From Mister Rodgers' Neighborhood to Armageddon and Barbershop, Keith David has had a role in every genre and medium imaginable. In the mid-90s, he hit his stride in voice acting after becoming a household name for his roles in Gargoyles and Todd McFarlane's Spawn. Now, the actor is starring as the lead in Oprah Winfrey's Greenleaf, a show currently in its fourth season on OWN.
This week, we had the fortunate chance to catch up with David about projects past and present, including his role in the upcoming 21 Bridges, a movie produced by Avengers: Endgame filmmakers Joe and Anthony Russo. Keep scrolling to see what he said about that, his iconic voice roles, and more!
All Things Gargoyles
ComicBook.com: You know, the 25th anniversary of Gargoyles is coming up, so let's start there. It's what, '93 or '94 and this dark and Gothic animated show pops on to the scene. At what point did you step back and realize you and the team might be on to something completely new with this Gargoyles show?
Keith David: Well, I thought it was new and innovative from the onset and it was a distinction for me between cartoon and animated series. So, I mean, although it was animated, it was not a cartoon in the traditional sense that we just look at the funnies for mindless entertainment.
Because there's a significant amount of world-building in just the first few episodes alone, what was the casting process like to something like this? Did you get to read a certain amount of scripts?
Because it was based in Scotland, at the audition they wanted a Sean Connery archetype. So I came in trying to do my best Sean Connery, but the language was right up my alley. It was very poetic, sort of Shakespearean in nature. As you see, many of the themes were taken directly from sort of Shakespearean text and context. I came in doing my best Sean Connery and they said "Forget the accent, just do it as you would." Then, I was very much at home and it was a really wonderful audition because I believe I was considered right away.
So it was, it was a really beautiful process.
After seventy-some episodes on the show, do you recall a favorite line? Maybe not even a line, but a standout moment during your time as Goliath?
Oh, absolutely. There were several, but one of my very favorite moments is when Goliath is on top of the building and he says "I've lost everything. Even my revenge!" That was one of my very favorite moments.
Nothing short of iconic. You know, it's a Disney show. Disney is doing this new streaming service, Disney+. Is there any chance you've been involved in any chats about a potential reboot or relaunch?
No. You know, those of us who were involved from the beginning... I've always wondered why they stopped it in the first place.
And why are we haven't come back to a reboot. I mean, I would love nothing more than to revisit Goliath. You know, he was absolutely one of my very, very, very, very favorite characters. I've always maintained that when I grow up, I want to be like Goliath.
Absolutely. You did mention the initial cancellation of the show. How much of an initial shock did that come to you? I mean, even at the time it was still an acclaimed show.
Of course it was a shock. Anytime something good like that, and you kind of wonder why because you see a lot of schlock on TV and sort of mindless stuff and stuff that really is not as good that lasts for years. I certainly, and I'm not alone, wondered why we didn't or couldn't have gone on for many years. I mean, as far as I'm concerned, we could have been like the Simpsons and gone on and continued on.prevnext
Returning to Spawn
So, Gargoyles comes and passes. Suddenly, it's a few years later and it's all about Todd McFarlane's Spawn, another role people my age are incredibly nostalgic about. Within the past few weeks, you've been in the news again with the character. What went through your mind when you got the call to come back as Spawn in Mortal Kombat 11?
I was thrilled. Like Goliath, Spawn was one of my favorite characters. I often have described them as sort of flip sides of the same coin. You know, Spawn to me it was like Darth Vader making his way back to the forest in spite of himself. So I just love the journey that Spawn is on. Even though he is the Hellspawn, he winds up doing more good than evil. You know, he's not evil at all. I mean, really. He winds up working for the ultimate good of most of us.
He only seems to strike out at the enemies of the people. He doesn't attack good people or people who do good things. He only goes after people who do bad things.
Now, Todd's trying to get this live-action film with Jamie Foxx Jeremy Renner off the ground. Did he ever approach you, maybe as a consultant as to the characterization?
No. No, no one has asked me that yet. They might, but probably not. It's a new creation so I'm sure they want to start anew, but we'll see what happens.prevnext
Just a week ago, Greenleaf Season Four hit the airwaves. Without giving too much away since we obviously have the full season ahead of us, what can you tell us about the storyline of the Bishop and his family this season?
Well, as you know, the series started out with family on a journey to get back to some of the stuff that they... the Bishop's journey I think was trying to get back to his original intent, why he built the church in the first place, knowing that there were some things that he has done and is responsible for that may not have started out with the best results.
I mean, maybe his intentions were always in the right place, but the methodology wasn't always. And knowing the consequences of some of those actions, he started out ready to take responsibility for that. Over the seasons, we see how those consequences have begun to unfold and then this season you'll see how they unfold even further.
Then, in a few more weeks is 21 Bridges. What can you tell us about your role in that and starring alongside the Black Panther himself Chadwick Boseman?
I think Chadwick Boseman is a really wonderful young actor. He's extremely talented and it's a great story. It's one of those, when I read it, it was one of those stories that, it could almost be an episode of 48 Hours or one of those other procedurals where you see real stories unfold, and take tragic turns. That's the one thing that struck me the most is that this is not just fantasy, this could really have happened or could happen.prevnext
Whatever Happened to New Warriors?
Then finally, at one point you had been attached to star in Marvel's New Warriors, which is something that kind of almost fell off the face of the planet by now, at least as far as we're concerned publicly. Is that something you are still contractually obligated to wait around for or do you think that's kind of something of the past by now?
In this business, one never knows. I would hope that at some point it would come back. Everybody seemed to like it and loved the idea. Who knows why it hasn't come to fruition yet. That's something that I cannot answer. That's not something I have any control or say in, but I would gladly be a part of it whenever, if ever, it comes back.
Greenleaf airs Tuesday nights on OWN starting at 10 p.m. Eastern while 21 Bridges hits theaters November 22nd.
Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images for OWN: Oprah Winfrey Networkprev