! Not that I’m superstitious or anything.  Later today, I’ll be doing an interview with Huffington Post about The Love Witch and my career, so I’m quite excited about that.  Gian will continue to pound the pavement and beat the bushes, in order to become a super successful actor.
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DRCLastly, we have to ask — if your character in The Love Witch were to get involved with magic or witchcraft, what would his spell be? To go a step further, what would Gian Keys’ spell be, in real life?
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KEYSGriff Meadow’s spell of choice would be a ‘truth’ spell.  He’d like to be able to tell if anyone is lying, which would help him put away the ‘bad guys.’  Gian’s spell of choice would be a fountain of youth spell — which probably isn’t a spell — but then, his family and friends would be around forever.
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To follow Keys’ career, be sure to check in with his Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram/ DRC thanks Mr. Keys for his time, and wishes him a long career filled with success.

A MORE ADULT WORLD: An Interview with Jeffrey Landman

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Interviewee Jeffrey Landman (above left) performing at Ryan Black’s “88’s Cabaret” in West Hollywood, CA – 2009. / Halloween 5 original artwork (above center). / Landman’s performance as Billy Hill in Halloween 5 (above right). / Image rights belong to respective owners and not DRC.

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It is always fascinating to witness the meteoric rise of an individual so well-versed in different areas of creative ability. Actor Jeffrey Landman proves to be an inspiration on and off the silver screen. At the young age of eleven, Landman earned his eternal place in the hearts of the horror fandom as Billy Hill in Halloween 5 – one of the most inventive, gruesome entries to the franchise. His performance in the film proved a sense of vulnerability, emotional connection, and maturity beyond his years. Much like John Carpenter‘s original film, the franchise once again returned to a focus on terror through the eyes of preadolescence.

Check out a tender moment between Billy (Landman) and Jamie (actress Danielle Harris) below.

After seeing a new interview of Landman in a bonus feature documentary for Anchor Bay Entertainment and Scream Factory‘s Halloween: The Complete CollectionDRC decided to contact the actor in September 2015 via Twitter. Long before the official launch of DRC, the playful tweet (below) provided motivation to eventually interview Landman for the site. Charming and wise in the art world, Landman is a theatrical force to be reckoned with.

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Although genre fans may remember him for his slash-tastic performance as Billy Hill, Landman now focuses on his work in the world of theatre. Landman is currently taking the stage in his role of Edward Kleban in Coachella Valley Repertory‘s production of A Class Act. Landman is receiving endless amounts of recognition for his dedication to the role and the world of the show. Writer Jack Lyons of Desert Local News praises Landman: “Jeffrey Landman plays (Edward) Kleban with charm, style, and terrific timing. He sings, he dances and he emotionally draws the audience into his nuanced performing orbit by the sheer force of his talent.” 

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Landman (above) embraces his writer side in A Class Act (image belongs to CV Rep).
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Between endless rehearsals, previews, and performances, DRC had the privilege to have a brief, but insightful glimpse into the life of the astounding actor. In this NEW interview (below), Landman chats with DRC about life as a child actor, his own favorite films, and his biggest theatrical accomplishments to date.

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– DRCWhat, to you, makes the horror genre so important? As someone whose face is remembered on the silver screen by so many diehard fans, how would you handle someone approaching you for a major horror film today?
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LANDMANEveryone loves a good scare. That moment your heart starts racing….. (Smiles)  If anyone out there is looking to cast their horror film, I am certainly always open to return to the genre that has brought me so much.
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DRC2015 was a huge year for the horror genre. From the kooks of Roth’s The Green Inferno to del Toro’s highly anticipated period-pressed Crimson Peak, the year’s releases crossed nearly every nightmarish territory. 2016 is a new year. What do you foresee being the big release of 2016? Is there any particular film you’re most looking forward to?
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LANDMANI am really looking forward to Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, as I was a huge fan of the book, and the entire genre of classic literature/horror mash-ups. I like a little bit of a sense of humor in my horror films, and hopefully, the “wink” factor will be there. I would LOVE to see a return to the 1980s style of horror. Those films had a fun, campy element to them. I recently re-watched the entire Elm Street canon, and they had a wonderful amount of fun — something I think is somewhat lacking in our current horror films.
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DRCBeing a child actor has its perks and its cons. Most seem to crumble under the pressure, but you have made a lovely life for yourself. Tell our readers a little about your experiences in Halloween 5. What was it like having media attention as a child? Has it influenced the way you perceive the world today?
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LANDMANI was very lucky with the way my childhood career played out, in that I was never really under a lot of media scrutiny. It was such a different time — really the pre-internet age. I was able to avoid the trappings of what we currently assume about child actors. I also have a wonderfully strong family that truly put me and my needs first and foremost. It was also very helpful that during Halloween 5, I had Danielle Harris in every scene with me. Since there were two kids on set, everyone went out of their way to ensure we were taken care of and were never scared on set. Being a child actor certainly has changed the way I view the world, in that I had a different set of childhood experiences than the average kid. I was forced to grow up in a more adult world than most children, and had to make grown-up choices when other kids were still being kids. But I wouldn’t have it any other way.
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DRC: What was it like working with the legendary Donald Pleasence? Are there any stories you remember with him on set?
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LANDMANDonald was a wonderful presence on the set and it was such an honor to work with such an amazingly accomplished actor. Especially working with him on a Halloween movie, as he is (and always will be) the branch connecting the series. He was wonderful to Danielle and I, and would spend time in the makeup trailer telling stories about his career and life. My only regret is that I was too young to really understand what a gift it was to spend that time with him.
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DRCI see you’ve made a name for yourself in the world of theatre. Tell us how you broke into theatre. Any crazy stories from backstage?
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LANDMANI actually started in theatre, and was appearing on Broadway in Les Miserables, at the time I was cast in Halloween 5. After the film opened, I returned to the stage, appearing on Broadway again in the early 90’s in Falsettos. For the past two decades, I have been working steadily on stage and in the recording booth. I would have to say that my biggest accomplishment to date was starring in one of the biggest Broadway hits ever at the age of ten, after my very first audition. As for funny things happening backstage, all my fun stories basically involve someone messing up…(Laughs) Not very fun out of context.
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DRCWhat has been your favorite theatrical accomplishment to date?
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LANDMANEvery show I have done has been wonderful for its own reasons, but my favorite HAS to be appearing on Broadway at age 11 in Les Miserables. Being my first job ever, it will always have that place in my heart. To say it changed my life is a supreme understatement, and no matter what else happens, I will always have that experience of being a part of such a mammoth show that everyone the world over has some connection to.
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DRC: If you could pick three of your favorite films, what would they be and why? Are there any films that have changed your perception of life and existence?
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LANDMANIn no order…All About Eve. BRILLIANT acting and writing! All That Jazz. It’s an amazing look at life as an artist, and it’s visually stunning. The Long Kiss Goodnight. Such a very underrated movie. I just love it. I would say that All That Jazz changed my life…in the way I view art, and understanding the drive and passion to make it.
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DRCNothing should be overly serious. Every reality star has his or her own tagline. Something shallow, like, “People try to rope me in…but I lead this rodeo.” What would your tagline be, Mr. Landman?
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LANDMAN: (Laughs) B-B-Billy may stutter, but Jeffrey always speaks clearly.

Landman shows off his impeccable chops (above) in a performance for the “Back to Bravo” Benefit for Camp Bravo 2014. Be sure to follow Landman on Twitter. The world is his platform for entertainment.