Kyle Gallner on A Nightmare on Elm Street and Acting Scared in a Speedo

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There's something about Kyle Gallner that does "tortured" so well. Whether he's exacting torment on his classmates in Veronica Mars or suffering at the hands of evil in Jennifer's Body and A Haunting in Connecticut, the 23-year-old actor isn't afraid to let fear and ferocity flicker across his baby face, and it's a trait that serves him well as Quentin, the high-schooler who bears the brunt of Freddy Krueger's wrath in the new remake of Nightmare on Elm Street.

This week, Movieline spoke to Gallner about two intriguing indies he has coming up (Goodnight Moon and Beautiful Boy) and the most horrifying part of his Elm Street experience: acting in the near-nude for days on end.

Before we get to talking about Elm Street, I wanted to ask you about Goodnight Moon. We profiled the director Elgin James last summer, as he was about to start shooting, and then he got busted for extortion. What's happened since?

I don't have too much information on it -- I'm just happy it came together. I actually booked Goodnight Moon, which is now called Little Birds, while I was filming Nightmare. I put myself on tape in Chicago.

What can you tell me about the story? You play this kind of thuggish kid who lures some young girls into crime?

It's about these two girls who live in the Salton Sea and they meet up with me and my friends, and it's almost like this Peter Pan effect of being free and doing whatever you want, but in reality they're just kids. They kind of learn that lesson in the worst possible way at the end of the movie. It's this interesting story about these kids getting in trouble and realizing that they're not as mature as they think they are.

What's your impression of Elgin? He's got an insane back story, from gang leader to filmmaker.

I know, his back story is incredible. He's like the nicest guy, super charismatic and really passionate about the movie. We actually shot our first day yesterday, and I was really excited to just get on set. I've been attached to it for almost a year now.

All right, so: Nightmare on Elm Street. At what point did it sink in for you, "Oh, I'm playing a high school swimmer, and I have to do my character's centerpiece dream sequence in a Speedo?"

[Laughs] When I read the script. I was like, "Oh Jesus. They will have the palest person in the world in a Speedo, with a color scheme that does not help out."

It's not the most flattering film anyway. All the actors have to look kind of tired and sleep-deprived throughout.

Yeah, but it's kind of painful when you're sitting there in a Speedo and there's no way to heat up the water, so they're dumping cold water on you and it's 40 degrees and you're in the middle of a dynamited-out steel factory, walking on shrapnel for nine hours.

Yeah, that doesn't sound enticing. You know, the casting call said, "Think Johnny Depp" for your character. Did you think Johnny Depp, or did you want it to be as far from that as possible?

It's a hard thing, because the character and plotline and the arc my character has isn't really the same as Johnny Depp in the original movie. There's also that factor of seeing who Johnny Depp is now...it's kind of like, oh please don't compare me! I'm far too young and not in the same place in my career. It's kind of scary to see your name next to his. It's kind of a weird thing. The script is different and the story is different, so to kind of replicate what they did just wouldn't work for the movie. Not that the movie went so far out of the way from the original, but it's different in a lot of ways from the first one. We had to come up with our own take on it and create these characters ourselves.

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