Community Conversations: Local Actor Using Platform to Inspire Others

Mansfield actor ,13, puts hometown on the map as he continues to scoop up big roles

NBCUniversal, Inc.

Take a drive 30 miles southwest of Dallas and you'll end up in Mansfield. That's where 13-year-old Keith L. Williams calls home when he's not on the big screen.

The young actor was born in Fort Worth but lives in Mansfield with his family and at one point attended Mary Jo Sheppard Elementary. Williams has been homeschooled for several years due to his booming career.

He entered the entertainment industry when he was a toddler. While on a trip to Los Angeles for his older brother's audition for a role in Hollywood, Williams tried out too and landed a commercial.

10 years later, his journey continues. Williams has acted in several major TV shows, and movies, including 'Good Boys' which was produced by Seth Rogen and Andy Goldberg.

Actor Keith L. Williams has been in several movies and TV shows — last year he starred in the movie ‘Good Boys’ and this year he’s in a new show on Nickelodeon. NBC 5’s Sophia Beausoleil talked to the North Texas actor about his hopes to use his platform as a young black actor to inspire others.

"A lot of people in Mansfield don’t believe It’s me. They’ll see me and say, ‘Are you the kid from Good Boys?’ and I'll say ,'Yeah,' and they’ll say, ‘No you’re not,’ and they’ll just walk off, because they don't believe that I would actually be here, so they're just like, 'No he's lying," laughed Williams. "

The last several months have been busy for Williams as he filmed a new show called The Astronauts on Nickelodeon.

"When I found out that I booked The Astronauts, and that was on Nickelodeon, like my heart was pounding out of my chest," said Williams who grew up watching that channel.

"The Astronauts is about a group of kids that mistakenly get lost in space and have to learn how to navigate on a spaceship without their parents and being alone on their own, have to learn how to work as a team," explained Williams.

He said shooting of the series started in February but stopped in March because of the pandemic. They started back up in July and wrapped up the season in Sept.

"I felt like me and my cast, we all felt really safe with all the extra work that the production and the crew were putting into it, with all the masks and the designated zones we could be in," said Williams about working during a pandemic.

He tries to balance being a kid while working as a professional actor, but 2020 has forced him and many young people to have some very adult conversations.

After the death of George Floyd, many families sat down to talk about the realities of racial injustices.

"It's just like a really sad situation and when it first happened, I really just thought about that could have been me, or one of my family members, male or female. It's just like really saddening, and I feel like my role in this is, I really want to be that super-enthusiastic, young black male that other African Americans can look up to, because I feel like we really need that right now," said Williams.

Even though Williams has achieved a lot more than the average 13-year-old, he's not finished.

He wants to become a producer. He's currently working on a project as the executive producer of a book called "Sophie Washington." A series by Tonya Duncan Ellis, who is an author from Houston.

"When I was younger I used to always read the book. I got the idea to show it to my management and they were like, 'Keith you should do this,' and I'm like 'Yeah you're right!' So actually I looked into it, and it's actually happening like as we speak. Like all the time I'm getting emails saying, 'Keith... Sophie Washington is in the works,' and I'm like this is crazy I'm actually an executive producer."

Williams also wants to one day open a zoo for exotic animals.

"I'm literally an animal fanatic," said Williams. His favorite animal is an aye-aye, which is in the lemur family. He said he fell in love with exotic animals after a show he watched growing up called Wild Kratts.

Ultimately, the teen hopes his journey so far motivates others to go after their dreams too.

"Just be yourself, stay true to yourself and stay positive, and follow your dreams," said Williams.

Contact Us