ROGUISH RESCUER. He acts; he produces; he inspires. In short, Kyle Gallner has quite a charming story to tell, and has graciously shared it with DA MAN
Polo shirt by Kennington
Nowadays, Kyle Gallner, of “Veronica Mars” and “Smallville” fame, looks a bit like Errol Flynn. With his roguish looks and his impressive ’stache, he certainly cuts the figure of a swashbuckling hero from Hollywood’s golden age, which is quite appropriate as Gallner’s first appearance in 2016 will be as a daring rescuer. But, of course, there’s much more to the actor and producer than just his countenance. This is the story of Kyle Gallner, starting from his most recent roles and reaching back to his unexpected jump into the world of showbiz.
DA MAN: Great to have you with us, Kyle. How is 2016 shaping up for you so far?
Kyle Gallner: I have a few projects coming out that I am excited about. I have “The Finest Hours,” which is a Disney Studios film, as well as a TV show called “Outsiders” which will be on WGN. I also have a killer indie film called “Band of Robbers.”
DA MAN: So, let’s talk about “The Finest Hours.” Can you tell us a bit about this title and your role in it?
Kyle Gallner: The movie is a true story about the Pendleton rescue in 1952. The Pendleton was a tanker that broke in half during a huge nor’easter. Four men went out on a boat that was 36 feet long in 60-plus-foot waves to rescue the 33 men stranded on the tanker. Here I play Andrew Fitzgerald, who was one of the four coast guard personnel who went out and tried to rescue the men on the Pendleton.
DA MAN: This looks like quite a physical movie. Did you find shooting particularly challenging?
Kyle Gallner: It was a very physical movie which I loved. There were days where we were running all over that boat, and when we weren’t moving around the boat, we were being rocked up, down and all over the place. We were also being rained on for 12 hours a day, and that rain was very cold. It took us a little while just to get the right clothing down. We started with a heating shirt and a wetsuit under our wardrobe and ended up with drysuits and heating shirts and layers of clothing. It’s definitely hard being in that cold weather for three months, but it’s impossible to complain because you remember the men who lived this and did it all in real life.
DA MAN: For “The Finest Hours,” you’re playing a real-life character. A real-life hero, for that matter. Did you feel any extra pressure to get this role right?
Kyle Gallner: Absolutely. These men are real-life heroes and you are telling their story, a story that should be told and should inspire. You want to do these men justice.
Leather jacket by Sandro
DA MAN: Besides a rescue mission on the high seas for the big screen, you also have adventures in the mountains for TV with “Outsiders.” How do you think will audiences react to this show?
Kyle Gallner: I am actually curious to see how audiences will react to the show. I really hope they like it. It is such a cliché to say this show is like nothing you have ever seen—but honestly, it really is. It’s a world that hasn’t really been explored, about a family that has not existed anywhere except on this show. So, we were free to make up our own rules and our own customs and build these characters from the ground up and make it as strange and different as we wanted.
DA MAN: Once again, this seems like the kind of production that involves a lot of physical action. How involved were you with the stunt work for “Outsiders”?
Kyle Gallner: It was a very physical show and a few of us have the bumps and bruises to prove it. I am a guy who likes to do all of my own stunts as long as they will let me. I like running and jumping and climbing and fighting and getting down and dirty, so the stunts on this show were a lot of fun.
DA MAN: From what we’ve learned, your character would be a bit of an outsider himself within the clan that’s central to the series. Would you say that this makes your character more interesting to play?
Kyle Gallner: I think so. You meet Hasil at an interesting time in his life. He is a person who loves to explore and is a seeker of knowledge, and he’s at an age where he is curious about the world. Curious about what’s at the bottom of the mountain. He becomes the bridge between the two worlds.
DA MAN: At first glance, the plot for “Outsiders” looks pretty straightforward: mountain clan vs. outsiders. Can audiences expect more interesting developments as the story progresses?
Kyle Gallner: In its most basic form i guess it is mountain clan vs. outsiders, but you are really riding a fine line there because no one really knows who the outsiders are. We are outsiders to the people in town, and the people in town are outsiders to us. It’s not as black and white as it may seem. We are fighting for our home, and at the same time the people in town are fighting for their wellbeing. There is a big gray area here, and while all of this is going on, there are a lot of other conflicts and issues that will come to light.
