“Newsroom” Star on Music, Love Triangles, Newfound Heartthrob Status

Marni Golden
Photo by Jason Goodrich

Photo by Jason Goodrich

Working at StyleCaster, once in a while we get to experience some excellent perks – a good seat at a fashion show, a top-notch swag bag, and last Sunday, access to a concert by John Gallagher Jr., whose day job is playing Jim Harper on HBO’s latest hit, “The Newsroom.”

Decked out on stage in a fedora, plaid button-down, and much more scruff than his clean-cut HBO character Jim, Gallagher crooned his way through an hour long set in front of a room full of mesmerized ladies. (It should be noted that Gallagher was singing on Broadway before he was acting for HBO; his break-out role was his Tony Award-winning performance in Spring Awakening.) Not only was his talent undeniably evident, but his burgeoning sex symbol status was as well.

After the concert, Gallagher was gracious enough to chat with us (after signing autographs and posing for pictures with fans, of course). We have to say, it’s rare to meet celebrities who are as talented and nice as this guy. Below is an excerpt from our conversation with the actor-slash-crooner, who weighed in on everything from Aaron Sorkin to the best items in his closet.

StyleCaster: We’re so mad that we’re missing “The Newsroom” right now – it looked like a really good one tonight!

John Gallagher Jr.: I know. I regularly fail to remember when I schedule my shows that Sunday nights are when “The Newsroom” airs and not to book anything around nine o’clock. I’ve done it a couple of times now and have definitely frustrated a bunch of people without DVRs at home.

We actually saw you a few years ago at Joe’s Pub with a band.

I was in a band — we were called Old Springs Pike. They’re still together as a trio but I kind of had a situation in my life where I felt that it was very tricky to balance wanting to have a career as a professional actor and a professional musician. They’re so talented and wanted full steam ahead, and I had just won the Tony award for Spring Awakening and I was about 23 years old. As much as I wanted to take some time off and jump in the band and tour, it felt like I was doing a disservice to them as well as the career I’d been cultivating. It was a hard decision to make but we had to part ways.

Well, we loved the music tonight. You’re kind of a mix of Bob Dylan, Nick Drake and Tom Petty. Hope that’s okay with you!

You just referenced three of my favorites! How dare you compare me to legends?!

How do you feel about being a heartthrob? The whopping majority of the crowd tonight was packed with women who were loving it.

I attempt not to cater to any specific demographic, but I’ve noticed that there is a thing that comes to mind — you associate me with musical theater and Broadway, which I never thought that I would stake a claim for myself in. It just happened when I was doing Spring Awakening, which had a huge following. We had people that came upwards of 100 times!

Did you meet Sorkin (creator of “The Newsroom”)?

He’s an incredible guy. You know, I only see him really in work mode because of being on set, but he’s such a force and I don’t know how he comes up with what he does. It’s unbelievable.

I know you can’t give any spoilers – but this love triangle situation. I just want to know, do you end up getting beaten up?

I think the extent of Jim’s physical turmoil is being whacked by the glass door. Now any hurt that he’s going to experience is going to be mental and emotional rather than physical. But season 2, who knows! Someone could get their ass kicked.

It must feel so great to be a part of a truly good show.

So much of this is out of your control as a performer and actor, but I just want to be able to live with what I’ve done. Regardless of it’s a hit or regardless of people love it, it’s something that I can stand behind and I’m glad I did that. I knew from the pilot of “The Newsroom” that I’d ultimately be very happy and feel very lucky to be a part of it.

What’s your favorite theatrical character you’ve played and the one you’d want to play the most?

Not many people know this, but I was the first person to play a role in a production that went on to become The Ides of March with Ryan Gosling playing my role. I did the original production of the play, and Chris Pine played it and there were all these rumors that he was going to be in the film, but Ryan did it.

SC: What are your favorite items in your closet?

JG: My black Levi’s denim jacket. I rarely leave home without it. A brown vintage leather jacket, which is very Johnny Depp in Donnie Brasco. My Avett Brothers T-shirt from 2006 back when the band only had two!

Tune into HBO this Sunday at 10:00PM EST to watch the latest episode of “The Newsroom.”

Additional reporting by Spencer Cain.