American born Canadian Jonathan Keltz, now transplanted to LA holds an impressive list of credits in episodic television, film and stage.
He’s a serious actor but that didn’t stop him from playing Randy the blonde jock bully in 21 and Over, the raucous coming-of-age tale of one long, rough night.
Three friends on a birthday bender accidentally throw a dart into Randy’s cheek launching a collegiate war that includes rampaging bison, guns and girls. Randy is not someone to cross.
We spoke with Keltz in Toronto and he’s actually a nice guy:
M&C: You seem so nice and normal nothing like creepy Randy!
Keltz: Nothing like Randy at all, although there might be some of him in there somewhere! One of my inspirations for the role was Bradley Cooper in Wedding Crashers, that feeling, that boyfriend you hate, you understand why she’s with him but God you hate him.
He’s such a brilliant actor and I tried to take charge and be inspired and watched it a few times. The trick for me was to make this guy real versus a cartoon. I’m literally shouting “If I ever see you again I’m going to come at you like a spider monkey!” It’s hard to be serious when you say you’re going to be a spider monkey!
He’s going 100 miles per hour all the time but really he’s having a bad night. He’s the hero of the story. I get darts thrown in my face, they pull a gun on me, I lose my girlfriend. Honestly, I sympathize.
M&C: You need to make another movie from his point of view! This fighting and threatening is a guy thing. Have you ever been in a fight?
Keltz: This alpha male testosterone is nothing to be trifled with but fortunately I was a professional actor since I was seven so if someone is coming at me, I’m like “Sorry! I can’t be involved in this, I have an audition!” My agent made me quit the rugby and football team let alone a bar brawl!
You show up to an audition with a black eye you’re in trouble. I like to think I was being an actor, someone with a gift of gab. I was always able to talk people down. “What’s the point? Stay relaxed!” People get protective, egos flare, things happen.
M&C: Randy has a great arc. At the beginning you told me what would happen at the end, I would have refused to believe it.
Keltz: The creative process going into this was great. John and Scott were so encouraging to us bringing our own flavour, improvisation, and psychology, whatever. The end of the movie had a couple of incarnations, the original was that I show up again with the gun from the pep rally and that takes things darker and serious. That didn’t end things the way we wanted to.
So you set the gun down and let me go to town and things evolved. The confession having a father similar to his and it was me who came in with the hug and kissed his cheek.
M&C: I’d really like to see his version of the movie. How was it working with the bison?
Keltz: He was great, totally cool. He didn’t mind anything until they riled him up. He was completely calm and I don’t know how, there were 700 extras and a forty foot bonfire, but he was mellow, chill. They got him running around but he was great. One of the most generous co-stars I’ve ever had.
M&C: Project X is so dark and The Hangover so life threatening. This isn’t. For the kind of experience you’re describing, it’s something more people can see.
Keltz: Exactly. Project X is great and the Hangover references and Miles Teller is in both, they are completely different. The horrifying spiral that a night similar to this can take when things get completely out of control. This is about three guys, these friends, how they’ve lost their way and how they find it and realize they’ll have each other all their life.
I have a friend I’ve known since I was one. We’re both from New York; we both moved to Canada, we both moved to LA. We’ve been friends our entire life, it’s so important to have these friends. When we caught up in the pressure of our lives, it’s important to have these friends and benchmarks and to know them and their reams and things we want to do.
That’s the heart of this movie. Some of the sentimental moments caught people by surprise. Not quite what people were thinking but it’s an important part of the movie. It’s a crazy, hyper real, bizarre night but its three guys on their night.
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