“It sounds sort of ridiculous, but acting pretty much found me, and I fell in love with it”
DA MAN: You’ve worked for big-budgeted blockbusters as well as independently produced works. What is the most important distinction between the two?
Kyle Gallner: There are a lot of differences in a lot of different areas. Studio films are usually made for much more money than independent films, and they also have a bigger production window. There are a lot of stories that are made independently that wouldn’t be made at the studio level. There’s such great and high quality material in both avenues and platforms.
Indie films are a great place for filmmakers and actors to hone their craft and take chances and experiment and show what they can do. For me personally, I like being able to do both. They both allow me to get to do what I love, and that makes me one of the luckiest people on the planet. At the end of the day it comes down to the project, and if it’s a story you want to tell, or if you think will have fun doing it, whether it’s made for uS$100 or uS$100,000,000.
DA MAN: Now, you’ve also co-founded an independent production company a couple of years ago. what’s it like being not only in front of the camera but also deeply involved in the behind-the-scenes workings?
Kyle Gallner: It’s a strange thing. It’s like pulling back the curtain in Oz. As an actor who is on the producing side, you are watching people’s auditions and suddenly you realize that the power has shifted and you suddenly have control. You hold the key to someone’s future. As an actor, it is almost comforting because you watch the decision-making process happen and get to be part of it, and you really get to see just how out of your control things really are.
We saw so many amazing performances, but at the end of the day we could only pick one person. Sometimes it just came down to the fact that we liked one guy’s face more than another guy’s face because it felt warmer, or that girl looked too much like another actress who is already cast. It makes you want to call all the actors and tell them how great they were and that it truly had nothing to do with the performance; it had to do with something really small. It’s heartbreaking and comforting at the same time. As for being in front of the camera, it was business as usual. I sort of stepped out of producer mode when it was time to shoot. I let the other guys take over.
DA MAN: Looking back, what was it that drew you to acting in the first place?
Kyle Gallner: My sister was a dancer and went to a performance arts camp and caught an acting bug while she was there. A woman at the camp gave her the name of a talent rep in Philly to check out if she was interested in giving acting a shot. We went to the place and they asked me if I wanted to audition and I said sure. I read a Smuckers jam commercial and the people there asked if I would like to be sent out on auditions. Me and my mom had no clue what that meant so we said “Yes.” I got my first real audition shortly after in NYC. I read my audition, which went all right, but I had no idea what I was doing. They liked me, though, and asked me to stay. A woman came out and asked me if I had an agent. Me and my mom didn’t really know what that meant either, so she explained that the office we were in was an agency and that she was a talent agent and they would like to represent me. Me and my mom still didn’t really know what that meant but we figured it must be good. So, a lot of dumb luck got me into the business. As I got older, though, I realized that I really loved what I was doing. I loved watching movies my friends weren’t watching. I loved auditioning, and I worked a little bit when I was young, and I loved being on set. So, it sounds sort of ridiculous, but acting pretty much found me, and I fell in love with it.
DA MAN: Do you think that you have a defining trait—your own trademark, if you will—that help you stand out as an actor?
Kyle Gallner: I was actually thinking about that the other day and asked my wife the same question and she said “No”—which I sort of agree with. I’m not sure who I am like or what my trademark is. I get told I look like certain people but that doesn’t mean much. I think people try and pigeonhole you in this industry. When I was younger I played a lot of bad guys or crazy people, and a lot of people saw me that way. But as I’ve gotten older, along the way I’ve had the opportunity to play different types of characters and eventually change that perception.
DA MAN: One last question: who or what keeps you motivated each and every day?
Kyle Gallner: My wife and kids. They saved my life and brought the excitement for what I do to a whole new level. Having kids changed everything. It took my acting from this singular journey to one I can share with my family. My wife is my rock and cheerleader, and I can’t even look at my boys without feeling like my heart is going to explode.
To see more images from this shoot, get a copy of DA MAN February/March 2016 here.
Photography Mitchell Nguyen McCormack
Styling Alexa Rangroummith Green
Grooming Charles Dujic at Tomlinson Management Group using Bumble and bumble
Videography Pedro Correa
Styling assistant Lauren Larocca
Casting Jonathan Clay Harris (jonathanclayharris.com)