‘Friends From College’ – Key embraces ‘conflicted’ character

Key on acting and reacting

Keegan-Michael Key of ‘Friends From College’ on Netflix

Q: Are Ethan and Lisa definitely history?

A: Ethan and Lisa continue to be in each other’s orbit. I guess I can say that. I think also it’s not too much of a spoiler to admit that Lisa has also embarked on a new relationship with a new guy.

Q: What is the funnest part of playing this character?

A: The funnest part of playing him is when we discover something about him in the moment while we’re shooting … and Ethan will evolve, like in the moment. And a lot of that is because of the notes that the directors … especially working with Nick (Stoller, series co-creator) because when he throws something out, you go, “Oh God, I didn’t even think of that. I didn’t even think of making that choice and making that approach.” So that’s always fun.

The other fun thing about playing Ethan is this sense of, I have to not put too much sauce on it. Because he’s about the (most) non-mustache-twirling villain you’ve ever met. Because he’s conflicted, he’s so conflicted. And so the funnest part is just playing moment to moment to moment, just living in the reality of this particular moment.

I always feel that the most fun an actor can have is when they get to react. To me, reacting is the most fun part of acting, not being the one that generates a moment. Generating a moment is almost part of the writer’s medium, and sometimes if you’re an actor you’re just a delivery system to start the ball rolling. The fun part is when you get to react to the rolling ball. There was an old Buster Keaton movie where he’s running up a hill and there are boulders coming at him down the hill – that’s the fun part. How do you react to the boulders?

George Dickie

George Dickie

George Dickie has been a features writer for Gracenote/Tribune Media Services since 1989, when “Hee-Haw” was still on the air and George “Goober” Lindsay was his first interview. His early interviews ranged from Jim Henson and Dick Van Dyke to Phil Collins and the Dixie Chicks.

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