So how are you enjoying SXSW? Have you had a chance to do anything so far?
Kyle Gallner: I got here Thursday, went out Thursday night, saw the Austin-scene a little bit, saw the movie yesterday… so yeah, I’ve gotten to a little bit. Austin a really amazing city, I’ve never been here.
Where are you from originally?
KG: From right outside Philadelphia, a town called Westchester.
Austin is one of my favorite towns.
KG: No, it’s great. I’m loving it here. I’ve never been here, but I definitely wanna come back.
I always think of it like a mix of New York City and San Francisco, if that makes any sense.
KG: It does, actually, it makes perfect sense.
So tell us a little bit about your character.
KG: Aaron is cool kid, he’s a kid who didn’t have a chance to really be cool cuz his mom kinda kept him down and his family was a little strict. His mom definitely had a path for him, but he gets different ideas when he gets to college. He starts seeing the real world, I guess, and meeting different people and he falls for a girl and he’s forced to group. At the end of the movie there are situations that happen and he’s forced to group and you watch him kinda come into his own and kinda be the kid to he was supposed to be but never an the opportunity to be. He’s an interesting guy.
How did you become involved.
KG: Just good old-fashioned audition process. I got the call, I read the script. I really wanted the movie. I did a lot of work on this movie, actually. Kinda like 50 pages of notes, even before the audition I was like, “I’m gonna get this one.” Then I went in and I got a call back and met up with Jeff, I think Sam was in the room, and it’s all history from there.
Now, going into the movie I’m sure you knew that this was semi-autobiographical for Jeffrey, so did he give you any coaching, any advice about how you should approach the character?
KG: No, not really. Jeff was really cool about it. He kinda let me run with it and make Aaron my own. He let me create this kinda neurotic guy who’s just figuring his life out. I mean, if things ever got out of line where he didn’t want it to go, but he didn’t really hit me too hard. He left me with a lot of freedom to really play with Aaron.
So you didn’t feel pressure to be any certain kind of person since it was based on someone.
KG: I did in the beginning. It’s important when it’s based on somebody or based on somebody’s life, you know, you wanna really do it, you wanna make it as real as possible, as true as possible. As soon as we started filming and, you know, just the talks I had with Jeff before we started filming, it was pretty clear that he just wanted to make the best movie possible. You know, we trusted each other and he let me run with it, it was cool.
That’s good because it turned out great.
KG: Yeah, it’s a fun movie.
How long are you gonna be in town?
KG: I’m gonna be here till Tuesday.
And then what? What’s next for you?
KG: There’s always things in the works, but nothing is real until you’re on the set. I have a couple other indies that are kinda in the can right now that are in the editing process and getting finished so hopefully some other film festivals. NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET comes out in like seven weeks.
Oh yeah, that’s exciting!
KG: Yeah, it should be interesting. We’ll see how it goes, it’s pretty cool, it should be out in like seven weeks. I have a couple other projects, but like I said, until they’re real, they’re not real.
Do you have any preference between film and television?
KG: I like film. I prefer the bond we make with people, but I’m also talking from a guy who’s not… my extent of television is basically a bunch of guest stars and a hand-full of reoccurring roles. My only serious TV-time was “Veronica Mars,” and, you know, you form a family there as well, but I like film. It’s like a one-shot deal, you get an arch beginning to end. I just prefer film. I got into acting to play a lot of different characters and play all sorts of people. Nothing against television, but I don’t really wanna play the same person for seven years or five years. That’s personal preference, nothing against it, TV is an amazing thing. Specially now, they’re making TV like films now.
Yeah, I know.
KG: I mean, there’s a lot of great shows that’s like filming a movie. It kinda makes you think, but also, you know…
It’s a long-term commitment.
KG: It’s a very long-term commitment, but there’s amazing TV like, I haven’t seen it yet, I don’t even know if it’s on TV yet, Boardwalk Empire, Scorsese show, I’m sure it’s incredible.
I haven’t seen that.
KG: No? It’s probably gonna be great.
I’m a Lost man.
KG: See, I never picked up on Lost. But, I mean, if the right show came along, you can never say never. It’s gotta be something that makes you go, “OK, let’s sign up!”
What was the biggest challenge of making this movie for you?
KG: I would say one of the main challenges for all of us was time. It’s an indie, not a lot of money, working 6-day weeks for a month straight, first in, last to leave, not a lot of sleep. It’s just kinda the marathon, but I like working like that, I like going home and feeling like you really did something.
Like you really earned it.
KG: Yeah, I prefer that. I like working all day every day. The being on the set but not working for like three days drives me crazy.
Is that what television is like?
KG: TV is different. Like with “Veronica Mars” I was home. They shot in San Diego, but I would drive when I had to film, then I would go home and hang out, so that was fine because it’s not like I was sitting in different state where I don’t know anybody, just sitting around and going crazy.
