John Gallagher Jr. says his horror film Come Play is a kindred spirit to Poltergeist


Come Play John Gallagher Jr.

In the new horror movie Come Play, John Gallagher Jr. plays Marty, whose son communes with an otherworldly presence named Larry.


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This story is part of I’m So Obsessed (subscribe here), our podcast featuring interviews with actors, artists, celebrities and creative types about their work, career and current obsessions.

Whether it was starring as Liam Dempsey Jr. in the third season of Westworld on HBO, or popping up in shows and films like Newsroom and 10 Cloverfield Lane, actor and musician John Gallagher Jr. has a pretty eclectic career. All this is bolstered by the fact that he starred in the original Broadway productions of Spring Awakening and American Idiot, based on the album by Green Day. So it comes as no surprise to see Gallagher star alongside Gillian Jacobs in the new inventive horror film Come Play.

Gallagher was my guest on CNET’s I’m So Obsessed podcast and described Come Play as a horror film intertwined with a family drama. Listen to the interview below.

“It’s basically a film about a normal blue-collar family struggling to make ends meet. I play the father, Marty, and Gillian Jacobs plays my wife, Sarah,” said Gallagher. “We’re in the process of splitting up, and we’re trying to take care of our 8-year-old son, Oliver, who is on the spectrum. He finds himself communing with an otherworldly presence through his smartphone.”

One of the things that appealed to Gallagher about the film was how Come Play used the devices we have within reach every day as a framework to explore isolation and alienation. Gallagher even thinks the movie has echoes of the 1983 film Poltergeist.

Poltergeist “was a film that dealt with technology, with this ghost being inside the television that kidnaps this young girl from her family,” said Gallagher. “We’re almost playing with that motif a little bit here by having it be the young boy. But instead of the TV, it’s smartphones and tablets. So it feels like a kindred spirit.”

During our conversation, we discuss the film, whether Liam was a robot or not in Westworld, Gallagher’s music career and how 10 Cloverfield Lane got its title.

Listen to my entire conversation with Gallagher on Spotify or Apple Podcasts. Come Play is now out in theaters. Also, you can subscribe to I’m So Obsessed on your favorite podcast app. In each episode, Connie Guglielmo and I catch up with an artist, actor or creator to learn about work, career and current obsessions.



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