Skip to main content
Biography
Ever since his stage debut as Dopey in a grade-school stage production of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Chris L. McKenna knew that his calling in life was to become an actor. Even at the tender age of seven, it was obvious by the amount of work McKenna put into his role that he was determined to live the dream of basking in the spotlights of stage and screen, and when you're driven by that kind of insatiable hunger, it's only a matter of time before others recognize your talent and drive. Despite the fact that the Queens native came from an exceptionally athletic background (McKenna's uncle stormed the Super Bowl with the New York Jets and his father was invited to play for the New York Knick's), it was the well-worn boards of the theater that called to him more powerfully than the finely finished court of Madison Square Garden. In the years following his stage debut, McKenna continued to hone his craft with a three-year stint on the long-running television soap opera One Life to Live , eventually enrolling in Hofstra University as a drama major. Subsequent years found the capable young up-and-comer relegated to such supporting roles as "Locker Room Guy" (In & Out) and "Rookie Highway Cop" (Cement), but McKenna bided his time in front of the camera, assured that if he kept at it long enough, his break would eventually come. In the meantime, television audiences would warn to McKenna thanks to frequent appearances in such popular prime-time shows as That '70s Show, Touched by an Angel, and The Practice. When the screenplay for director Stuart Gordon's violent revenge drama King of the Ants crossed the desk of the somewhat athletic, large-framed actor, McKenna didn't pay much attention to it given that the lead was described as a small, meek guy who didn't stand out in a crowd, but after some prompting from a friend, McKenna was hooked on the script and determined to win the role. Though there was competition for the role, fate was on McKenna's side, and he was soon stepping before the cameras to essay his first leading role -- and a challenging one at that. To make the film work, it was essential to cast an actor who could transform from an unassuming house painter to a blackened killing machine, while still managing to elicit the sympathy of the audience. When the harrowing King of the Ants was unleashed upon audiences in 2003, any doubts as to whether the burgeoning actor could shoulder a film was quenched when critics and audiences singled out McKenna's stunning transformation as a highlight of Gordon's bleak vision. In addition to preparing for his subsequent role in director Terry Zwigoff's Art School Confidential, McKenna would attempt to expand his horizons by working with author Thomas Tessier to pen a screen adaptation of Tessier's labyrinthine horror novel Fog Heart.

Stay Connected with Moviefone

My Settings

You are currently subscribed as: {email}


Subscriptions

Get the latest reviews, movie news, photos, and trailers sent straight to your inbox.

Weekly Newsletter

Daily alerts

Movies

You're not following any movies.

These are the movies you’re currently following.


    Update settings
    X