Ever since Sin City: A Dame To Kill For went into production, director Robert Rodriguez has continued to expand his mighty impressive ensemble cast on a weekly basis. Last week Eva Green signed on to play Ava Lord, the titular dame at the center of the action, and today we have word that the movie’s main villain has been cast. Stacy Keach, the veteran character actor with a career that spans more than five decades in film, theater, and television, has joined A Dame to Kill For as the crime boss Wallenquist, described by Sin City creator Frank Miller as “the one man who can’t be redeemed in Sin City. He is pure evil.”
Now this movie has become a must-see as far as this writer is concerned. Keach has long been one of my favorite actors and he has an acting resume that even the biggest male movie star in Hollywood wishes they had. He got his start in the late 1950s on the syndicated comedy series How to Marry a Millionaire, but it took nearly ten years for him to make the leap to feature film acting. Keach was one of the most in-demand actors of the 1970s with roles in movies like Brewster McCloud, The New Centurions, John Huston’s brilliant boxing drama Fat City, the cult classic action-comedy The Dion Brothers, and the Jim Thompson adaptation The Killer Inside Me. Fans of the Cheech and Chong movies will recognize him as the doping duo’s police nemesis Sgt. Stedanko in Up in Smoke and Nice Dreams.
Keach also did some terrific work on television, including the miniseries Jesus of Nazareth and The Blue and the Gray. He played Mickey Spillane’s classic private detective hero Mike Hammer on a short-lived CBS series and a series of television films. In the late 90s, Keach returned to play Hammer on another short-lived TV series, this time for syndication. He has guest-starred on shows like The Simpsons, ER, Two and a Half Men, and 30 Rock. For two seasons he played sympathetic prison warden Henry Pope on the popular Fox series Prison Break, but in my opinion the best work Keach ever did for television was playing Ken Titus, the sitcom dad to end them all, on Titus – a hilarious comedy based on the life of stand-up comic Christopher Titus that maintained a loyal viewership during its three season run but was not loved by top executives at the network who in turn sabotaged the order of the episodes aired and ultimately cancelled the series.
At the age of 71, Keach’s career is still going strong. In 2008, he earned critical acclaim for his portrayal of former president Richard Nixon in the stage version of Frost/Nixon and continues to pursue quality acting roles in movies like American History X, Oliver Stone’s George Bush biopic W., and last summer’s The Bourne Legacy. He will be appearing in Nebraska, the next film from Alexander Payne, later this year. Stacy Keach is one of the best actors there ever is and it excites me to see him given a meaty villain role in a major studio movie. His presence is perfect for the world of Sin City; I’m glad that Rodriguez realizes that as well.
Sin City: A Dame to Kill also stars Mickey Rourke, Jessica Alba, Michael Madsen, Rosario Dawson, Jamie King, Josh Brolin, Christopher Meloni, Jamie Chung, Ray Liotta, Jeremy Piven, Dennis Haysbert, and Juno Temple. The movie opens on October 4, 2013.
Here’s a small sampling of Keach’s finest moments as an actor:
And if you need additional convincing that Keach is right for a Sin City movie, then just watch this scene from The Ninth Configuration where he pretty much destroys a gang of violent bikers.