Skip to primary navigation Skip to main content

Actor of the Month

Jesse James Keitel

Interviewed by: Russell Boast, CSA

Jesse James Keitel - Interviewed by: Russell Boast

1) Has there been a casting director that has encouraged and/or supported you in your career?
YOU! Russell Boast, you have been so instrumental in launching my career. There was a very visible domino effect in my life and career after filming Miller & Son; it really opened so many doors and introduced me to some of my most cherished professional relationships. You have also advocated for me in rooms I never thought I'd be in and cemented confidence in my place in this wacky industry. So thank you. Also, Marci Phillips who cast me on Big Sky! It's serendipitous really. What I learned taking a class with her a few years ago was ultimately very instrumental in booking my first series regular.

2) What work are you most proud of?
Honestly, Miller & Son. I think that was the first project I forgot the camera was there. I'll always feel a lot of pride in how far that film went too, from winning a BAFTA and a Student Academy Award to being nominated for an Artios and shortlisted for an Oscar. It was truly beyond my wildest dreams. Perhaps it was Asher Jelinsky's directing style or just how much I wanted to be there, but that powerful, little film changed my life. It grounded me in my identity as a trans/nonbinary person, and I think it's some of my best work.

3) What or who inspired you to pursue acting as a career?
My high school theater teacher Joe Minutillo. I actually really loved plants and considered a career in science but began really finding myself through theater. He really made us feel at home in our high school's black box, and I eventually couldn't see myself pursuing acting as a hobbyist. I love acting lol.

4) What was your first IMDbPro credit and how did you feel when you saw it?
Oh honeyyyy... my first credit also made me SAG eligible so I was feeeeeling myself. It was a webseries called Anything Else where I played a rapper-wannabe. I booked it off a self-tape I filmed it with my sister in my parent's basement.

5) How has IMDbPro helped you market yourself to filmmakers?
IMDbPro has allowed me to really set myself apart from other actors. It's not often that you can craft your own identity on a professional platform. Add photos, reels, and credits and it's a marketing one-stop-shop.

6) Any funny casting room stories?
Oof. When I was really nervous and repeatedly said the line "there are ghosts in the attic" as "there are goats in the attic".... Made that same flub in every take and somehow still booked that one.

7) Tell us a fun fact about you outside of acting:
I used to work as a plumber and now I do drag and am an aspiring TV writer/producer. Life is wild, y'all.

View on IMDbPro More Actors of the Month