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Where in the Horror are they Now? Kyle Gallner!

06.23.2015by: JimmyO

KYLE GALLNER

THEN: There are certain actors that are just cool. Of course they have a ton of talent, but there is something more going on. These are the kind of guys that can garner sympathy even if they are playing a massive jerk. Kyle Gallner is one of those dudes - the man is impossible not to connect with on-screen (and off). While he may have started his career at a young age, he sure as hell worked a ton. And any Veronica Mars fan knows how awesome he was on that particular series as Cassidy “Beaver” Casablancas. In addition to that, his television career spanned several shows including guest spots on Third Watch, Judging Amy and Bones. And because it was funny as hell, I have to mention that he appeared in one of the greatest comedies ever, WET HOT AMERICAN SUMMER (2001).

Since we focus on horror in this particular column, let’s look at some of Kyle’s impressive genre work - with a few non horror flicks for good measure. Thankfully for things freaky, it seems as though the thespian was drawn to scary stuff early on. In 2005, around the time he had a home on Veronica Mars, he had a small role in the Wes Craven thriller RED EYE. A year later he landed a part in a mystery called DANIKA (2006). After a six episode arc in the acclaimed series Big Love, Kyle was featured in SUBLIME (2007) which starred Tom Cavanagh (TV’s Ed and The Flash). And then there was RED in 2008. As a fan of Jack Ketchum’s novels, I was particularly terrified by the adaptation of RED. I love dogs and this flick is tough for animal lovers. Yet once again, it features a very strong performance from Kyle as a young man who tries to do the right thing, even if it costs him.

After working on a couple of shows you may have heard of - I’m talking The Shield and Smallville - Mr. Gallner had a chance to shine in THE HAUNTING IN CONNECTICUT in 2009. Here is the thing, initially I didn’t really dig this “true story” haunted house flick. Yet after revisiting it - and while I still have a few issues with it - there is something about it that really works. And best of all, the two leads are terrific. In the film, Kyle plays Matt Campbell, a young man sick with cancer who encounters some seriously spooky ghostly beings. Both he and Virginia Madsen (who plays his mother) elevate this chiller and make it far better than I remember. This is an intense role for any actor to take on, and once again, his performance makes it easy to care for his supernatural nightmare. If you haven’t seen this in awhile, you might want to check it out once again. I prefer the unrated cut.

Also in 2009, the actor had the opportunity to make out with Megan Fox in JENNIFER’S BODY. Unfortunately, all does not end well for his character, one of the victims in the Diablo Cody written comedic thriller. Now that brings us to a movie that not everybody found a lot of fun in. In the remake of A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET, Kyle starred as one of Freddy Krueger’s terrified teens. While I was not a fan of the film - like, at all - I have to give the cast credit. And yes, Kyle was by far the most sympathetic actor in the film. In fact, I generally liked the young cast of this flick. It seems like Gallner, along with Thomas Dekker, Rooney Mara and Katie Cassidy didn’t get a fair shot as this was far from a perfect script, especially for Elm Street fans. It’s too bad though as it seems like Jackie Earle Haley could have put an intriguing spin on Freddy.

When CLERKS and CHASING AMY writer/director Kevin Smith announced that he was making an action/horror/crime flick, many were surprised. RED STATE features our man of the hour and once again, he rocks in it.  I loved his performance here quite a bit. As a young dude looking to get laid, he is forced into a very disturbing situation that leads to horrific events. And yeah, I bought it. It also helps that the film features a fantastic performance from both Michael Parks and Melissa Leo. This one may have divided fans but frankly, I found it to be pretty f*cking fascinating. This is a great cast, and I certainly appreciated Kevin Smith stepping out of his comfort zone and tackling some seriously violent subject matter.

As with our recent look back at the lovely Barbara Crampton, not only do we get to examine this very talented actor’s career but we also chatted with him about horror and what is next. Before we get into his current - and damned impressive resume - I asked him what his favorite genre experience was.

[THE HAUNTING IN CONNECTICUT] is probably my favorite horror experience to be honest. Just because it was kind of nostalgic. There is fondness there. My other one, which would probably be equally as enjoyable, would be RED STATE. It is kind of like, you never forget your first time [Laughing].

On working with Kevin Smith:

He is a special person. That dude is incredible - I mean, love him or hate him - there is nobody like that man on the planet. He is no joke. He is the real deal. He is unapologetic and he does what he wants. He is the smartest person I’ve ever heard speak in my life. He is so captivating and so funny and so whip smart. It’s mind-blowing. You are mesmerized by the guy just to be in his presence. Just to listen to him speak. Because I’m so not like that, and to be able to command a room and pull a crowd in the way he does. The guy is the real deal. There is literally nobody like him.

When I asked him how he got involved with RED STATE he added…

It was a typical audition. I got sent the sides and I got hit up by my reps, and when they said it was a Kevin Smith movie, I kind of was immediately like, I’m never going to get it. Not a chance. Not because it was a big movie, but because I was like, ‘I’m not that funny.’ And they were like, ‘No, it’s not a comedy.’ So I read it, and it was dark. I mean, insanely dark. And then I auditioned for it - you know I don’t think I had read it yet. I auditioned for it, and then they sent me the script. I ended up getting it and Kevin wrote me a little note that was like, to my Veronica Mars brother, let’s do this thing.

