Here's What Smile Star Kyle Gallner Would Want To See In A Sequel [Exclusive]

This post contains spoilers for "Smile."

"Smile," the biggest original horror movie of the year, is now available to buy on Digital HD and just premiered on Paramount+ after its 45-day exclusive theatrical window. Anyone who happened to miss director Parker Finn's frightening directorial debut now has the chance to catch the curse in the comfort of their own home. That may not protect you from experiencing the same amount of torment that star Sosie Bacon endures as her haunted character Rose Cutter, a hospital psychologist who's forced to confront her own inner demons as she encounters a strange presence that causes people do die by suicide. There's a real sense of dread in "Smile," due mainly to the hopelessness Rose feels as the people she loves begin to abandon her in her darkest time of need. Gifted actor Kyle Gallner plays Rose's ex-boyfriend Joel, a detective who believes something is trying to kill her. By the time the ending rolls around, Joel's fate is still uncertain, even if Rose's fate is sealed. 

Gallner is one of the most electric actors working today, who just delivered his best career performance in the coming-of-age punk rock gem "Dinner in America." His co-star role in "Smile" gives him a good deal of screen time, but a true sequel that picks up right after the events of the first film could give Gallner the spotlight he so rightly deserves. If Paramount is planning to capitalize on the phenomenal success of "Smile," Gallner says he hasn't heard anything yet. "I don't know. Nobody's talked to me. I know nothing about it," Gallner recently told /Film's own Jacob Hall. "It's one of those things, if I was a betting man with how much money it's made and how well it did, I have to imagine people are talking. What that means, if that means Joel's in it or not, I have no idea." 


What would Kyle Gallner like to see in a sequel?

If a second "Smile" movie continues the story, it would almost be an insult if Gallner wasn't involved. His character Joel is a crucial part of the plot who'd have to be addressed in a sequel. Gallner has a good idea about where and, specifically, when the story could take place. He tells /Film:

"I think there is something interesting to picking up a film like that almost immediately after. Because usually it's something where it's like, you see the curse, it happens, and then it cuts, and it's a whole new group of people. And it does the same thing again. It's kind of cool because there're already rules established with these characters that already know certain things. So it's not like they have to go back and try to relearn all of these things all over again."

Along with Gallner, we can only conjecture about what direction and shape a sequel could take. But starting the story moments after the tragic ending of "Smile" makes sense considering that the sinister force possessing this interconnected group can transfer to someone else instantaneously. That storytelling device is usually effective and can be seen in other horror movies like "Halloween II," which starts immediately after the events of Carpenter's original.

Gallner also makes a good point about not needing pointless exposition that the audience already knows if you start a follow-up with his character, Joel, who is already intimately involved with the curse. "So I think the fact that it could pick up from a new spot where these people have a little bit of a leg up, I don't know, I think you can take that in a whole lot of different directions, but you still have the ticking clock."

Pushing a potential sequel even further

In "Smile," Rose and Joel discover from another victim named Robert Talley that committing murder can potentially break the curse and keep the smile victims from ultimately dying by suicide. Rose isn't willing or capable of going down that road, but maybe Joel is? He does end up witnessing something terrible that potentially passes the curse onto him, after all. Continuing to talk about the possibilities with /FIlm, Gallner said, "I think it would be just about pushing it further and exploring further. I mean, you have the whole potential murder thing that breaks the curse. Maybe something goes on with that." 

There could be another possible loophole to break the curse that would help to expand on the mythology. Gallner continued:

"Maybe Joel f****** ices somebody and then decides he's going to try to help that person and figure out the curse. I don't know. There's a bunch of different ways it can go. That's why I'm not writing it, because I don't have that skill set to continue this on."

Hopefully, Parker Finn, who also wrote the screenplay, will want to direct a sequel to his smash hit that includes Gallner, just so the actor doesn't have to do it himself. Gallner is up for returning, even if he can't officially say anything definitive. "I think it could be fun to play with," he admits. "And if they want me back as Joel to jump into that sandbox, I'm more than happy to come in and play. How was that for a non-answer?"