So you’re living in California now?
How different is that from Pennsylvania?
KG: Umm, east coast/west coast, it’s a very different vibe, it’s a very different feeling. It’s cool, I mean, I’ve been there almost six years now, so I’ve found my friends, I’ve found what I like to do, places I like to go. The adjustment is interesting, but I have a really, you know, he’s my best friend, his name is Jake. We kinda met within like a month of me being there. He’s from Ohio so we both kinda grew into the city together, I guess.
What about your family, I guess they’re still back in Pennsylvania?
KG: No, they’re in LA. My mom was like, there’s no way in hell you’re moving to California by yourself at like 17, 18, so I was like, ok, then we need to talk about this [laughter].
So I guess your family was supportive of your career choice?
KG: Extremely. My family is insanely supportive. My agent talked to my parents about me moving out to California and they asked if I wanted to go and I sat down and had a conversation with my family. ‘Cause I have a little brother, little sister, I’m from, not a huge family, but there’s enough people there that you gotta definitely have a conversation about it. You know, everyone made the move, everyone is super supportive. It’s crazy… they’re crazy [laughter].
They’re not crazy, it worked out!
KG: No, I know, but it’s like, jeez, man, that’s a lot.
Well, that’s all I got.
KG: It was good to meet you.
Going into the movie, I’m sure you knew that it was semi-autobiographical, did you get a chance to speak with the young lady who you character was inspired by?
Brittany Robertson: No, I wasn’t able to. I actually didn’t even realize it was. Jeff likes to keep that personal and I actually didn’t realize it was about him until maybe two weeks into the film. And so, it was interesting after that, and I still really had to work to kinda get some information out of him but after that I was obviously very curious as to who she was and about their story together. He still didn’t even give me that much to work with. I heard that she actually read the script, she hasn’t seen the movie yet, so I’m very, very excited to see what she thinks.
Did he tell why he didn’t give you that information? Did he want you to make the character?
BR: Well, I think, you know, he has a really good idea who these characters are. He lived through it and has a very good idea about these women and Kyle’s character, obviously, and so I think he had a really good gauge as to who these people are and how to direct us as them. And so he didn’t really feel the need to give out all this personal information out of respect for them and also out of respect for his own personal life. You know, very honest man.
Yeah, he’s a great guy, from the ten minutes I got to talk to him.
BR: [laughter] Right.
How did you become involved with the movie?
BR: I originally got the script November, 2008, so maybe before that. A little before that.
That was a long time ago.
BR: Yeah, we filmed it about a year and a half ago. So I originally got the script and my manager was super in love with the character and said, “you have to read it,” and so I did and I really wanted to meet with Jeff, the director. I had a meeting set up, but I wasn’t able to attend and then they asked if I wanted to come in and do a read-through with Kyle, and I was like, alright, cool. So I went in and I read with Kyle for a few hours, we did a couple of scenes from the film and just worked with it a little bit. And then, they were like, “ok, well, we need to see her look the part. We need to see her look rough, tough. like a rough chick.” So then I had to come back in and I put a black wig on, and like colors in my hair and piercings and the whole nine, and they were like, “ok, she can pull it off.” And then, yeah, we started rehearing shortly after.
Now, was that tough transforming into that character? Because you seem like such a nice person.
BR: Yeah, you know… I don’t know. The character jumps off the page so easily and I thinking it was very easy for me to just get wrapped up in who she was. She was very easily understood in my eyes. When I first got the script, I just immediately felt super-connected with her and it didn’t seem too forced at all.
I probably should’ve asked you this first, if you could explain to our readers about your character.
BR: Yes, my character’s name is Beth and she’s 14. She’s comes into the film, she’s the daughter Linda’s, who’s a student at the school where Aaron attends and he sort of gets a crush on [Linda], comes over to the houses and realizes that she has a daughter, who is me, and I get quite the crush on Aaron.
He’s a good-looking guy.
BR: Yes, very. So charming. And I get a crush on Aaron, where as Aaron gets a crush on my mother, so there’s sort of this, you know, triangular love dynamic going on. She’s sort of this guarded 14-year-old. She had a lot of crazy past experiences with her mom, she’s had to take care of her mom throughout most of her life and because of that she’s sort of carried this tough exterior with her.
I knew from Life Unexpected and then I saw you in this film and it was like night and day.
BR: Yeah, it’s different.
Have you gotten any reactions from your family, friends or your fans?
BR: No, I actually hadn’t seen the movie up until last night at the premier [laughter]. I’m a very nervous actor. I get very, very nervous watching stuff that I’m in, so for people like my family or friends to see anything is like, you have to hunt it down yourself. It has nothing to do with the project, it’s always just me, you know, nitpicking performance. I know people who have seen the show and have seen the film and it’s not like I’m stuck in this one roll-type character, which is nice, I don’t feel too stereotyped.