VIDEO EXCLUSIVE: Keidrich Sellati On ‘Rockaway,’ Real-Life Basis For New Film
Keidrich Sellati undoubtedly is a star in the making.
Despite being only 17 years old, the actor — best known for playing Henry Jennings for six seasons on the FX spy drama series The Americans (2013-2018), which just won a Golden Globe for its final season — displayed a striking confidence in a new discussion with uInterview about his new movie Rockaway, which is currently theaters in New York and available for streaming nationwide.
The drama film is based on a true story and is about two brothers who plot revenge against their abusive father in the 1990s. Filmmaker John J. Budion wrote and directed the movie, which also stars Maxwell Apple and James DiGiacomo.
“It’s really about two kids who meet a group of friends and over the summer of 1994 they do all the things that kids do: they go out and play sports, get dirty, talk to girls,” Sellati explained. “At the same time, though, there is an underlying problem of their abusive father and they have a plan to kill him.”
Sellati revealed he does not have a younger brother like his character in the film, so he was not able to draw inspiration for his performance in that sense. However, he added, he “did kind of pull the protective side” of his character to play the part.
“I used my idea of protection of my friends and [of] my younger peers and my mom to really get that,” he said.
Sellati added he considers his character a “role model” for his younger brother, even if he isn’t necessarily the best example to emulate.
The actor also said this project was different from anything else he has done thus far in his career because many of the cast members were, like him, young kids or teenagers.
“It felt like I was just hanging out with my friends, to be honest,” he said. “And we all became we really great friends and still talk, so it was interesting.”
Sellati then laughed as he briefly admitted that he and several of the other people working on Rockaway got kicked out of a hotel they were staying at one night because they were being disruptive.
“We were good, I promise,” said Sellati, raising his hand as if in self-defense.
As fun as the project was, Sellati also explained that — unsurprisingly — the film was also a difficult one to work on because of the serious subject matter of physical abuse from a parent to his children.
Sellati revealed that all of the characters in Rockaway retain the names of the real people they were based on.
“None of the personalities were changed, nothing was changed,” said Sellati. “Those are actually the people that [Budion] grew up with.”
The actor added that Anthony, the man his character is based on, is still alive and worked for the Air Force and also as a policeman and firefighter in New York City for several years.
“He did actually get hurt in a fire,” Sellati said of Anthony. “He got forcefully retired from FDNY because his lungs got destroyed, unfortunately.”
Rockaway is available on demand and in theaters in New York City now.