Some actors uniquely offer their whole heart in the roles they portray. For Wesam Keesh, you always sense that he is putting it all on the screen. He wants viewers to feel every emotion that his characters experience. It is a bold and trusting stance to take. Yet it pays off. Viewers invest in Wesam’s characters and root for them. In an exclusive interview, Wesam talks about bringing his latest character in FOR THE PEOPLE to life and some of the lessons he has learned being a working actor in Hollywood.
What was the initial appeal for you about portraying Jay Simmons and working on ABC’s FOR THE PEOPLE?
WESAM: Jay has a very unique sense of humor. It stood out to me immediately and parallels very closely to my own.
How would you describe who Jay is?
WESAM: Jay is a little bit more laid back then the rest of his colleagues. He’s very confident at his job and sometimes a little too confident. He’s very loyal to his family, friends, and the people he defends. He believes that everyone deserves a voice in the courtroom. That they deserve someone to properly defend them, otherwise we’re no better than a dictatorship.
What do you admire most about him?
WESAM: His honesty. It’s part of his foundation. Without truth and honesty , everything else built on top of that will crumble.
What was it like working alongside such a cool array of costars in FOR THE PEOPLE?
WESAM: A dream come true! They are not only masters at their craft but genuinely good people. A rare find in this world.
Who do you get to share the most scenes with so far?
WESAM: My fellow public defenders, Britt Robertson and Jasmine Brown.
What was your favorite part about working on FOR THE PEOPLE?
WESAM: The stories we tell. Paul Davies, the creator, has written an extremely compelling show that not only entertains the viewers with his unique sense of humor but also illuminates the audience to different perspectives they haven’t seen on our justice system, criminals, and the people we care about in life.
What surprised you about working on this project?
WESAM: How handsome they made me look. [Haha] The well oiled machine that is Shondaland productions. I have never worked on a production before that ran so smoothly with the caliber of professionals that the Shondaland family has. Everyone; actors, directors, producers, writers, crew, editors, PAs, the list goes on… everyone was incredible.
Were there any challenges that you encountered during filming that you happily conquered?
WESAM: My closing argument in Episode 2. I ran that bad boy over 100 times. I wanted to make sure I knew it so well, that I could recite backwards. I wanted it to be ingrained in my mind so deeply that when it came time to shoot, I’m not thinking about the words. I’m only focused on living truthfully in the moment. I hope the fans enjoy that speech and are moved by it in a positive way.
How would you describe the series to viewers?
WESAM: The most unique and engaging law show you will ever see. Six brand new lawyers battle it out in the most prestigious and high stakes court in the country. Their personal lives intersect, their core beliefs are challenged, and they all find out what it takes to be lawyers at “The Mother Court”.
What do you think viewers will get a kick out of when they watch FOR THE PEOPLE?
WESAM: How good I look in a suit. I mean seriously, wow. [Haha] I think viewers will love Jay’s unique sense of humor.
As an actor, what has been the one thing you haven taken away from the experience of working on FOR THE PEOPLE?
WESAM: Quality writing with quality professionals is sure to make a hit show.
You have also appeared in the MTV series AWKWARD. What did you enjoy about that experience?
WESAM: Love playing unique characters. “Kyle” was an emo goth kid who was the black sheep of the show. Loved playing someone so weird and different from the rest of the cast.
What has surprised you about your career so far?
WESAM: How much I’ve grown as an actor and a person. I feel the challenges I have faced the past 8 1/2 years out in LA have changed me for the better.
What are the perks of where you are in your career right now?
WESAM: I’m very thankful for a lot of things that are available to me right now. Career wise, I’m thankful that I can take the first steps into helping my parents retire.
Has there been any great advice you have gotten about working as an actor?
WESAM: From my dad: “Always remember to Listen, Think, and then Talk.”
What advice would you offer to other upcoming and aspiring actors?
WESAM: “Always remember to Listen, Think, and then Talk.”
Do you have any other upcoming projects that you can share that fans should keep an eye out for?
WESAM: My podcast: Wesam’s World. I have great talks with great people and the first 10 episodes will feature cast mates from FOR THE PEOPLE and more. You can subscribe for free on iTunes podcasts and listen on Idobi Radio. New episodes every week.
To see Wesam’s nuanced portrayal and learn more about his character as he navigates the justice system, be sure to tune in for new episodes of FOR THE PEOPLE on Tuesday nights at 10:00 p.m. on ABC and to follow the show on Twitter for additional behind the scenes information @ForThePeopleABC. Then to find out what else Wesam has on the horizon, you can follow him on Twitter @WesamKeesh and listen to his podcast on iTunes.
FOR THE PEOPLE trailer:
Wesam Keesh video interview about FOR THE PEOPLE: