Christina Jackson and Kyle Gallner Talk WGN’s Outsiders Season 2

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Christina Jackson and Kyle Gallner Talk WGN’s Outsiders Season 2
Posted by Brad Balfour

February 14, 2017

Just like its name, the WGN series “Outsiders” is definitely something that engenders risk; it, so to speak, sits “outside” of expectations. Think about it, a weird community in the hollers of Kentucky resists efforts to corral them under the conventions of the local law while keeping their clan together.

“Outsiders” tells the story of this family clan, the Farrells, who’ve been in rural Kentucky long before the modern world had interceded. Living off the grid and outside of the conventional law on their mountaintop enclave, they protect their world from societal intrusion and defend their way of life using any means necessary. A struggle for power and control ensues in these rugged and mysterious hills of modern-day Appalachia, both within its insular community and from the conventional world beyond it.

The ensemble cast for “Outsiders” includes: David Morse as Big Foster, Ryan Hurst as Lil Foster, Thomas M. Wright as Sheriff T. Wade Houghton; Gillian Alexy as G’Winveer; Kyle Gallner as Hasil; Christina Jackson as Sally-Ann; Joe Anderson as Asa;  Francie Swift as Haylie Grimes; and Rebecca Harris as Ledda.

How do you create characters that audiences would identify without them become a parody? That was the challenge faced by both creator/executive producer/writer Peter Mattei and Executive Producer Peter Tolan. But with intriguing story lines, a set of complex characters and a locale rife with a history of its own, the show has found a large enough audience to launch a second season this January.

Actor Kyle Gallner plays another crucial member of the clan, Hasil, a family member who struggles to choose the world he belongs to — Shay Mountain or the town while being in a forbidden romance. Gallner recently appeared with Chris Pine and Ben Foster in “The Finest Hours.” In 2014, he made a splash in the Sundance hit “Dear White People,” and “American Sniper” starring Bradley Cooper. He was named a Breakout Star of 2011’s Sundance Film Festival after starring in Kevin Smith‘s film “Red State” with Melissa Leo. On TV, Gallner has appeared in “Veronica Mars,” “Cold Case,” “Medium,” “The Closer” and “Criminal Minds.”

He was joined by Christina Jackson who plays Hasil’s forbidden lover interest, Sally-Ann — and is best known for her recurring role as Maybelle Anne White in HBO’s “Boardwalk Empire.” She also was in “Deception” as young Joanna. Jackson has also appeared in such series as “Elementary,” “Blue Bloods,” and “Unforgettable.” recently spoke with Christina Jackson and Kyle Gallner about their characters for the new season.

You have a unique and special relationship throughout the series, how do you make it work and how does it evolves over the course of the series?

Christina Jackson: Sally Ann’s [an outsider herself] in Kentucky. In the first episode of Season One, she comes face to face with a Farrell and it happens to be Hasil, who’s cute, kind and very nice to her and relentless in his pursuit of her, so she gets to know him outside of everything she has heard about the Farrells.

She falls in love and leaves everything she knows to be with him and get to the top of the mountain and find out it’s not exactly what he told her what it was. So in season two she’s left to pick up the pieces and making some very adult decisions and coming to her own and figuring out who she is.

Are you as cute and kind?

Kyle Gallner: Yeah!

How do you express that in a character that lived such a rough life?

KG: These people, they come from a different world. A world where you learn how to use your hands, you build, you fight, but it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re violent. It’s the same thing with Hasil. Hasil is very kind and gentle and he’s a gentle soul, but he comes to a place where it’s “if I have to, I will.”

CJ: Which you do a lot of in Season One.

KG: I’ll defend myself or the woman I love. They hear tales of who these people are, but the reality is different. Hasil is an outsider amongst outsiders, he doesn’t really have a family, he doesn’t feel totally accepted up there and he’s searching for his place. He meets Sally and she pretty much fills in that gap he felt up on the mountain. The two of them have a lot of growing up to do, a lot of places to go, a lot of questions to ask themselves and ask each other. There’s a lot going on in season two, season one was more the romantic fun loving phase.

You’re an outsider to a community and now, even further. Where do you find your outsider sensibilities?

CJ: With Sally she’s a poor black girl in a town of however many hundred. There are no jobs, they’re closing down clinics, it’s reminiscent of what it’s like in these small towns. Her being an outsider, she is a black girl in a population of a lot of white people, but she lives in these very general jobs where she comes into contact with a lot of people. She’s very nice and proper speaking, but she’s very young and naive about a lot of things.

So with season two, it’s more about her coming into contact with Hasil and knowing what’s happening in the mountain and on the town. It forces her to grow up and face a lot of things she did not have to for a very long time, so she’s coming into her own.

Are you coming into your own?

KG: Hasil is, he’s very torn because he’s up on the mountain and given a responsibility and a job for the first time, they want him to take his place up there, but at the same time he’s very much in love with Sally and is trying to figure out how to make that work. So he really has to step up as his own person and make these decisions.

You watch that growth happen as the season goes on and watch him do what needs to be done and assert himself more. You watch that happen with the two of them together and separately.

Outsiders Airs Tuesdays 9/8c on WGN America. 

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