‘The Chi’ and ‘Power Book IV: Force’ Actor Brian Keys Plays Five Questions with SCREEN

If you love Made-In-Chicago TV series then you’ve definitely seen plenty of actor Brian Keys. The Chicagoan played Special Agent Edgar Vargas in the latest season of Power Book IV: Force and is now making a splash on the new season of The Chi as the entrepreneurial Cairo. Brian stopped by for a thoroughly entertaining round of Five Questions with SCREEN. Let’s get to it! (and shoutout to photographer Joe Mazza for the superb photo of Brian)

SCREEN: Ok Brian, what do you love most about Power Book IV: Force & The Chi?

BRIAN: What I love most about Force is the fact that it’s my favorite TV show universe. I started watching the OG Power from episode 101 years ago and that’s when I was hooked. The scene where Ghost leaves the party to go into the basement to the loading dock handles his street business, puts back on a tuxedo and resumes the party as if nothing happened and that was when I became a huge fan of Power.

What I love about The Chi is that it’s also a favorite show of mine and its an ensemble piece about the best city in the whole wide world and I just had to land a role! I remember seeing Lena Waithe in the show Master of None and the creativity and sophistication that she showed with her character and just the way she played on screen I was like I have to work with this artist for sure and fast forward and now she’s my boss and it’s great. I think that in this industry, it’s a rarity that you are graced with the opportunity to work on a show that just so happens to be your favorite piece of art to consume.

Check out the trailer for the Season Six of The Chi below and click here to watch the episodes now.

SCREEN: Any memorable moments from set you’d like to share?

Watching THEE Lynn Whitfield surgically do her thing with a scene is hands down my #1 memory for The Chi!

A memorable moment from FORCE has to be episode 207.  This is a memorable moment, because this was something that set the bar for me as an artist. If you know Joseph Sikora, you know that he is the kindest, most generous human being that you can meet and he is so approachable, down to earth and we’re like family. However, this scene that I had with Joseph is a scene where he comes into contact with special agent Edgar Vargas and we all know that is a tragedy waiting to happen. There was a transformation that happened because from the time we leave basecamp to the time I got to set I knew right away Joseph Sikora has left the building and I am now in the presence of Tommy Egan. I can’t really put my finger on it how to explain what that was, but it was just amazing to see an artist tap into a character that well that it makes the job so easy because from my perspective, I’m like yea that how we’re supposed to bring it and at the same time I was like “OK LETS GO!!! We’re about to play now!” and it was amazing and a career core memory for sure.

Click here to watch Force Episode 207. And here’s the trailer for all of Season 2…

SCREEN: And now the toughest question… What’s your favorite episode?

BRIAN: This is such a hard question to answer, but I have to say that my favorite episode would be The Chi episode 604, this is an episode where I play the character of Cairo and I am walking Tiff played by Hannah Hall and Rob (Iman Shumpert) through my organic weed house and showing them the process of growing organic weed. It’s my favorite because, when that episode aired everyone online or while out and about was reaching out to me as if I were an actual marijuana specialist, asking me questions about the grow house, asking if their techniques that they were using was correct and it was just crazy and let me know right away… Yeah, I am playing this character in the pocket where it’s supposed to be.

Click here to watch Season Six of The Chi

SCREEN: Ok Brian, we have a few light-hearted questions for ya…

If you could be a part of any band or musical group in music history, what would it be?

Green Day for sure!!!! As a musician I love the elements of power chords that punk rock brought to the forefront and their pockets are just so tight. I’d swap out bass riffs with Dirnt anyday!

All right Brian, here you go, turn the volume up to 11 for this one…

SCREEN: If you could play any superhero in a major motion picture, who would it be?

BRIAN: I would love to play Bishop in the MCU or Batwing in the DCU. The commonality that we share is that miuch of his path was paved by the teachings of his grandmother. My grandmother always encourgaed me and made sure I had a strong foundation to stand on a a human being. Batwing fought against the political corruption and human rights violations in the Democratic Repulic of Congo. He became my favorite Batman.


SCREEN: Worst job ever?

BRIAN: The worst job I ever had was working the grill at Wendy’s. It was my first real job and obviously I was horrible at it. I loved working the fries because I love fries but being on that grill when there’s a line of customers wanting Jr Bacon’s and Double Stacks is a level of stress I hope to never revisit hahaha. All that said I love me a $7 Bacon Double Stack BIGGIE BAG!

SCREEN: Your favorite restaurant in Chicago?

BRIAN: 1308 Chicago and Phlavz are my favorite Chicago restaurants. The Crispy Pork Chop Sammie is a must have at 1308 and Phlavz as the best Jerk Chicken Eggrolls!

SCREEN: Best advice you’ve ever been given?

BRIAN: My mom is the walking embodiment of advice. What I mean by that is watching her focus and work ethic to provide for my sister and I growing up showed me everything I needed to see. My mom never gave up and did anything to make sure her family was good. I don’t think any words are ever needed because that taught me that when it comes to what you want out of life and what you want for yourself is obtainable; I just have to make sure I’m working for it just as much if not more than my “wanting” for it. I am a strong man because I was guided by stronger women!

Thanks for playing, Brian! Click here to follow Brian on Instagram.

Be sure to check back here at SCREEN Magazine for next week’s round of Five Questions with SCREEN. You can also click right here to subscribe to our weekly email newsletter.

Photo Credit: Joe Mazza/ Brave Lux Inc

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