Jeff Galfer Interview Part 2
This is part 2 of our interview with Jeff Galfer, who plays Sammy Kirsch on The River. Previously, we talked about how he was cast and what to expect from Sammy. We also excerpted a conversation from Galfer to confirm that Luisana Lopilato is NOT on The River.
The River Fans: You play a cameraman. Does that feel natural for you? Or did you have to get some training from people in the business?
Jeff Galfer: Actually, yes, it felt very natural. When things got slow for me in the acting world, I taught myself how to be a photographer and opened up a whole side business to help supplement my income as an actor. My specialty is product photography (you can see it here), but I delved into just about all aspects of photography. You can see examples of my work at jeffgalferphotography.com. Last March, right before I left for Puerto Rico, my brother and I opened up an exhibition in Los Angeles showcasing our photos and telling our story of our very contentious relationship and how photography healed our relationship. You can see the show at Eyetoeyephotoshow.com. We made two short videos telling the story of our relationship. Is that enough websites for you to go play on yet? If not, check out jeffgalfer.com.
Now, on to answer your question. My experience with photography put me at ease behind the camera and going from still photography to video photography, I could understand a lot of the language used in shooting. Composing a shot is something I am very comfortable with and the video equipment they let me and my partner Shaun Parkes use was not the most advanced equipment. Our director Jaume Collet-Serra would walk us through a shot, but he was very adamant about letting us be creative with our compositions. I’m told that a lot of our camera work made it into the pilot, which is pretty exciting.
The River Fans: I said it jokingly on the blog, but it seems like the likable, comedic types are the first killed off shows. Have you thought about that or does it concern you?
Jeff Galfer: My answer to this is yes I have thought about it and yes it concerns me greatly. My only hope is that fans of the show clamor and scream and yell and push to keep me around as long as they can. The River is a scary and dangerous place and my character only really stands a chance if people make their voice heard. As you well know, the comedic guys always have such bad luck. Here’s crossing my fingers.
The River Fans: We’ve heard that Paulina Gaitan‘s character does not speak English – only Portuguese. Will this be true for other characters?
Jeff Galfer: You know, I think it was originally scripted as Portuguese, but they ended up speaking in Spanish. Paulina is from Mexico City and she spoke very little English. On day one, she designated me as her English teacher and in turn, she would teach me Spanish. I think she learned a lot more English than I learned Spanish and certainly not because I taught her anything of worth. No me gusta being an English teacher.
The River Fans: Had you met any of the cast before filming the pilot? Is there anybody you are particularly excited to work with and why?
Jeff Galfer: Leslie Hope was a friend of a friend, although I had never worked with her. Jaume and I had worked on a Verizon commercial together four years ago. That’s where we met. I saw Bruce Greenwood and Thomas Kretchmann on the cast list and I got sort of silly excited. Star Trek is my favorite old TV show. I used to watch it all the time with my Dad before he passed away. The fact that the reboot of Star Trek was so amazing and Bruce was particularly good in it got me all giddy. Bruce is also one of those guys that has been in everything and you always recognize him when you see him. Meeting him was even better. He was incredibly funny, very professional and was so fun to spend time around. I want to write something for him and myself. We have a very similar comedic edge, I think, and it would be fun to play that out. Thomas was someone I remember specifically from his brilliant performance in Roman Polanski’s The Pianist. The first day he unloaded this story about how Roman directed him in that scene with Adrian Brody where Adrian is playing the piano for the first time and I was enthralled. He is also quite a goofball and I, of course, could not get enough of his energy. Praise, praise, praise. What has happened to me? Have I found happiness? Dear me.
We’ll have Part 3 of our interview with Jeff Galfer soon.