In new film, Bob Keiber gets a break from 'crazy old coot' roles

Milford. "No Justice for the Wicked," shot in Monticello, N.Y., is another "very dark film," Keiber says. But at least he gets to play a good guy, and he didn't have to venture from his beloved Milford home.

13 Jan 2020 | 03:35

Bob Keiber, television and film actor, likes to stay local. The Milford resident just shot his new film, "No Justice for the Wicked," in nearby Monticello, N.Y.

"It's sad what has happened to that town," he said. "It needs a good revitalization project, but it was perfect for the script and characters."

Two years ago he shot "Let's Kill Grandpa This Christmas" over in Mount Pocono, Pa.

"I played the crazy old coot, rich grandpa," he said. "I love what the LA Times critic said, 'Keiber snaps and growls at everyone... No piece of scenery goes unchewed.' I laughed out loud when I read it."

That very dark comedy became an Amazon hit, with 20,000 paid views and 80 percent four-star ratings.

"People like crazy films I guess, but imagine if they were all theater tickets," Keiber joked.

For his role in the film, he was nominated for best supporting actor at last year's Golden Door International Film Festival but lost out to "Ray Donovan" star Dash Mihok (Bungy).

"I went up to to Dash before the ceremony and asked him to drop out of the competition because he didn't need it," Keiber said. "He had a steady gig, and I didn't. He gave me a nervous laugh, but I'm not sure he knew I was kidding."

As executive director of Milford's Black Bear Film Festival for two years (2017-18), Keiber brought many of his actor and producer friends up to Milford.

"They loved the place, and many have returned," he said.

He's been asked why he didn't show "Grandpa" during the festival? Keiber laughed. "The old man is very weird, and I have to live in this town."

A Milford homebody

Keiber says one reason he likes to shoot close to home is that he likes to encourage local filmmaking when he can. And maybe he's gotten a little lazy. He lived and work in New York City for more than 35 years and retired to Milford five years ago. He said he very rarely goes into the city anymore.

"I just have no desire," he said. "I like to stay home, write, paint, and stare at the lake."

Recently, producer Julie Pacino (yes, Al's daughter) was putting together a TV pilot, and she needed a crazy old grandfather. After she saw "Let's Kill Grandpa," her assistant called Keiber to come in for an audition.

"I asked why I had to come all the way into New York City to read?" Keiber said. "I pointed out that she already saw me in a two-hour film as a crazy old coot. If that's the guy she wants, I'm that guy. Give me the shoot dates, and I'm there ready to go."

After several other conversations that went nowhere, the project never got off the ground anyway.

He says "No Justice for The Wicked" is another very dark film.

"Dark films are not really studio material, but they can do very well as independent projects," he said, giving "Grandpa" as an example. "Now, there is talk about 'Grandpa ll' and I'll do it, as long as they shoot locally -- or Hawaii."

At least in "No Justice," Keiber gets to play a good AA counselor for a change, rather than some burned-out hippie or insane old man.

"It's been a long ride from my 'dashing' soap opera days," when he played a role in "All My Children," he says. "But when my acting students ask me how the business works, I tell them that, after over three decades, I have no idea. You just have to keep doing it. It did get three boys through college. Fortunately or unfortunately, they all went into show business as well. As for my career, I like to say: 'It started off slow, and then tapered off.'"

"When my acting students ask me how the business works, I tell them that, after over three decades, I have no idea. You just have to keep doing it." --Bob Keiber