Keith Wallace can lay claim to something that places him in a fairly exclusive club. It’s a status he shares with others who’ve also had the experience of appearing in a hit Hollywood movie.
The millions who’ve seen box office record smashing “Avengers: Endgame” since its late April release have also viewed Wallace onscreen. He portrayed an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. (Strategic Homeland Intervention Enforcement and Logistics Division), Marvel’s fictional law-enforcement organization, in the film, which had generated roughly $2.2 billion in worldwide revenue by mid-June.
His was a non-speaking role. However, he rubbed elbows with stars such as Robert Downey, Jr. (Ironman), Chris Hemsworth (Thor), Tom Hiddleston (Loki) and others from the lengthy and star-laden cast while on-set in Atlanta where the movie was shot in 2017. Over the years, Wallace’s memories of the two-day shoot may fade, unlike his presence in the film, which is there for the ages.
The experience of seeing himself on the silver screen was surreal, said Wallace.
“I go to movies a lot and it’s been my dream since I started acting to one day sit down in a movie theater and see myself onscreen,” he added. “I never thought it would be in a movie that’s this huge, if it happened at all. There’s nothing cooler that could happen for me.”
Wallace is one of the many people who enjoy appearing as featured extras in films, TV shows, and commercials. It’s something the Naples resident has been doing since 1996, when he decided to try to leverage a lifelong devotion to fitness into some modeling and acting work.
“I got some pictures taken and started mailing them out, not knowing the proper procedure to get an agent and what they’re looking for,” he explained. “I took an acting class. I did some theater and I just kind of sat back and waited. It wasn’t a dream or anything. It was just something I thought I’d be good at, it sounded fun and I thought I’d give it a shot.”
Wallace also enjoys the opportunity to portray different characters.
Today, his resume is dotted with such entries as commercials for Best Buy, Dunkin’ Donuts and Rooms to Go, among others; industrial films and infomercials, independent films such as “Florida Dreams, Baseball Wives” and “Chill Out;” the former USA Network show “Burn Notice;” and modeling assignments.
“The jobs pay pretty well and also you get paid for what you look like, nine times out of 10,” he added. “You’re getting picked because you have a certain look. I really thought of it as a part-time job that really didn’t require a lot of effort and you got paid a lot more money than at your day job for a couple hours of work.”
The days on set were long, 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., and at times, Wallace found himself feeling like a kid again as he watched some of today’s hottest actors portraying Marvel superheroes he knew from comic books, TV, and movies. In one case, the thrill involved being in the presence of Hollywood royalty.
“Robert Redford (who portrays Alexander Pierce), here I am standing next to this acting legend,” said Wallace, with awe in his voice. “He was spot-on with his lines. It was pretty cool watching him do his thing. The hardest part for me was not watching what was going on and focusing on what I had to do.”
He went to see “Avengers: Endgame” with his mother and his 22 year-old son, niece, and nephew, each of them full of anticipation.
“I was really looking forward to seeing the movie, but once I saw myself, honestly, I would have been OK walking out and watching it some other time,” he said with a laugh. “I was like, ‘I don’t care how this movie ends. I just got what I wanted.’”
Wallace’s “day job” made the character he played in “Avengers: Endgame,” feel natural. He leads an executive protection team for G4S, a Fort Myers-based private security company that provides security at some of Collier County’s governmental buildings. Wallace’s squad protects the county commissioners, department heads, employees, and the public who visit Collier County facilities.
He even wore some of the same clothes as a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent that he wears when he works undercover.
He’s also the president of his own company, Energy Consumption Management, and a member of the Marco Island Area Chamber of Commerce. ECM is a distributor of Utiliguard, a power quality and conditioning system designed to reduce energy consumption, protect electrical devices from surges and lightning strikes, extend equipment lifespan, and more.
As part of his job with G4S, Wallace provided security for the Key Marco Cat when it arrived at Marco Island Historical Museum in December. He’s also filled that role for U.S. Senators, Congressmen, governors, and other dignitaries, something he finds as cool as being around stars.
“I think that’s why I’m not really looking to run off to Hollywood, because security is something that I love to do,” said Wallace, who has a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice From Hodges University and an associate’s degree in homeland security from Keiser university. “There’s no other career that I’d want. But I like going off for a couple days doing something else that I like to do, but I always come back to security.”