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)
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