Upon browsing my Twitter feed one night, I stumbled across an amazing set production photograph of Gizmo the mogwai from Gremlins. Of course being a huge 80’s movie fan, I just had to follow Billy Peltzer himself, Zach Galligan!
Amongst the cats, rock’n’roll and travel photos he shares alongside tidbits from his long career, I was pleased to find out that he had auditioned for Randy Anderson in The Outsiders. I was also pleasantly surprised that he was a huge fan of Rumble Fish, even using a screencap from the movie as his twitter background and header.
His Twitter account shows his Motorcycle Boy background and graffiti sign header.
After a few tweets back and forth I asked Zach if he’d answer a few questions for this site and am delighted to share his answers and thoughts on two of our favourite movies.
After starting out as an actor, Zach found himself on an Outsiders audition where he was nervous. “Since if I did well, it meant I would have to read for Coppola. I don’t remember anything extraordinary about the audition process, other than there were suddenly a whole lot more young men in the casting office than I can ever remember having seen. There were lots of young actors for all sorts of different parts, so it was difficult to tell who was trying out for which character.”
From the amazing casting scenes well documented in the behind the scenes footage of The Outsiders, we know they had lots of actors swap characters and read different roles in different scenes.
Zach remembers his Randy audition scene as “one leading up to the fight in the rain.”
Upon release Zach enjoyed The Outsiders but “I thought it was a little over-the-top. I infinitely preferred the black and white grittiness of Rumble Fish.”
As Zach had already auditioned for The Outsiders, I thought maybe the industry might have kept him in the loop when Francis Coppola went on to make Rumble Fish but it turns out he found out the same way as fellow movie fans, reported by the press in 1982.
“There was a big article on Matt Dillon in Rolling Stone, and it talked about him shooting Rumble Fish in Tulsa. It also mentioned him making out with Diane Lane and having purple hair, both of which sounded incredibly cool. So I was definitely keyed up to see the film when it opened.”
Zach’s first experience of seeing Rumble Fish was in New York and he instantly became a fan. “I saw it at the Ziegfield theater the week it opened,” he says. “I loved it from the opening frame; in fact, I was pretty obsessed with the trailer – the look, the visual quality, the music, everything – so the fact that I loved the movie was not particularly surprising.”
As Zach lived, worked and partied in ’80s NYC, a regular haunt of Matt Dillon, Mickey Rourke, Diane Lane and Vincent Spano, I wondered if he’d ever had the chance to discuss one of his favourite movies. I thought it may not be the done thing for actors to discuss other movies, but actors love what they do and other movies too, right? Zach explains, “I’ve met many of the cast members all very briefly at different times of my life. Sadly, the opportunity to discuss Rumble Fish has never presented itself with one notable exception; I had the pleasure of having a long discussion with Vincent Spano back in ’99 in which he told me about the making of the film. He clearly enjoyed my enthusiasm for what was, by that time, a major cult movie in the making.”
As someone who saw it back in the day during its theatrical release and loved it, I wondered if he felt Rumble Fish had lost any of its appeal over the years, but Zach revealed that he’s kept his love for the film alive, as “the movie totally holds up today. I’ve screened it for many people and turned lots of my friends onto it, and everybody seems to dig it just as much today as they did back in ’83.” As befitting the cult classic status and a personal favourite, Zach continues to screen it.” I usually watch it at least once a year, so the last time I saw it was this last July 2014. It’s just a fantastic film, and one of my all-time favorites.”
I totally agree, thank you Zach for sharing your memories and thoughts on Rumble Fish!
Zach Galligan teaches acting in NYC, and is in pre-production on prison horror movie The Chair alongside Naomi Grossman from American Horror Story. They will be in attendance at London Film and Comic Con this summer, so come by and get a photoshoot or an autograph. You can also drop him a line on Twitter or follow him on Instagram.