LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 08: Steven Spielberg attends Hammer Museum's 18th Annual Gala in the Garden on October 08, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images for Hammer Museum)
Movies - TV
Casting The Lead Roles In Gremlins Was An Easy Choice For Steven Spielberg
Joining the 1980s horror-comedy movie wave, Joe Dante’s “Gremlins” told the story of a fictional American town overrun by furry creatures. Steven Spielberg served as the film’s executive producer and held sway over the casting process, which led to the hiring of then-unknown Zach Galligan and the already-established Phoebe Cates as the teenage protagonists.
While Galligan had few acting credits, his chemistry with Cates was enough for Spielberg. The actor had already done several auditions with Cates and felt comfortable with her, saying, “When it came to the session for Gremlins, I rested my head on her shoulder and gazed at the camera. I’m told Steven Spielberg said: ‘Oh my God, look at that! He’s in love with her already. I don’t need to see anything else.’”
Other performers may have been intimidated to work with the “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” actress, but Galligan was focused on not losing his job. “I was just a deeply terrified, inexperienced young actor doing my best not to get sacked,” said Galligan, who also had to work heavily with animatronic puppets and marionettes for the film.