David Gallagher is 18 at last, after growing up on TV as Simon Camden on The WB's 7th Heaven. He chatted with IML about family, friends, and his plans for the future.
IML: How are the Camdens different from your own family?
David: We actually are similar to the Camdens in size. I've got two brothers and two sisters, so we're a huge household. Luckily, I live above the garage in an apartment that separates me, just like the Camdens. My siblings are 15, 12, 10 and 6.
IML: What do you usually argue about with your brothers and sisters?
David: We fight about everything! But I think that's basically the same as "getting along fine" in a family.
IML: How do they feel about you being famous?
David: It's something they're used to. My youngest brother Killian was born the first year of the show, so he's always seen me on TV. My other brother and sisters are used to it because I did film before 7th Heaven and I was on Broadway in New York. I'm just their brother.
IML: Do any of your siblings want to follow your path?
David: They have wanted to, and they tried. My oldest sister Michelle doesn't like it. She did an independent film with Mira Sorvino a few years back and she decided she didn't like it and it wasn't for her. My brother Kyle and my sister Kelly were in the original cut of The General's Daughter for a small piece and then they decided the same thing. They weren't growing up into it and it wasn't their speed. They do their own thing.
IML: What would you be doing if you couldn't act?
David: I don't know. I would be in New York first of all. God knows what I'd be running around doing in New York! I went back two years ago and I saw a lot of the kids I grew up with and I have no idea what I'd be doing if I was still back there.
IML: What are the downfalls to being a teenager AND an actor?
David: It's hard and it's easy at the same time. It's hard in the way that I've grown up with the world, so the world gets the assumption that they know me personally. You get that strange approach from people and they come over and treat you like they've known you for 7 years. It's interesting to see the fan base and how people treat you when you go out. I have friends who still don't know what they want to do with their lives and they're trying to figure out who they are and what their calling is and where their place is. I've known since before I was 5, so that's one of the good things about what I do. I set my place when I was 8 and I did my first film. I've always known myself and been comfortable with myself, and that's eliminated teenage problems for me.
IML: Do you have fans come up to you and tell you they've been positively affected by a particular episode?
David: All the time. Almost every time I get approached by a fan, they tell me what the show means to them. If they approach me with that mind set it's always positive. It's not too often that it's kids because 7th Heaven isn't the usual "cool" type of show that kids like to admit they watch…but they do. Anything you watch affects you one way or another.
IML: Was there a particular issue on the show that was important to you?
David: I'd really like to see us do an episode on Autism. My little brother Killian is 6 and he was diagnosed with Autism when he was 3. That's an issue I'm waiting on, and hopefully we'll do that. The one episode that really touched me was an episode that we did in season 1 or 2 on the Holocaust. That was an episode where I learned something myself.
IML: How did you get your start in acting?
David: I was appearing in print advertising before I could talk, and it was a hobby for my mom when we were living in Queens. As I booked different ads, it was a little bit of income and I got to be in the newspaper, and my mom kept the clippings. It slowly became commercials and then it slowly became TV movies and series, and then the big screen and Broadway. Then we moved out to LA. Because I grew up into acting, I was always comfortable doing it. I can't count how many times my mom asked me if I wanted to stop. I would tell her, "No! I love it. It gets me out of school early. It's quality time and when I do well, I get rewards." I got to go away when I got a job and see new places and meet new people, and it was easy for me.
IML: Are you looking into doing film?
David: Yes. I have a lot of projects that I'm looking at right now, and hopefully they'll come together in the future. I'm also writing an original screenplay. I hope to get it made - if everything goes according to plan - as soon as next year.
IML: Tell us about something you're really good at.
David: I'm a dancer. I do it all when it comes to dancing! I do reggae and hip hop dancing. I'm all over the field. It's a watch-and-learn thing, and you have to have some sort of rhythm embedded in you. I'm half-Cuban, so I use that.
IML: What can't you do?
David: I can't not be "flashy"! People are always giving me a hard time about my flashy watch and sunglasses.
IML: Do you have any phobias?
David: I have an extreme distaste for spiders. I can't stand them. I guess it's an arachnaphobia. They flip me out!
IML: How do you feel about being a teen idol and having people look up to you?
David: I still don't believe it, but I guess you can't help it with my age. I just turned 18. My friends do this thing to me now. I had a bunch of people stay over, and in the morning my mom was going to make us pancakes but we had to go to the supermarket to get some stuff. We passed the magazines and they said, "Let's see if we can find David in the magazines." They found me in two of them. They decided to walk around saying to people, "Do you know this guy in this magazine? There he is," and completely brought me out to the whole supermarket.
IML: How do you keep yourself grounded through all of this?
David: I don't pay attention to it. It's not something I brought upon myself. My friends goof on it enough that it keeps me away from it.
IML: Do you have a role model or idol?
David: I think Brad Pitt's a cool guy. He's always changing up and I aspire to be like that. He has good taste in projects, too.
IML: How are your college plans going to fit into the show?
David: I don't know yet. I haven't gotten word on how any of it's going to work. They haven't told me yet. I applied to five colleges and I've gotten three acceptance letters so far. I'm waiting on NYU and USC and they don't send back until April 1st. As soon as I get the USC letter, that will determine it because that it's my first choice. I want to be a film major. School comes first, and then work, and then play.
IML: What's the best part of being 18?
David: It doesn't feel different. It's the same stuff. I still have to sign up for the draft, and I can excuse myself at school, and I can vote. I guess I can get into some clubs!
IML: You've gotten a bigger part in the show with Barry Watson and Jessica Biel leaving. Was that good news for you?
David: In kind of a selfish way, I guess it was good news. I can't ignore it. It will definitely give me more of a chance to come out as a character, and it will provide more opportunities to hold the show up, which is cool. Then again, it really just depends on your appetite. I'm not the kind of person who really worries about how much screen time I get on the show. I don't need that to feel good about myself -- I know who I am as a person.
IML: Thanks, David…and good luck with the college thing!
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