Interview by Gerard Way // Photography by Odessy Barbu Styling by Darius Baptist // Grooming by Kylee Heath
Even though he’s still getting laughs out of an audience every week from those turned into his newest TV venture, Johnny Galecki has come a long way from his Roseanne days and shows the world why geek has become the ultimate chic.
When Johnny Galecki was three years old, he knew he wanted to be an actor. Born in Bree, Belgium and later raised in Chicago, this self-proclaimed geek has paved a way for himself within Hollywood on his own terms. After memorable roles in notable films such as Suicide Kings, Bounce and The Opposite of Sex and his portrayal of David Healy on the ever-popular television show Roseanne, Johnny has once again struck a chord on the small screen, keeping millions tuned in each week. Earlier this year, his performance as Leonard Hofstadter – an experimental physicist (whose vulnerability and sweetness has made him alluring to fans) on CBS’ The Big Bang Theory – landed him a Primetime Emmy Awards nomination for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series. Although the trophy went home with co-star Jim Parsons, the mere nod was a clear indication that there’s a nerd infatuation among the masses.
A chance encounter on the Warner Bros. lot where The Big Bang Theory tapes brought together two different types of talent who have been fans of each other for quite some time. Johnny has been an enormous supporter of My Chemical Romance’s Gerard Way – not only for the music, but his writing ability, too. MCR’s lead vocalist and writer of the Eisner Award-winning comic book The Umbrella Academy, is just as familiar with the comedic actor’s body of work and has always wondered what motivates this guy from role to role. On the surface, this may seem like an odd pairing, but when you get to the heart of the conversation you realize that art is art.
Gerard: Were you always drawn to acting and knew this was something you could do well?
Johnny: I inherently knew it. It’s a bit freakish, but I honestly don’t know how the word “actor” was in my vocabulary. No one in my family or surrounding family was an actor, but that was my answer whenever I was asked what I wanted to be. I didn’t know that early I could be good at it, but I knew it was for me.
Gerard: How did a choice like that at such a young age go over with your family?
Johnny: Although they were supportive, initially my family tried to distract me with sports and things like that to take my mind off it, but that was primarily in part to them not knowing anything about agents, managers, auditions and the industry as a whole. Eventually, they found an article in the local paper for an open call for Fiddler on the Roof, and that’s how the journey began.
Gerard: What was that first audition like?
Johnny: The idea was for me to go and just watch what actors do in an audition, but I remember jumping onstage and singing “God Bless America” or “Happy Birthday” without even taking out my mouth full of gum, and the people liking it. At this point I was seven, and I think it’s a whole lot easier to take risks and follow what you love when you’re that age versus being an adult.