Keith Allan is currently known for his role as Murphy in “Z Nation”. However, there is more to him than that. He has been awarded the Drama Critics Circle Award for his outstanding performance in “Cabaret”. In addition, his acting credits include “Zombie Night”, “Rise of the Zombies”, “Star Trek: Enterprise”, “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”, and even “Charmed”. Keith is also an accomplished writer, producer, and director. His first film was 11/11/11. Continue reading part two of our exclusive interview with Keith Allan in order to find out more about his career so far!
TIBS: Z Nation is geared towards horror fans. Have you always been a fan of horror?
KA: Yeah. When I was a teenager, drive-in movies were big for me so me and my theater friends would always go to a drive-in movie and see “Friday the 13” and “When a Stranger Calls” and these great horror movies. We’d laugh our asses off and just scream and get silly and have a good time. I love horror movies that have a sense of humor about them and are fun and have good scares and are exciting, but don’t take themselves way too seriously. I like being able to laugh at horror. I think that’s part of the fun. I’m a big fan. I’ve been watching horror and sci-fi for years. Love it.
TIBS: What was the movie that got you into horror?
KA: Early television stuff would be my first stuff. “The Haunting of Hell House”. That’s a good one. It’s all black and white. It’s a horror movie, it’s about ghosts and stuff. Really creepy and scary but that’s one of my favorites. If you haven’t seen that one, you should go see it. It’s really good.
TIBS: What’s your hands down favorite all time horror film?
KA: Well, I don’t know if most people would classify it as a horror movie but I would. “Alien”. The original “Alien” is one of my favorite movies of all time. Not only do I think the art direction is beautiful, the directing is beautiful, the acting is top notch, and the story is great, but the monster is so creepy. I really love the idea that we don’t see it. I really love that you just see the shadows, you just see the tail, you just see a part of a silhouette. It’s just one of those movies that I saw it and I was terrified and I couldn’t wait to see it again. That’s probably my favorite movie of all time.
TIBS: Being a horror fan, I noticed that Bill Moseley was in “Full Metal Zombie”. Did you enjoy working with Choptop himself?
KA: Oh yeah, he was great. He was a hoot, man. It’s great getting to work with some of the old pros that are just game for anything. We’ve had some fun guest stars last season and we’ve got some good ones coming up in this season. It’s always fun to meet new actors that have been around the block for a while. We get to pick their brains for a little bit and just play around. He was a great one.
TIBS: You’ve accomplished a lot in your career. What are you proud of the most so far?
KA: Well, that’s really hard to say, because it’s always sort of the next thing you’re working on. I did a few short films that I produced and wrote and directed that are really weird, and really crazy, and really messed up. Those were amazing to me because I had never made a film before. It was my first full movie and we wound up going to Sundance with it. And it was this weird little messed up doll movie that is just a blast. It was really great to get recognition from something that I wrote, directed, and I got to see it from beginning to end. That was awesome. And I got to see it go to Sundance, that was great.
TIBS: What would you say you prefer more: acting, writing, or directing?
KA: I think acting is my first love. I love doing it and I love getting to play with other actors and directors and being in that whole creative process. I really do love writing too. It’s really a whole new skill set and you get to really create something out of nothing. I oftentimes will work with a writing partner and that’s a lot of fun because you’re bantering forth ideas. “What about this? How about if they… You know we could…” You start to just create a world in your mind and that’s a lot of fun too. I love directing also. It’s great because I’m a very visual person so I see what I want before we start to shoot the movie. I have a very clear idea of what I want this shot to look like. That’s cool, being able to see it and make it happen. It’s hard to say, but I’ve been doing acting the longest and that’s probably my strongest passion.
TIBS: Did you ever think you’d make it this far in your career?
KA: Yes. I knew it might not happen for years and years but there’s something about tenacity as an actor. You really have to want it and you’ve got to believe in yourself and you’ve got to keep going even when you are broke, even when it looks like you’re never going to work again, even when you’re just depressed, you keep pushing yourself. You kind of just got to keep going. Acting is not for the faint of heart. It’s a tough gig, but I’ve been lucky enough to have good teachers and other good actors in my life. I knew that what I was doing was good, that the work that I was doing was good.
TIBS: What sort of things set Z Nation apart from “The Walking Dead”?
KA: Well, money. (laughs) “The Walking Dead” has a much bigger budget than we do. We are a very small zombie show compared to the giant “The Walking Dead”. I think one of the main differences is our sense of humor. I think that we keep that fine balance. We’re not afraid of gags and jokes. I think we keep a nice balance. We’re not making it too campy but we still have a good laugh and we still do a few ridiculous things here and there, which I don’t ever really see “The Walking Dead” do. Don’t get me wrong, “The Walking Dead” is a great show, a really top notch zombie show, but we’re a little different animal because we aren’t afraid of having a good laugh. Also, in our show we have a mission. We are on a goal. It’s not just about survival. We have something that we are trying to accomplish within this world. I think that makes our show drive a little faster. We’ve got someplace to be. We don’t really have time to just hang out.
TIBS: What is your favorite Z Nation episode so far?
KA: One of my favorite episodes is the zombie-nado episode when we are holed up in the basement. Murphy’s hair starts falling out, I shaved my head, and I wind up down in the basement with the other zombie that I start to feel sympathy for. I cover myself with this dead zombie body. I love that episode because I think what’s going on with the character there is really interesting. I don’t think he understands it, and I think you’re looking at someone who is looking in the face of fear. He doesn’t know what he’s doing or what’s coming next. For me as an actor, it was a great episode for me to do. It sort of dove into what’s going on with this guy and how you sort of live on that razor edge of not knowing what’s going to happen, and what’s going to happen to you, and not understanding what’s going to happen next. I love that episode. It’s a great transformation for Murphy right there not only physically but also mentally. It was fun, it was one of my favorites.
TIBS: What can we expect from Murphy in season two?
KA: Well, he’s going to be a little more independent. He’s tired of getting horsed around. He’s got a little more balls in this season because now he’s got some ammo. He’s got some skills now and he’s starting to hone those skills. We’ll sort of see where his strength lies. He’s not as much of a wimp as he was in the first season. He’s much more a force to be reckoned with. He’s feeling out his power so biters beware! (laughs)
TIBS: What other projects are you currently working on?
KA: I have a film that I want to introduce. It’s a graphic novel/dark comedy crime fighter supervillain thing. It’s called “Hearts Like Fists”. I did it in LA as a play a couple of a years ago and so I’m working on trying to get the film version of this made. I filmed basically the opening of the movie and it’s really cool. I filmed it basically so I can tell people what I want to do with it and it’s really fantastic. I’m really proud of it. It’s got a really graphic novel feel to it, the colors are all really bright, and it’s an exciting project. That’s the next thing I really want to sink my teeth into. I’m trying to figure out how I’m going to get the money to make my movie.
TIBS: So you’re a graphic novel fan. What would be your favorite comic?
KA: You know, I would have to say I am completely out of date in the whole comic world. I couldn’t go and say “this artist” or “this artist”. Because I always want to buy by art. That’s one of my favorite things, is the style of art. It’s just so fantastic, it’s so cool. But I couldn’t probably tell you. (laughs) I’m old school comics. When I grew up, I was all like Spiderman and Batman. Those were my comics.