That Guy- Keith David

Do you know this man’s face? Do you?? Of course you do. Now, would you have known his name is you hadn’t seen it in the title? Or have you even put the two together yet? Well, then do it now, I’ll wait. Keith David is a man of many faces, but mostly his own.

He’s been the voice of the Arbiter from the Halo series, the Spawn cartoon (couldn’t have been a better fit) and even the voice for the Navy commercials a few years back. That commercial also has Godsmack in it but try and ignore that.

But Keith David is more than just a cool voice. He’s also a cool actor. I consider an actor to be cool if they’re willing to go from being John Carpenter’s go-to guy in movies like The Thing (1982) and They Live (1988), to doing a single line for a character in a cartoon never to be seen again, yet it’s not a cameo. Some would just call that being a small-time actor, and maybe that’s true, but you need those guys all the same.

And Keith David is one of those guys who’s been doing that so well for so long, he’s almost famous for it. Almost.

There have been times when I was watching something for no good reason, or maybe walked into an auditorium of a movie I knew I wouldn’t care for, and whaddaya know? Keith David’s there. At first, I think, “No, Keith David- you’re better than this!” Then I have to remind myself that movies like Stomp the Yard 2: Homecoming (2010) and Gamer (2009) are mostly what make up his career.

Unsatisfied? In disbelief? Give your friends "The Keith" and let'em know how you feel.

Unsatisfied? In disbelief? Give your friends “The Keith” and let’em know how you feel.

By the way, in Gamer, he plays the amazingly well thought out character of “Agent Keith.” Not sure whether or not that was done because of him, but hey, it works.

He also seems proud of his own stuff, citing that doing the voice of Goliath of the Gargoyles show is the “most fun [he’s] ever had in his life.” Now even after The Wrestler (2008) and Iron Man 2 (2010), you’re unlikely to hear Mickey Rourke giving his films any credit. Maybe Wrestler.

Though maybe he shouldn't give too much credit to Iron Man 2.

Though maybe he shouldn’t give too much credit to Iron Man 2.

After his scene in 2000’s Requiem for a Dream, I didn’t think I’d ever look at him, or Jennifer Connelly, the same way ever again. Big Tim…ugh. But he has a way of showing up in so many things that I tend to forget the less desirable parts. What’s funny is that even when he’s being nice in his films though, he has a way of coming of as menacing. But in a cool way.

Disney’s last hand-drawn animated movie attempt wasn’t their greatest film, but the character of Dr. Facilier, an evil witch doctor, combined with David’s voice, made for a pretty cool villain. He can sing, too.  Heck, man, he’s the reason I watched that movie.

dr-facilier

But honestly, one thing I like most about Keith (next to the voice), is the fact that while he can go in and out of high acclaimed and low-budget, he always gives off a similar vibe that’s easily interchangeable.

On one hand, he’s relaxed and laid-back. Yet he’ll give that same tone to a more sinister character and pow, you’ve got a malevolent train conductor on your hands, a la Larger than Life (1996). Don’t remember that one? Bill Murray? The elephant? Fine then.

keith

The internet doesn’t remember it either, apparently. So this picture is from “Men at Work.”

Another great aspect of David is how hard he works. Now you could try and take away from him by saying that once again, he’s a smaller actor and has to make more movies to make more money. Will Smith only makes like, maybe one movie a year and he makes more money on a single movie than Keith David will make in his life.

All of that might even be true, but while you can say you’d rather be the guy living in an ivory tower with limitless wealth, don’t tell me you don’t respect a working man more. David has fourteen movies coming out this year. Fourteen. Does this guy even sleep?

"You've seen Transporter 2, haven't you? That was me, sleeping."

“You’ve seen Transporter 2, haven’t you? That was me, sleeping.”

I have nothing to do with the Expendables movies but if I did, and there were to be a flashback of when young Sylvester Stallone and Mickey Rourke (second reference!) were taking orders from some high-ranking general via telephone, Keith David would be my man.

His face would be in the shadows of course, only a cigar occasionally lighting up but there he would be. That’s why Keith David will always be known to me…as The Voice.

And by the way-

THIS is actor David Keith, NOT Keith David. Know your Keiths and we’ll get along fine.

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