UKHS – Hi Bo, thank you for your time and welcome to UKHS. First of all, can you please introduce yourself to fans of UKHS who don’t already know you and tell us how you became an actor along with landing a speaking role in ‘Remember The Titans’?
Bo – Certainly! I’m Bo Keister, actor/producer of Hillbilly Horror Show, House of Good and Evil, The Cabining , and many others.
I began acting in North Carolina back in the latter half of the 90’s. To be honest, I did it on a whim; just chasing a childhood dream. I had no clue what I was doing and had no formal training when I started, but I just went for it. Fortunately, I met a great group of people in NC who helped me get going in the right direction and acquire formal training. I was off and running at that point.
In ’99, my agent called and told me I was auditioning for Remember the Titans , and gave me some info about the story. My dad had coached football in Virginia for several years, so I asked him about it. He knew the whole story, as it actually happened, and had in fact coached against Herman Boone years before. It was cool to have that personal connection, because it got me really fired up for the audition. I ended up booking it and that, as they say, is that.
Funny enough, years later, I did a film called Reunion 108, written by Billy Sample. Billy, who is a former major league baseball player, was a star football player in high school and actually played the Titan’s team portrayed in the film. Talk about a “small world” moment.
It was an amazing film to be part of; a truly proud moment in my career.
UKHS – Your new horror show, ‘Hillbilly Horror Show’ will showcase horror shorts each volume in the hour long comedy show. Can you tell us more about the show and will you focus more on American horror shorts or showcase horror from other countries including the UK?
Bo -The whole concept of the show is basically a mash-up of Hee Haw meets Tales From the Crypt or Creepshow. You take a little backwoods humor and charm; give it a sexy/racy spin, and then blend it with some outstanding horror shorts. What you end up with is a terrific show that has a nice balance of laughter and screams, while creating a solid distribution platform for indie filmmakers.
Volume 1 consists of all US based films, but that wasn’t intentional; it just worked out that way. We are open to all submissions. We don’t care where they’re from; if it’s a great horror short, we want to see it. We’re indie filmmakers who want to help indie filmmakers. That’s really what was at the heart of the whole venture from the start.
Now, we are taking it to an even bigger level. Believe it or not, we just launched our own shorts film festival, Hillbilly Horror Fest, to help find the best of the best.
We’re offering over $3,000 in cash and prizes, along with distribution through our company, Filthy Fingernails, LLC, and Hillbilly Horror Show. Those prizes will be awarded over 4 categories – Horror, Animated Horror, Thriller, and Paranormal – as well as Best of Fest and the Hillbilly Award, for best “hillbilly” horror film.
Filmmakers can get more info and submit to us through Submittable at: https://hillbillyhorrorfest.submittable.com/submit
Bo – Well, the show was developed by Blu de Golyer, who I worked with on House of Good and Evil. He saw my character “Bruce” in The Cabining and that sparked the idea.
We both have a lot of contacts in the indie film world, especially in the horror genre, so we reached out and people jumped right on board. I think everyone saw the potential.
More importantly, we have a solid crew behind the scenes. For the most part, this is the same crew that brought House of Good and Evil into being. It really made it easy having a team that had worked together before.
Blu suggested bringing in Scott Geiter to play “Cephus”. I’d gotten to know him earlier on when I was promoting The Cabining and we’d stayed in touch. Scott’s a great guy and we kept talking about getting a project to work on together, so when Blu mentioned him, it was a no-brainer.
“Lulu” was a bit more difficult to cast, because we not only needed an actress that could turn heads with looks alone, but that got the humor and could play into it. Not to mention that “Lulu” doesn’t wear much in the way of clothing on the show, so we had to have someone comfortable with that aspect too.
We had put out casting notices, but none of the submissions resonated with us, so I reached out to a friend of mine who owns a talent agency. She sent us Rachel’s profile and our jaws dropped. To call her “SMOKIN'”, as her shirt on the show displays, is an understatement. She nailed her audition and there was no doubt we had our girl.
Moving forward, we always envisioned bringing other “family” members into play, even if they’re just doing guest roles or cameos. And we’re thrilled to announce that Tamara Glynn, of Halloween 5 fame, will be joining us in future volumes as “Emma Jo”, Lulu’s hot mom. She’s going to be a terrific addition.
