Brandon Keener – (Zookeeper – 2011).

I recently got the opportunity to have a quick chat with Brandon Keener about his role in Kevin James’ new film, ‘Zookeeper’. Here, Brandon talks about how he got involved in the project and about what his day usually consists of…

Hey Brandon. Thanks for taking the time out to speak to me about your new film ‘Zookeeper’. The story revolves around a group of zoo animals breaking their code of silence in order to help their lovable zoo keeper find love.

Tell us a bit about the character you play in the movie…

My character, Nimer, is a competitive car salesman working at a dealership with Kevin James’ character’s brother. It’s a small role, but I had a terrific time with it.

How did you get involved in the project in the first place?

I auditioned for the lovely casting directors Justine Baddeley and Kim Davis. I really appreciate their faith in me – they’ve been really supportive.

The film stars Kevin James, Rosario Dawson, Leslie Bibb, Donnie Wahlberg and Ken Jeong, with Frank Coraci onboard as director – what was it like working with the cast and crew on-set?

My scenes were with Mr. James, who is great to watch. He is a fantastic improviser, and puts everyone at ease so we can all do good work.

Let’s talk a bit about you Brandon. What made you want to get into acting in the first place?

In junior high, I participated in a state-funded (Arkansas) summer arts camp, focusing on fine arts and drawing. I ended up doing some drama classes and really enjoyed them. Later, in college, I worked backstage in the theatre before finally getting up the nerve to audition for a play. After that, I couldn’t stop doing plays, and have been doing it ever since.

If you could recommend a film or TV series to someone, what would you choose and why?

I’m a big fan of ‘Mad Men’. My wife and I consider it appointment viewing, which is rare in this age. We enjoy the smart dialogue, the fascinating characters, and the way the storylines don’t always wrap up neatly, but always provoke thought.

What does a Brandon Keener day usually consist of?

I have two small children, so my day starts around 6:00 a.m. when my youngest wakes up. If my wife has a big day at work, I’ll let her sleep in. I chase the kids around the house, get them dressed, then head out to an audition or two, or go to an acting gig if I have one. In the evenings we try to have dinner as a family, then spend the rest of the evening cleaning up all the food that has been dropped (or thrown) on the ground. By the baby, not me (well, most of the time…). By the time my older child is in bed, the adults are lucky to watch a little TV or get things organized for the next day. Pretty boring stuff, actually, but I wouldn’t trade it in for anything.

What has been the most interesting piece of local / national news you’ve heard in the last month?

I’m a bit of a news-hound, and I watched the U.S. debt ceiling debate pretty closely. I get frustrated with the partisan bickering, as if our government is made up of competing sports teams.

We should probably point out that you’re a integral part of the ‘Mass Effect’ gaming franchise too. ‘Mass Effect 3’ is currently in production and you are reprising your role as Garrus Vakarian – we’ll have to get you back when it comes out of course – but what details can you tell us about the new game right now? Has a release date been set?

I wouldn’t want to spoil any surprises that BioWare is planning, so I’d better not comment. I will say that the fan base for Garrus is absolutely amazing. I’ve been fortunate to interact with a lot of smart, fun, terrific people who are passionate about ME, and about the character of Garrus. The BioWare team created a character that has incredible nuance, humor, and humanity (especially for a Turian!)

What else is coming up for you in 2011/12? I hear you’re currently in post production on a project called ‘My Mother’s Curse’…

Indeed, working on ‘My Mother’s Curse’ was a pleasure. I’m looking for more good roles, and taking my kid to swim lessons!

Thanks for the interview!

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