An acclaimed actor of both stage and screen, Peter Gallagher is a true renaissance man and a really nice fella to boot. Peter spoke exclusively with Celebrity Parents about his recent film, Adam, love, and his upcoming show, Peter Gallagher: Don’t Give Up On Me.
How did you get involved in the movie Adam?
It was a family affair in a way. I’ve known the producer and the writer/director of Adam for 20 years. When I was sent director Max Mayer’s script, it was a combination of dread and anticipation. When I read it — to my delight — I found it fantastic. I said, “I’m in. Let’s do it.”
The process was very encouraging. Max was a great director. I thought, “If we’re not careful, this could be a good movie.” I saw a screening of it and I thought, “Oh, I think it is a good movie!” Then we saw a virgin screening of it at Sundance, and the audience lost their minds. I thought, “Oh, God, it’s a good movie.” And then the most remarkable thing happened: Fox Searchlight picked it up. I think they’re the only ones out there who know how to take a movie like this and give it a life. Adam is a movie you don’t expect to see, because movies of this size are rarely released well. And nobody gets to see them. So that’s my story and I’m sticking to it!
[laughs] Describe what Adam is about.
It’s a story about a young man and a young lady who discover how far and alien each other’s romantic landscape is, much in the same way that most men and most women do. If you talk to most men, they’ll say, “Honey, I had no idea that’s what you were thinking!” It centers on how no one can understand that private landscape unless they somehow talk about it. This man has Asperger’s Syndrome, which makes it hard for him to discern facial expressions and language. But this guy asks questions, which is astounding to Rose Byrne’s character. It’s even more surprising to her when she has to answer those questions.
We see this unlikely couple in a challenging time in their lives, making this remarkable journey together, and then apart. I play the other man in Rose’s life, her father, Marty Buchwald. In her life, he was represented as someone she could always count on. She then discovers that even her father’s life is much more complicated, confusing, and infuriating than she had anticipated. Now, does she choose someone who she can absolutely trust but might not necessarily be everything she’s looking for? Just when you think the movie will get sappy, it’s funny, and it’s always honest. The performances are great, and the timing is right.
What did you take away from it?
There’s no greater thrill than participating in a story that’s well-told. And all of us realized that if you are involved, if you keep showing up, and trip away, marvelous things can happen. And when you do it with people you love, for the people you love, there’s nothing greater.
What do you have planned for the future?
I just finished the last eight episodes of “Californication”. I think that was the greatest time in my life. It’s about as funny as anything I’ve ever worked on. I just finished a film with Hilary Swank called Betty Anne Waters. I play Barry Scheck, and it’s another terrific movie directed by another friend of mine, Tony Goldwyn.
I’m also going to debut a show I wrote in Chicago this November called Peter Gallagher: Don’t Give Up On Me.
That’s a great title!
It’s going to be songs and stories of an actor’s life. It’s pretty much a version of a show that I did two years ago that was well received. I’m going to sing songs from shows I’ve done, and songs I’ve done separately. I also tell stories about working with Jimmy Cagney, Art Carney, Jack Lemmon, and Peter O’Toole, all these icons of mine I was lucky to work with.
It all comes together in a backstage sketch. It’s the life of an actor that you don’t normally get to hear about, because all you hear about is power and money and lists. You never hear what happens between the moments. I have to tell these stories while there are still people who know who they are, and who can physically get to the theater!
It sounds wonderful.
You’ve gotta mix it up, and keep life interesting. That’s what it’s about.