“From the surface, it looks like a very simple homespun story about a quintessential American family, but you start diving in deeper and realize there is years of pain and secrets and resentments,” reveals actor John Gallagher, Jr. during our recent video chat (watch below) about his role in the HBO limited series “Olive Kitteridge.”
Gallagher co-stars as Christopher Kitteridge, the troubled adult son of Olive (Frances McDormand) and Henry (Richard Jenkins). The character grew up in Maine under his demanding and cold mother, now blaming her for many of his problems, including depression and a lack of self-confidence. The audience sees Christopher when he returns home to get married and a few years later when remarried and living a modest life in Brooklyn.
On working with McDormand, he says, “For my money, this was one of the most tremendous performances I think I’ve ever seen on film. She jumped right in and was so unafraid to be tough and be unlikeable and to ultimately be loveable at the same time, which is a really hard balance.”
When Olive visits her son in New York late in the program, he decides it is time to confront her about their relationship. He adds, “After years of wrestling with it and trying to figure out how he feels, it’s almost like letting the floodgates open for all of that anger, and frustration, and hurt, and pain, so it’s kind of coming out faster than he can keep up with it.”
Gallagher will contend in Best TV Movie/Limited Series Supporting Actor. He will also have one final chance to be nominated as Best Drama Supporting Actor for his three-season run on HBO’s Aaron Sorkin series “The Newsroom.” He played news producer Jim Harper, who finally got the girl of his dreams (Alison Pill) and even showed his musical side in the finale by playing in a makeshift garage band with Will (Emmy winner Jeff Daniels).
Music is how many people first became aware of Gallagher through his Tony-winning role in 2007 for “Spring Awakening” and then shortly after for the Green Day musical “American Idiot.”
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