An Interview with Bill Kelly
Bill Kelly is an actor known for his work on Bloodline, The Banker and Hillbilly Elegy. I spoke with Bill about landing his first role, working on True Detective, and his role in the upcoming Where the Crawdads Sing.
Did you always want to pursue a career in acting?
Not professionally until about 10 years ago. It started as a hobby back in 2004. I had volunteered as an actor and worked in various student films at FSU. I also worked with a local independent filmmaker. After about 30 short films, I decided I would try to find an agent.
How did you land your first role?
I signed on with Brevard Talent Group out of Orlando and started getting auditions pretty quickly. I had auditioned for Burn Notice, on USA Network a few times before I finally got an in-person call-back scheduled for the studios in South Florida. I booked the role and shot it the next week.
Is there anyone in the industry who has particularly influenced you as an actor?
I’ve always enjoyed the work of Johnny Depp and Sean Penn on a national level. But I was more influenced by some of the Southeast actors who I could relate to. Brett Rice and Tom Nowicki are two Florida actors whom I’ve always admired. Both are great character actors.
You portrayed Detective Hobbs in True Detective. What was the experience like working on the show?
Surreal! It’s such an incredible franchise! And getting to work with Mahershala Ali, Stephen Dorff, and Scoot McNairy, they were all great to work with and fantastic in the series. We had a lot of fun shooting that in Arkansas.
Is there a role you are most proud of?
I like the role I played in The Resident series on FOX. It was a very comfortable shoot where I got to show a little emotion. Also, Mr. Mercedes with Brendan Gleeson. It was just he and I on a pier (with 50 crew people you couldn’t see!). Great chemistry.
You portray Sheriff Jackson in the upcoming Where the Crawdads Sing. Could you tell me more about this?
The film is based on the best-selling novel by Delia Owens, and it tells the story of Kya (played excellently by Daisy Edgar Jones), an abandoned little girl who raised herself to adulthood. The town of Barkley Cove has known her as simply the “Marsh Girl” for years further isolating her from being involved in the community. She meets two young men from town and forms relationships that help her open up to the world outside the marsh. However, when one of the young men is found dead, she becomes the main suspect. What actually happened to the young man as the cast unfolds becomes unclear, threatening to reveal the many secrets the marsh holds. My character is the town sheriff who believes he knows what happened but has yet to prove it. He has his intuitions and years on the job guiding him through uncovering the truth.
What are you currently watching/reading?
I am currently watching a BBC series from the early 2000’s called Foyle’s War and have more than a few TV shows recorded for watching later. I’m currently reading The Club by Ellery Lloyd.
Could you tell me more about any upcoming projects?
I’ve just shot a pilot, but I can’t say anything about it yet. I’m also up for another role but can’t say anything about that one either.