We catch up with the star of TRANSFORMERS: AGE OF EXTINCTION and HBO’s RAY DONOVAN…
When Glenn Keogh moved from Blackrock to Australia to do accountancy, he had no idea he would end up in hits such as TV’s Ray Donovan and this weeks TRANSFORMERS: Edge Of Extinction.
“It’s definitely been a good year,” smiles Glenn Keogh, looking out over the Liffey as he prepares to attend the Irish premiere of TRANSFORMERS: Edge Of Extinction. “You’re very much aware, as an actor, that each gig could be your last, and that tomorrow never knows, but sometimes, just sometimes, everything just seems to work…”
With a role in the latest TRANSFORMERS – already doing a monster mash on box-office records around the world – and a part in the soon-come second season of TV’s Ray Donovan, everything indeed seems to be working for former Blackrock native Keogh. With a move into producing too (“So important to make your own work”), and a return to America’s longest-running soap, Days Of Our Lives (think Coronation Street reimagined by Will Ferrell), and you’ve got one very happy Paddy.
“The main thing is, I know that being in big, successful shows and movies doesn’t mean that I’m big and successful,” he smiles. “Far from it! But it does mean that I’m working, and my work is getting noticed. That’s pretty much all a character actor like myself can really hope for. I’m not the young quarterback who’s going to get the girl; I’m the coach with the drinking problem, who maybe dreams about that girl.”
When Glenn Keogh left his native Ireland for Australia, he had no real dreams other than a solid living doing accountancy. And, for a few years, that’s exactly what he got. When a recurrent sports injury forced him to look for a new hobby, he finally got around to some acting classes. “Just for the hell of it,” he says. “At least, that’s what I told myself. Deep down, I think I knew this was something more than just a little hobby though. I think it was always there, deep down, but then, doesn’t everyone have this deep desire to be an artist, to do something creative, for a living?”
It quickly became apparent to Keogh that the actor’s life was for him, and so he turned his back on the cushy number that is accountancy and started to thread the boards. Winning a Green Card to the US in a lottery sealed the deal.
“The funny thing was, when I told my family and friends that this was what I really wanted to do, none of them were surprised. I thought it would be a bolt out of the blue for them, but they all just felt it was something that had been there all along.”
Picking up a Queensland Best Actor Award was proof that Keogh was on the right track.
“It was good to head to LA, and basically start from scratch,” he says. “I had some friends there already, and had some meat on my CV already, so, I wasn’t completely at the bottom of the food chain, but in LA, acting is a business, and you have to prove your worth. So, that’s what I set about doing.”
Parts in the likes of Criminal MInds and General Hospital led to a recurring character on Sons Of Anarchy. Which led to Days Of Our Lives. And Ray Donovan. And TRANSFORMERS: AGE OF EXTINCTION.
“Each part is a building block, and if you do it well, the hope is it will lead to something else,” nods Keogh. “In that sense, I’ve been lucky, but it’s also down to hard work. I know my strengths – I tend to play a lot of troubled Irishmen – but I’m also determined to keep on pushing this forward. To find new ways of doing what I do. To find roles that push me.
“The audition process for TRANSFORMERS was incredibly tough, but that’s how it should be. You’re joining this juggernaut of a franchise, with a director who clearly knows what he’s doing. You can’t be half-assed in a situation like that. Everyone’s got to be ready, and everyone’s got to bring their A game. There is just so much money involved here, but something like TRANSFORMERS is one very well-oiled machine now. Michael Bay has been working with the same group of people for years now, and they all just click into place. It’s like they’re a band who have been jamming together forever. They just know instinctively what this guy wants from them. It was very exciting to be a part of something that colossal, and that precise.”
It’s a feeling that hit Keogh again on the set of RRAY DONOVAN, the HBO-esque drama centred around Liev Schreiber’s stoney LA fixer, running scared after his father (Jon Voight) gets out of prison and threatens to reveal the dirty little secret that he did time for.
“I got to work with Eddie Marsan a lot on that show,” says Keogh. “He’s a wonderful English actor, playing Liev’s brother, and just being in that kind of company, it takes you up a few notches, where you feel this wonderful pressure to try harder, try harder. Of course, you try your best in every role, but being with really good actors just makes you play that little bit better, instinctively.”
Still, when it comes to the fame game, Keogh knows where the power really lies when it comes the average American Joe and Joanna.
TRANSFORMERS: AGE OF EXTINCTION is released in Irish cinemas on July 5th 2014
Words & Pictures: Paul Byrne