Peter Gallagher has appeared in such memorable roles from Sandy Cohen in The O.C. to John in Sex, Lies and Videotape. The actor is also known for a vast array of Broadway roles such as Stephen Sondheim's Company and an all-male a cappella group called the Beezlebubs.
He recently visited the Windy City to host a storytelling event at the Chicago History Museum and talked Cher, video games and his current show, Covert Affairs.
Windy City Times: Hi, Peter. What are you up to these days?
Peter Gallagher: I have been filming the second season of USA's Covert Affairs up in snowy Toronto.
Windy City Times: Yes, you play CIA Director Arthur Cambell. How is that going?
Peter Gallagher: It is going greatfirst of all, to even have a second season and, personally, because they asked me back! It is a great bunch of people produced by Doug Liman and David Bartis, people I had met on the first season of The O.C. I had always wanted to work with them again. Our cast is great, Piper Perabo…
Windy City Times: I love her!
Peter Gallagher: Also, Sendhil Ramamurthy. It has great writers and crew. We shipped our cars up there and my poor little Prius was battling its way through the snow yesterday and getting blown around. It was a lot of fun to be in the great frozen north.
Windy City Times: Oh, no! Well, you are safe in Chicago now.
Peter Gallagher: I am happy to be back. I saw this event in New York and it is really cool. I was very happy that they asked me.
Windy City Times: How did you get involved with A More Perfect Union: Stories of Prejudice and Power?
Peter Gallagher: Mostly because it is sponsored by USA and The Moth. I am working for USA right now and so I was invited to attend in New York. To see how the whole thing works out. They asked me to host here in Chicago.
Windy City Times: It has talented people telling their stories about discrimination, correct?
Peter Gallagher: Yes, it is a multi-city tour that has gone around the nation. The Moth is a nonprofit organization that specializes in the art and craft of storytelling. In this case it is coordinated with USA's efforts in the Characters Unite tour to combat discrimination and support tolerance and respect. I believe in the power of storytelling and have for years. It is something that brings us together. Especially when there are so many examples in politics and business where stories can be used to divide us. These particular stories are well told and bring us together. It is a powerful thing and creates an environment where prejudice, fear and ignorance can't survive in at least for a moment. So I am happy to be contributing.
Windy City Times: Let's talk about this huge career of yours.
Peter Gallagher: I just won't quit! No matter what they say, I don't give up.
Windy City Times: I just saw you in Burlesque.
Peter Gallagher: There you go! That was with my old pal Cher. She was my date 20 years ago in The Player.
Windy City Times: I forgot about that!
Peter Gallagher: Oh my God, it's a riot. Are you kidding?
Windy City Times: She still looks the same. How does that happen?
Peter Gallagher: It's a miracle. You know what? That is exactly as it should be. She is just as real, beautiful and as funny as ever.
Windy City Times: I really enjoyed that movie.
Peter Gallagher: You know what was cool, too? Denise Faye, who was the assistant for choreography on Chicago and Nine, was the choreographer on this and was one of my Hot Box Girls on Broadway in Guys and Dolls. She played Mimi and had the only line of any of the Hot Box Girls. It was very exciting to be on a movie set 20 years later and watching her choreograph these unbelievable numbers. This was a terrific cast of people from the theatre and the movies. It was a great set to be on.
Windy City Times: You have done so many musicals. Do you want to do more?
Peter Gallagher: Yeah, I love singing. I started off doing that and with any luck I will be able to do more.
Windy City Times: Did you study acting in school?
Peter Gallagher: You know, I didn't. I studied acting independently my whole life. My last acting teacher just died a few years ago and I studied with her for 25 years. I studied music a little bit in college but I got an economics degree, which was a wise thing for me because it reassured me that I had absolutely no aptitude for it or for business. So I rushed headlong to Broadway. I still study singing. You would think after all these years that I would figure it out!
Windy City Times: I read on Wikipedia that you are a big video-game person.
Peter Gallagher: That is not true. That is another Peter Gallagher that they have mixed up. My son was a big video-game person when he was younger.
Windy City Times: We have to set the record straight!
Peter Gallagher: You can't believe everything. You read things like that sometimes and you think, "Okay, why not?" "I wasn't born there but that's okay!"
Windy City Times: So you are not into video games.
Peter Gallagher: I am really not. I just can't play them. I am not good at them at all.
Windy City Times: You have a new movie coming out Someday This Pain Will Be Useful to You.
Peter Gallagher: Yes, it is a great book by Peter Cameron. It is about a young boy coming of age, starring Toby Regbo. He is a beautiful kid and acted in Harry Potter. He plays my son who is 17, turning 18 and figuring out what he is all about. Marcia Gay Harden plays his mother and we are divorced. Ellen Burstyn is in it and Lucy Liu. It is directed by Roberto Faenza from a lovely script and is a real indie. We shot it in New York.
Windy City Times: When does it come out?
Peter Gallagher: We are going to find out very soon, in the next couple of weeks, I think.
Windy City Times: Any other projects that you have coming up?
Peter Gallagher: I might be doing another movie in June and I will be doing this series though October. But I think I can sneak out and do a few other things. I still do my little one-man show that I did at the Drury Lane here in Chicago last year. I just did it in Santa Monica recently. I keep rewriting it and will be at a few performing arts centers coming up. I am just keeping it all going on!
Keep up with Gallagher at www.petergallagher.com/blog and listings for Covert Affairs are located at www.usanetwork.com .