I met Benjamin Andrew Keller over a decade ago. He had just returned from a summer of sailing the Great Lake Erie on a circa 1812 tall ship as a crew man. Since then I've watched him wear many hats. Barista, missionary, outdoorsman, motorcyclist, actor, DJ, craft brew enthusiast, music officiando, radio host, VJ, retail manager, salesman, ascot collector and many more I'm certainly forgetting.
I can confidently say that Ben is one of the most interesting humans I've ever met. Which I think is a big reason he's such a good actor. He is a well-curated, living museum of fascinating experiences and interests that he consciously and unconsciously pulls from. It's also one of the reasons he's so much fun to have around.
Here he is cruising Southern California this spring on his Triumph. Photo by Darrin Ballman.
While shooting "A Strange Brand of Happy," I was so over-the-moon excited about Ben's performance that I kept having to ask Isaac, the UPM and 1st Assistant Director (aka captain of the ship) if my judgement was clouded by my friendship with him. The on-screen relationship between Ben and Joe's character, David is so much fun to watch. Which is remarkable because off-screen Ben and Joe are mortal enemies. Kidding. They're ballroom dance partners. Kidding. They're just plain old boring friends.
There are countless uncertainties about taking this film to theaters in September. But one thing I know for sure is that you are going to LOVE Ben. I'm so excited for folks in Dallas, Texas and Omaha, Nebraska to discover him. And I my big hope is that somehow this film gets out there enough that Hollywood will come knocking on Ben's door with scripts and new opportunities to do his thing on camera.
When that happens, I personally will be able to chalk this film up as a success. And maybe some day he'll be so rich and famous as an actor that he'll be able to captain his very own circa 1812 tall ship. I'll hope for a postcard or two.
Watch the outtakes from David and Ben's improvisational slap fest.