Bo – Ah, Hillbilly Brew has a bit of a punch! It’s a delicious, skunky pilsner! We’re hillbillies, we drink the cheap stuff.
As I said before, “SMOKIN'” is a major understatement. If the image of “Lulu” in her outfits, or lack thereof, doesn’t get your tail wagging, you may want to go see a doctor.
I have to give Rachel credit for being such a good sport about the wardrobe. As producer, it was my job to approach her about what she’d be wearing and, honestly, I’ve never been so embarrassed in my life. I felt like a total pervert.
Rachel, very cooly, said, “Bo, I’m a model. I have these talks all the time. It’s cool.” She’s a total pro.
So, for all you fans out there, YOU’RE WELCOME!
Bo – I think the shorts we’ve assembled thus far are all unique in their own way and bring something different to the table. It wouldn’t be proper to compare them. However, we’ve gotten a lot of feedback from folks who have just been blown away by the CGI work in The Nest.
As for taste, I would say Scott & I are on the same page. We’re both very old school, and revel in the classics of the 80’s, although Scott has a far deeper knowledge of the genre. Rachel is more the suspense/thriller lover, if I recall correctly.
UKHS – Bo, you set up your own studio, Actors Anonymous in Christiansburg. How offer do you get to teach?
Bo – Haha! Not much these days…and that’s not a complaint.
I actually got so busy a couple years ago, that I had to close up the studio. It’s hard to teach when you’re always on location. I still work with a handful of students privately, and they’re all getting out there. In fact, one of them just booked her first speaking role. I’m very proud.
Bo – Well, most of my focus is tuned to Hillbilly Horror Show at the moment, because filming for Volumes 3 & 4 are just around the corner, and getting Hillbilly Horror Fest up and running is a big key.
I’m doing quite a bit to promote House of Good and Evil, which launches on DVD April 1st, and The Cabining, which premieres at the Bare Bone’s International Film Festival in April also.
Beyond that, I have several projects on the horizon; The Manor and A Good Day to Die are two that come to mind. Unfortunately, I’m sworn to secrecy on most of them, including the one I just wrapped at the end of last year. I can’t say anything about it, except that it’s going to blow people’s minds!
Hopefully, I can come back and visit when I can talk more about them.
UKHS – If you could have dinner with three guests (living or dead), who would you choose and why?
Bo – My grandfather on my dad’s side, because I never got to meet him; he passed before I was born.
Stephen King, because it’s Stephen King!
Lastly, I think I’d go with Bruce Lee. 1) Because I love martial arts, 2) He was a total bad ass, and 3) He’d keep Stephen King in line if he got too creepy!
Bo – I did a film called Where I Begin a few years ago; playing a character named, “Tyler Stanton”. The difficulty was in keeping people from hating him.
This was a guy who had been harboring a painful grudge for 10 years and was full of rage. Over those 10 years, he’d been in a constant downward spiral into drugs, alcohol, and abusive behavior to others. He’s not, in any way, a nice guy.
As events unfold in the story, he gets his opportunity for revenge and is hell bent to take it. So, I had to find a way within the character to get the audience to empathize with him. I had to get them to say, “You know? He’s a mean, nasty SOB, but I get why and I feel sorry for him.” That’s a very fine line for an actor to walk, but I must’ve gotten it right, because people have responded the way I hoped they would.
As for prep, I do a lot of back story work. I focus less on “how” to play a character and more on who they are. Why do they do what they do? What is their relationship to the other characters and environment? I believe that’s where you find the truth of the person you’re playing, and then I just give myself over to the role 100%.
As I tell my students, “You should never wear a character like a suit. The character should wear YOU like a suit. Allow their thoughts & emotions to fill you up, commit to them, and then just allow the character to live in the moment. Let yourself go.”
When I forget I’m even on a set, that’s when I know I’ve got it right. To me, that’s extreme.
UKHS – Thanks again for your time, Bo. Good luck with all your current projects including ‘Hillbilly Horror Show’ and please come back and chat to us later in the year about your other work. Thanks!!