Profile: Gray Maturin

During filming of Columbia Pictures’ “The Razor’s Edge, actor James Keach was on the set every day -even on his
days off. The delights of such beautiful cities as Paris and London could not keep him away from the set.

James Keach as Gray Maturin

The actor has good reason for this behavior. “Each time I work as an actor, I find myself on the set all the time. I watch and listen and ask myself how I would have directed that scene or lit that set. I love acting, but one of the reasons I’ve been working on developing projects is that I want to tell stories, to be involved in all aspects of movie making–and that means directing.”

In “The Razor’s Edge,” Keach plays Gray Maturin, one of Larry Darrell’s oldest and closest friends who suffers greatly in the aftermath of the Great Depression. “I think Maugham meant to describe each character’s search for their own personal god, and Gray Maturin worshiped image and money,” explains Keach. “Gray had many good qualities- he was a loyal friend and a devoted husband and father. His trouble was that he lived in the shadow of a domineering father and was expected to live up to
certain images. When he lost his father and when the Depression pulled the financial rug out from underneath him, he lost all his values and he kept all that pain
inside. It was a difficult time for most Americans, but it hit Gray harder than most.”

Born in Flushing, New York, and raised in Corpus Christi, Texas, and in Los Angeles, Keach began acting at Northwestern University before moving on to the Yale Drama School, where he developed his interest in directing. Although, like his elder brother Stacy, he’s made his name as an actor, James has always intended to pursue a career as a director.

“I really like telling the overall story with images other than myself,” he says. “Directing offers the opportunity to become involved in acting, producing and
writing all at once. I think it’s the ultimate job in filmmaking and probably the most exciting.”

For Keach, “The Razor’s Edge” was one of the most satisfying experiences of his career. “I loved working with John, Bill and Peter (Hannan, the Cinematographer). We were filming a literary classic and I had the opportunity to play a great character in Gray Maturin. The experience was magnificent.”

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