Exclusive interview with Kyle Gallner

February, 2014 | On Valentine's Weekend we had the pleasure of meeting Kyle Gallner for an interview at the "The Walking Dead" convention InfeCtiON. Kyle Gallner is probably best known for portraying Cassidy 'Beaver' Casablancas on "Veronica Mars" and he also guest starred in the season 4 premiere of "The walking Dead". Even though the young actor had only arrived in Düsseldorf in the morning he was the nicest interviewee you could ever wish for. He was very open, amiable, good-humored and genuinely nice when he gave us extremely interesting insights into his work on movies and tv shows, and he also told us a few funny details on filming certain scenes and explained how he deals with playing dark characters.

Foto: Kyle Gallner, InfeCtiON - Copyright: Luc von Ferkel
Kyle Gallner, InfeCtiON
© Luc von Ferkel

Note: © myFanbase 2014 - The interview is exclusive to myFanbase and may not be published on other websites or the like. You may share the first two questions (up to 180 words) if you link back to this site. Translations other than English and German may be posted with full credit including the writer's name and link to this site.

What do you look for most in a new project, challenging characters or meeting certain actors or...?

It really depends, there's certain things that attract you to any project like there's established directors or great actors that you look to work with if you have an opportunity, so obviously that one. And sometimes you meet a really cool first time director that's got a really cool vision for a project. First and foremost it's script, a story. If it's a story you wanna tell or you like to be a part of, I think that's definitely kind of number one if the script is really really good.

You played your fair share of dark characters.

Yes, I have.

Is that you're favorite part of acting, exploring that kind of darkness?

I think it's a fun part. In a way you have to humanize them, you have to figure out what makes them tick and to sort of break down why these people do what they do so I think it's an interesting look into just people in general and I think it just kinda helps you to know yourself and get to maybe understand the other side a little bit. But as far as dark characters versus light characters I don't like one over the other. I think dark characters sometimes can be a little more interesting. I think light characters sometimes can be, you know, sometimes you just play the straight man while everyone around you gets to be a little more interesting in order to tell the story. But there's also great characters that aren't dark so it really just depends, again it comes back to script and character. But yeah, I've had fun playing dark roles.

Do you remember your "Criminal Minds" character?

I do, yeah.

How deep into the character do you go when you shoot something like that and how well can you shake it off afterwards?

It depends. I had a very kinda heavy lesson on a thing I did many years ago. It can be hard but you really have to leave your work at work, you can't bring it home with you. And luckily with those guest stars spots it's not as long a period of time but there are projects if you play that character for a month or two months it's gonna be stuck with you to an extent and you do get kind of caught up in it. Sometimes I have a harder time letting it go like especially with really heavy stuff. All of a sudden you'll be watching some random commercial where a mother and child are hugging and you're like "Why am I so upset right now, why am I crying over this commercial?" With that one [Criminal Minds] I'm friends with Matt, Matthew Grey Gubler, the guy on the show, he directed the episode as well, so me and him got to speak a fair share about it before so you try to dive into it as much as you can but there's always that thing that you have to leave your work at work. If you can.

Foto: Kyle Gallner, InfeCtiON - Copyright: myFanbase/Nicole Oebel
Kyle Gallner, InfeCtiON
© myFanbase/Nicole Oebel

Which character did have the most influence on you?

That was when I was younger. I had a harder time letting it go. Sometimes it doesn't matter how long you do it like the "Cold Case" episode I did. It was just really brutal and the director had me reading a lot of really dark stuff and send me a lot of material that was really dark. That was the one where I learnt the lesson of like really try to leave your work at work because if you bring it home it does affect your personal life. As far as influence goes every job brings something different to the table, even jobs that are hard you know like say you don't get along with a director or you're dealing with producers you feel have too much say in stuff and kind of interfere with what you wish could be a more artistic side of it with you and the director. You learn from everything whether it's how to handle a difficult set versus an easy set. You learn something on every set and it's not necessarily an acting lesson as much as it is navigating the industry or sometimes you work with an actor that just gives you a great break through or you get to watch these people just do something amazing and it changes you, it changes your approach to things.

So basically a life lesson.

Yeah, all the time [laughs]. I mean you're getting into these minds of people that aren't you. It's kind of like this weird personal form of therapy where you get to explore all these people you may not have ever tried to see their point of view before or realize "Oh wow, I have something in common with this person that I never thought I would." Yeah it is, it's a lot of life lessons actually.

This is your first time visit in Germany and your first convention outside of comic con, right?

Never been to comic con.

So the first convention ever?

Ever. First convention ever.

How's it going so far?

Everyone has just been really supportive. You can tell everbody really loves the show and everybody is really excited to be here. It's just nice to be around people that genuinely care about something. It's a collective mind set. Everybody is here for the same reason, that's cool.

With "The Walking Dead" being the biggest cable series ever ratings-wise, what do you think are the most important ingredients in the show's formula for success? Is it really the zombies?

I think people do love zombies. I think that definitely helps but I think it also has to do with quality. It's good writing, it's a well shot show, it's a well acted show. I think there's a really good fanbase. The comic book fanbase is really strong, that horror and fantasy fanbase is huge. I think it was kind of a surprise that it would have such success on TV but I think it's definitely a fanbase that you can't underestimate because they're very die-hard and what they love they love it. This definitely had an audience and I think it's cool that it spilled over into the mainstream, it brought a lot of people into the comic book world and actually got people to read other stuff other than "The Walking Dead". It just kind of expanded into this sort of phenomenon which is pretty great.

What one thing about "The Walking Dead" would people not know?

Oh boy, something they wouldn't know... That's really hard. I don't know... [laughs] I'm sorry, I wasn't there long enough.

You got eaten by a zombie on "The Walking Dead".

I did get eaten by a zombie.

How is that filmed? Was that really you in that blood bath?

No, that was not me. It was me after the blood bath. They made a prosthetic. They did a life cast of the top of my shoulders up to the top of my head and they made a full replica of my face and they made a prosthetic part on the neck where they could actually bite and you know rip my throat out and have all the blood coming out. So no, that wasn't me but I got to watch myself get killed.

Foto: Kyle Gallner, InfeCtiON - Copyright: myFanbase/Nicole Oebel
Kyle Gallner, InfeCtiON
© myFanbase/Nicole Oebel

So the zombie on top...

That's real. That was a guy.

Doing the biting into the prosthetic...

...and ripping the...

...the whatever flesh off...

...yeayeayeah [laughs].

Click to read the second part of this interview with Kyle Gallner in which we talk about "Veronica Mars", his movie "Dear White People", his favorite tv shows and more...