Exclusive: Keegan-Michael Key Talks ‘Why Him,’ The Importance Of Indepedent Film & More

The Knockturnal was on the red carpet for the 26th Annual Gotham Independent Film Awards on Monday, November 28 at Cipriani Wall Street.

The evening was presented by Fiji Water, Deep Euphoria Calvin Klein and Landmark Vineyards. The host of the evening was  Keegan-Michael Key. He was absolutely hilarious. Key starred in Don’t Think Twice this year and has many projects in the works. Read our exclusive red carpet interview below:

Tell me, how does it feel to be hosting tonight?

I’m very excited, and I’m also very honored. It’s so sweet of them to ask me. This is something, it’s important to me because when you make independent films, you don’t necessarily know that anyone’s going to recognize it. Anyway, you do it from your heart. You do it out of passion. All these people here tonight, same thing for them. It’s going to be wonderful.

It’s a hard gig. People get drunk.

It’s the hardest gig. Oh, well. Okay. Then, I’ll be done sooner, and I can drink.

You have Why Him coming out soon. Tell us a little bit about your role?

I play a character names Gustav. I am the estate manager for the lead characters, one of the lead characters. James Franco plays this internet billionaire, and I’m the guy who is his life coach, I’m his martial arts instructor, I’m the head chef, I run the estate. I’m pretty much his best friend, and his everything. Yeah.

How was working with James? 

Yeah. It’s really fun. He’s a very contemplative person, very thoughtful, and very quiet. When he’s on camera, the camaraderie is there. Which is fun. He’s a lovely guy, very gentle kind of soul. He a real artist. Yeah.

How about Cranston?

Oh, Cranston’s ridiculous. He’s hilarious. He’s more hilarious than you’d ever think he’d be. Also, a very warm soul, a very generous guy, lot of energy. He’s amazing.

Is Keanu 2 in the works?

Not as of yet. We haven’t talked about it yet, but we’ll talk about it soon I’m sure.

You do such a variety of roles, funny, serious. What do you look for in a role now? 

Very often, what I look for, is if I read a script and it makes me cry. If a script can make me cry, not get verklempt. I have to actually shed a tear. If I shed a tear, I’m more apt to do the script.

So, you were bawling after you read the Why Him script?

Oh, yeah. Bawling. Bawling. Usually, that’s one thing. The other thing is, is there something in the role I’ve never done before? Maybe I’ve done it on stage, but have I not done it on screen? Then, that always interests me. That might hook me. The thing is, I look for varied rolls. I’m not interested in being a movie star. I’m very interested in being an actor who gets to portray different things. I want all my characters’ hearts to beat differently. You know?

Did you always know you were a funny guy?

I didn’t necessarily know I was funny, but I used comedy as a defense mechanism. You know what I mean? As a survival mechanism. Once people started laughing, I guess, I didn’t know what I was doing right. Apparently I was doing something right.

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