When it came to his first introduction to Virginia Madsen on THE HAUNTING IN CONNECTICUT…

I was waiting in the airport by the gate and some big dude comes up and says, ‘you’ve gotta come with me.’ I was like, oh shit! And he brought me back to this room, which I now know is the first class lounge… And sitting there is Virginia, and she sent somebody to come get me. She sat me down and was like, ‘Hi, I’m your momma!’ I was like, ‘You’re the best!’ Immediately, she was so warm and so loving. She really guided and helped me, and really took care of me on that film because, I had never been on a studio film. I had never done anything like that. She really made it a really, really nice experience.

On working on tough projects.

I’m really glad I had [THE HAUNTING IN CONNECTICUT] as my first experience. There are other projects I have been on that I was like, if this had been my first movie and it had been this hard and this bad, I’d really question what I’m doing. They are not all easy, but when they are good man, they are so fun. And even the hard ones, you learn stuff from them no matter what. They are just hard. And some of them aren’t nice or friendly, and everyone is at each other’s throat. It’s a shame because it’s like guys, we are doing what so many people wish they could be doing, why is this so hard!?

I’m telling ya! Kyle Gallner is officially one of my favorite people!

NOW: Recently at the LA Film Festival, I had one hell of a great time at the movies. BAND OF ROBBERS is a terrific film with Gallner portraying a modern version of Huck Finn - you can check out my review here. Hopefully audiences will get a chance to check out this great little gem. Add to that, his recent appearances in such acclaimed work as AMERICAN SNIPER and DEAR WHITE PEOPLE, and you have yourself an actor taking on some terrific material. So what else does he have in store?

As for working with the very talented fellas behind BAND OF ROBBERS, Aaron and Adam Nee.

Working on that thing was just special, it was so fun. And those brothers man, I’m telling you Adam and Aaron Nee are special, special guys. They are gonna do some stuff. I’m really glad that I potentially got in on the ground floor for that [Laughing]. I hope to be in like everything those guys do.

As far as upcoming projects, he has a ton including an upcoming series on WGN called Outsiders.

The show is called Outsiders. It’s on WGN and it will air next year. It’s about a family that has lived off the grid in the Appalachia mountains of Kentucky. We are basically from another time - it takes place in modern time, I just mean we as a people. We don’t believe in money. We make our own moonshine. We are self sufficient. We hunt, we gather, and we do what we need to do. We live up on the mountain. There is some crossover where we will go into town when we need to take stuff, or there are certain things we need. But it is the way life is. And one day, a coal company comes into town and goes to the police to say that those guys have to go. Because we need to blow that mountain up and mine for coal. So it becomes this conflict of us not wanting to give up our home and the town wanting to get rid of us - not everybody but a lot of people - because it will bring in jobs to a town that doesn’t have jobs or money. And so it’s that conflict of how does business get handled. And you know, some of the time it is violent [Laughing]. 

On his accent:

It’s a thick accent. I have hair extensions down past my shoulders. I have tattoos. Facial hair. The whole nine. It’s fun. You know, if you are going to do something, do something different.

What else can fans look forward to?

I’ve produced, with some buddies of mine, WELCOME TO HAPPINESS. That is doing a little bit of the festival circuit right now. It’s won a couple of awards. It played Dances with Films, it played one or two other festivals and it will play a couple of other ones. That is kind of going around right now. BAND OF ROBBERS, which I’m really excited for. That’s an “in-process” right now. They are doing a bunch of screenings for buyers. That one is awesome. 

I have this movie called THE MASTER CLEANSE that they are going to aim for Sundance or Toronto, I believe. That one is just super, super weird. That one is crazy. That is one I’m excited for people to see. That has Johnny Galecki, Anna Friel, Anjelica Huston, Oliver Platt. It’s about this group of people that goes on a retreat - like a cleanse - and they drink these cleanses and end up vomiting up this stuff that kind of turns into a physical incarnation of your problems. It is super weird. It’s super, super out there. They recently released a poster for it. It’s gonna be pretty cool. So hopefully we’ll be up at Sundance or something with that. 

And then, in January, if the date stays because it’s moved twice now, I have a Disney Studios movie coming out called THE FINEST HOURS where I play a Coast Guard in the 1950’s. It is a story about what is still considered the greatest small boat rescue in Coast Guard history where these four guys go out on a 36-foot long boat and rescue thirty plus people on a boat that should only hold like twelve. That cast is really good too. It is Ben Foster, Chris Pine, John Magaro who is really awesome, he is on Orange is the New Black right now. There is also Casey Affleck and Eric Bana! It’s pretty cool. And it’s an intense movie. It’s like a superhero movie without superheroes wearing capes. It’s real guys. This shit is real. These guys did this. And they did it in like sixty-foot swells and it is raining and freezing cold. I love comic books. I love superheroes, I love all that stuff. But there is something pretty amazing about a true story.

Kyle Gallner is a fantastic actor who continues to impress. He is also one of the nicest guys around, on every level, and I can honestly say one of the easiest fellas to chat with. Funny, charming, and just plain awesome, and for fans there is much to look forward to. If you’d like to keep up with his career - and why wouldn’t  you - you can follow him on Twitter and Instagram. Special thanks to Kyle himself for taking time to chat with us here at Arrow in the Head.

Extra Tidbit: Which is your favorite Kyle Gallner genre flick?
Source: AITH

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