Going Inside ‘Outsiders’

by Natasha Wolff | January 26, 2016 10:21 am

Outsiders[1] might be putting it mildly. The aptly named new WGN America series, debuting January 26, follows a family living in the mountains of Appalachia, who for generations have been almost completely removed from the modern world. As the very first episode makes clear, however, this is a situation that won’t go unchanged for much longer. Kyle Gallner (American SniperThe Walking Dead[2]) stars on the series as Hasil Farrell, a young member of the mountain-dwelling clan who finds himself torn between two worlds. Here, Gallner explains the difficult preparation he underwent for the role and shares how his two-year-old son inspired his character.

In the coming weeks, you’ve got a series (Outsiders) and two movies (The Finest Hours and Band of Robbers) coming out. What about these projects made them right for you? 

I just like good stories, man.  I like difficult characters and interesting stories and good work. I’m always looking for something to go crazy on.

Outsiders certainly offers that. How did you end up playing Hasil? 

I got sent the script, and I read pretty early on—nobody was really cast yet—and they liked me. And then, I had to go take off to go shoot The Finest Hours; I was going to be in Boston for three months, so when they held callbacks I couldn’t go. Instead they used a tape I had made and put me up against these other guys, but they still wouldn’t say yes because there were all these issues about how they wanted the character to be—especially his physical shape—so they weren’t sure about me. I finally ended up getting the job after a couple of auditions I wasn’t there for, but then there was the real work to do.  

What about his physicality was such an issue?

They wanted him to be really wiry, with a lean kind of muscle. I ended up losing close to 15 pounds and just hitting the gym and getting ready to go. It’s kind of funny because as you watch the progression of the show, I get a little bigger each episode.  The way I look now is where I got by the end of the season. 

Talk about getting into character…

That kind of stuff is fun. Also, it was such an interesting world. I had never read anything taking place in that world—and I like that kind of stuff. I like survival. I like all those shows about people off the grid. That whole mindset always has been really kind of fascinating to me. This was a role to really disappear into, and for a guy my age that doesn’t happen that often.  I’m 29, but I usually play younger and I usually play somebody’s kid, so to be given a really interesting role that I could sink my teeth into was very appealing.

The characters on the series are divided into two camps: People who live on top of the mountain and people who don’t. Did you do anything off-camera to establish those groups?

We would get together and Gillian [Alexy, my costar] would set up game nights or something like that so people would get together and get to know each other. We had a lot of meetings as well just because it was such an unknown world for everybody, there were a lot of things to talk about and to build on. We had these meetings just sitting around a table and talking about these people and ideas and rituals.  Everybody had a part in building this world.

The show has some serious action: you guys have chase scenes and shootouts. What was the most exciting thing to film? 

We got to ride ATVs through a convenience store, which was really fun. It’s a pretty physical show, so actually getting to be a part of that and do all my own stunts and get really dirty and hands on is fun. 

Was it hard to leave that all behind when you finished filming?

There are a lot of things about Hasil that I relate to, so I didn’t necessarily want to shake all of it. Funny enough, a lot of Hasil is based on my oldest little boy. There are parts of my life that really are him—things between my son and me—so I didn’t have to leave too much behind. That wonderment and good heart, the good-natured way he’s open to and curious about everything, that is totally my 2 year old. There’s an openness to the guy, and finding that was a nice feeling.

  1. Outsiders: http://wgnamerica.com/series/outsiders
  2. The Walking Dead: http://dujour.com/culture/danai-gurira-walking-dead-eclipsed-interview/

Source URL: https://dujour.com/culture/kyle-gallner-outsiders/