Actor Glenn Keogh takes our questions and talks about his favorite places, missing home, and the time he forgot the words to “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
Glenn Keogh is quickly rising to prominence in Hollywood. This past summer, he made the press rounds for Michael Bay’s latest installment of the Transformers series. Keogh plays an Arctic scientist who makes a world-changing discovery in Transformers: Age of Extinction, a role that continues the departing trend from his first Hollywood acting jobs playing the tough guy.
It’s easy to see how a man like Keogh, 40, with a brogue, square jaw, and a mean five-o’clock shadow came to the attention of casting directors who were looking for antagonists in some of the most popular crime dramas out there. He’s had roles in “Castle,” “Criminal Minds,” “Undercovers,” and “Ray Donovan,” with recurring parts in the FX hit “Sons of Anarchy,” and “General Hospital,” where he played both a mercenary and bartender in different story arcs. But while it’s true that Keogh’s threatening biceps and torso are benefited by a tight black t-shirt, a favorite of costume departments when outfitting enforcers everywhere, he actually got his start doing comedy in Australia, and has been slowly drifting back to it, or at least away from brute drama. He’s been in a number of children’s shorts, will appear in this fall’s CBS pilot of “Scorpion,” and has taken on a part as a compassionate priest counseling a younger priest who has broken his vows in “Days of Our Lives.”
All this Keogh takes in stride and doesn’t mind being cast as a typical Irish trope. It’s more work for him, he says. And the more work there is, the less likely he is to go back to Australia where he left a sales job to pursue acting full-time in L.A. He was good at selling Microsoft Solutions and is a CPA, but now that he’s on the up-and-coming radar, we don’t expect to see Keogh back in a cubicle any time soon. (Or, maybe very soon, if that’s where his next director tells him to go.)
What is your current state of mind?
Really good actually, I just came back from a brilliant trip home, where I got to spend some quality time with my family and friends, and soak up a little bit of the fine Irish summer! Feeling refreshed and looking forward to seeing how the rest of the year unfolds.
What is your typical day like?
Non-stop! I’m an early riser and typically chase the day, never enough hours in it for me. Early work-out followed by a day of work, some creative work of some sort and then time to catchup with friends and family, even if it’s over the phone.
Describe your perfect day.
From sunrise to sunset, surrounded by my nieces and nephews and other family members, the activity or location doesn’t matter. I simply don’t see enough of them and treasure every minute of it. Once the sun sets, of course, I’m off for a few pints and some great craic with my close mates and some of my family – can’t beat the Irish for banter and a great night out!
What is your earliest memory?
Eating sweets out of a bowl (the size of my head!) with my sister – I believe we were three at the time; I have a photo to remind me of that lovely memory.
What was your first job?
Delivering newspapers when I was nine years of age, loved that job, always felt like I was reading the news before the rest of the world got to hear about it.
If you weren’t an actor, what would you be doing?
Time! Kidding… Even though I’m a qualified CPA, I don’t believe I would have carved out a long-term career in that field, just not for me. Like to tell myself I’d be playing for Liverpool!
Honest answer? Selling – which is what I’m best at.
Your most embarrassing moment or memory?
There are many! Too many to compete for the most embarrassing. The most recent would have to be my attempt at the American national anthem at a fund-raiser, with a microphone, in front of a packed room, many of whom were war veterans who had served this fine country… its rare I am stuck for words… and what a time to flunk my lines! I’ll never forget that.
On long plane rides, do you stay to yourself or do you strike up conversations?
It varies, I fly home a couple of times a year and it all depends on the time of the flight and if the person beside me is any craic! Had a great chat with a fellow paddy on my last flight home. Love to hear the excitement in people’s voices when they are visiting Ireland for the first time, makes me very proud to be Irish.
How do you stay up-to-date with the industry?
Living in Los Angeles you can’t escape it – everyone is in the know! The challenge I have is trying to escape it.
Do you remember the first movie you saw?
Superman, and what a movie. Still one of my favorites and a classic. Magical.
Do you read about yourself on the internet?
I do when I’m lucky enough to have some press, I get a great kick out of how I am sometimes quoted, which sometimes is nothing like what I actually said. Have had a fair bit recently, some of which made me laugh out loud.
What is the most surprising thing you’ve been told about yourself?
Nothing surprises me now.
What is on your nightstand?
Typically a book to put me to sleep and a photo of my family. I am currently reading The Monk Who Sold his Ferrari. Terrific read.
“Everything in moderation, everything” – from a former school teacher of mine.
Do you have a hidden talent?
Ability to wake at any time and almost tell the exact time!
What is your greatest extravagance?
Can’t beat a well-tailored suit for a special occasion. I’ve had a couple.
Who is your hero?
Ability to teleport myself home at a moment’s notice.
What trait do you deplore most in others?
Begrudgery and negativity.
Best quality in a friend?
Ability to listen, really listen.
What historical figure (or Transformer) do you identify with the most?
Where is your favorite place in Ireland?
Would have to say Galway, brilliant city. Real Ireland.
Where do you go to think?
For a good cycle along the ocean.
What is your most prized-possession?
Gifts from family, particularly from nieces and nephews – it’s the small things that count. I wouldn’t trade a scribbled picture from a kid for a Porsche.
Anything you would do over?
Honestly no. This has been my journey, all by choice.
What’s next for you?
A few projects airing on American TV very soon, and I have a couple of others tentatively in the works, nothing confirmed at the moment. In the meantime I’ll be pitching a TV show that a few partners and I have worked on for the past couple of years.
Finally, what is one question you wish someone would ask you?
Can I see your ID please!