Stacy Keach has long been known as a man of many interests, but his latest non-acting endeavor, Mary’s Magic Microscope still comes as a surprise. The title instrument takes the book’s young characters into strange and fabulous molecular worlds — with sights like living rings of atoms in lime green and hot orange and yellow, and honey bee eyes with huge, soft-looking lashes. The striking visuals are provided by Keach’s collaborator in the work, artist and scientist Gary Greenberg, who shot them using his patented 3D light microscopes. The story is a lot of fun, too.
If Keach and Greenberg have their way, their Mary’s Magic Microscope books — they have a series in the works — will open the way for a 3D film that, they hope, will help inspire lasting excitement about science in young learners. “We’re both parents ourselves — Gary’s a grandparent. And the thing is, we want to help,” Keach says.
The esteemed actor got to know Greenberg years ago when he joined the advisory board of the Environmental Communications organization, he recalls. Both men are drawn to “the synthesis of art and science,” as Keach puts it.
“If you look at my website, you can see how visual this stuff is,” notes Greenberg. “That’s why it’s a perfect movie vehicle. The microworld is amazingly visual.” They’re hoping for a full-on feature release in 3D theaters, but Greenberg says, “We’ve also often discussed the possibility of an IMAX release, which would be a wonderful way to do it.”
MEANWHILE: Keach is finding time for his scientific labor of love in-between a full agenda of other activities. He has the critically-hailed Other Desert Cities opening Nov. 3 at Broadway’s Booth Theatre. He and Stockard Channing are reprising the roles they played earlier this year at Lincoln Center in the drama about a former GOP power player who has deep family secrets about to be exposed. Joining them are Judith Light and Rachel Griffiths.
And on a completely different note, Keach has Mel Brooks’ comedy horror “Pizzaman” ahead. “I can’t wait,” he says. “I’m very excited about it. I’ve never worked with Mel before, but I’ve known him for a long time. His first cousin, Howard Kaminsky, and I want to school together at Berkeley — oh, a few years ago.” But as for what he’ll play in the tale of a homicidal pizza delivery man, or any other, um, juicy details, Keach is mum. “I’m afraid I’m not at liberty to say.”