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From NFL to LA: 'Power Book IV: Force' Star Isaac Keys Discusses His Hollywood Journey

In a chat with QG, former NFL linebacker Isaac Keys, who played for the Minnesota Vikings, Arizona Cardinals, and Green Bay Packers, shares his inspiring story.

When Keys' career in professional football ended unexpectedly, he was left at a crossroads in life. On his journey to reinvent himself, he worked in various fields ranging from marketing to personal training, and during the transition, he discovered acting. Taking a leap of faith, Keys moved to LA and couch surfed while he took acting classes. After being in front of a camera and living in a character's skin, Keys knew he was on the right path.

In his latest role, Keys portrays Diamond from the popular TV series Power Book IV: Force. When reflecting on the character, he said, "Being incarcerated for 15 years now, he's coming out, and he's trying to figure things out. He had a life that he lived before he went in, but he's evolved. He educated himself, even more, he has a different passion, he has a different way of trying to do things in life. He's not trying to kill anymore. He's not trying to go back to jail. But the thing about it is Diamond is conflicted because he's still in the lifestyle that may require him to do some of those things he used to do in the past."

Keys believes fans will relate to Diamond's story arc. As the character tries to build a future, he faces challenges, makes difficult decisions, and is haunted by past mistakes.

In addition to starring in Power Book IV: Force, Keys has also appeared in Criminal Minds as Patrick Butler and Ed in Get Shorty. When considering the most memorable characters he has portrayed throughout his career, he fondly remembers these TV series and how each character helped him gain recognition in the industry.

"I'm going to take it back to a character I played on Criminal Minds," he reflects. "Just because it's such a great TV show. They've been around for years. And it has so many prominent characters, artists, and actors that come through on that show. People till this day are still like, weren’t you on Criminal Minds? It just feels good to be a part of something like that with such history. I believe Get Shorty helped prepare me. But also gave me a light that was shining upon me that other people in this industry have seen. I think it helped me get the role of Diamond."

For Keys, a dream project would be assembling a cast of actors he's worked with throughout the years and offering roles that would further their careers.

"I am excited about breaking other actors into roles because there's a lot of amazing actors out there, and I'm fortunate to know some of them," he explained. "They've just not been on the main series that's broken into a career. And if I can give them an opportunity and a platform to do so. I would love to do that, whether I starred in it, directed it, produced in it, whatever it may be. I think it's important that we start to give a platform for some of the talent out here that is top tier."

When choosing favorite co-stars, Keys has a list that mainly mentions his castmates from Power Book IV: Force. Among those named, he praises Joseph Sikora in particular.

"But if we were to speak of the present, it is really an honor to share scenes with Joseph Sikora," he said. "I watched him, and I've been a fan of the Power series since day one. It's been a dream of mine to be in scenes with him and be able to share the space of lines, and sometimes battle back and forth with our characters. It's been phenomenal to do the work with him. He's been nothing but a leader. He's been nothing but someone I can lean on to ask for advice."

Looking to the future, Keys is excited for whatever new projects come his way.

"I think what you expect from the future is just me working on being the best person that I possibly can be and bringing value and entertainment to any show that I'm a part of when it comes to that," he said. "And also, giving back to the community and giving back to the younger generation, just trying to be an inspiration to others, and lead by example."

At the end of the day, he remembers the importance of family and credits his parents Beverly and Isaac Keys, and sister Charlena for supporting him.

Photo Credit: Michael Letterlough Jr.

1 Comment

sabrina collins
sabrina collins
Nov 29, 2023

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