How Atypical’s Keir Gilchrist Became Hollywood’s Favorite Outsider Teen

“I’m mostly excited, yet I’m apparently a small nervous,” Keir Gilchrist pronounced recently from Los Angeles. With a premiere of Atypical currently on Netflix, a 24-year-old actor is creation his entrance as a lead on a TV series. His feelings are, of course, totally standard for an up-and-coming actor, yet his anxieties also tumble in line with a bland appearance of his impression Sam, a neurotic, windbag 18-year-old during a core of a series, whose struggles navigating high propagandize and girls are magnified by a fact that he also happens to be on a autism spectrum.

Gilchrist is not autistic, yet he has finished it his specialty personification outsiders—and utterly those who have found themselves there in partial since of their mental illness, that Gilchrist struggles with himself. When he finished his breakthrough as a suicidal teen conflicting Emma Roberts and Zach Galifianakis in a 2010 film It’s Kind of a Funny Story, he was in fact saying a therapist for basin himself—and, in between all that, starring in a United States of Tara, a Showtime array centered on churned celebrity disorder, in that he played Toni Collette’s son (and a immature Brie Larson’s brother).

On a United States of Tara, Gilchrist’s impression also happened to be gay, that is how Atypical handles Sam’s autism—to acknowledge it yet vouchsafing it totally conclude him. After all, we can describe to his awkwardness, and everybody has attribute problems. And while it’s during times tough to giggle when many of a amusement hinges on Sam’s idiosyncrasies—his genocide glisten when his therapist asks him to try to smile, or his noisy outburst during his mom that he would customarily like to finally see some boobs—it is something of a step brazen to see someone with autism go about his daily life in American Apparel hoodies, Bose headphones, and a leather jacket, rather than a standard other-ing identifiers customarily seen onscreen.

As Gilchrist is discerning to remind, though, “people don’t unequivocally like to speak about it much,” yet mental illness is indeed “very common”; it’s his bargain of that, and his joining to portraying a amiability and, well, typicalness of Sam, that in a finish carries a show. Here, a actor talks how he landed a role, got his first-ever lady recommendation from Brie Larson, and spends his giveaway time screaming in grindcore and genocide steel bands, here.

Were we ever wavering about personification someone on a autism spectrum, generally given that we don’t occur to be so yourself?

I mean, we consider we was generally excited. we try do something opposite with all of my roles; I’m not perplexing to customarily rehash a same characters. we review a book and customarily fell in adore with it right away; it customarily seemed like a new event and plea for me, and a fact that a lead impression was on a autism spectrum indeed unequivocally captivated me to a series. Both [creator and author Robia Rashid] and we have had personal practice with friends and people on a spectrum, that is primarily what we talked about with a plan and Sam—and primarily what we kind of connected in when we initial met.

Once we got a role, how did we go about scheming for it?

Robia had finished a unequivocally glorious pursuit with all a initial investigate when essay a pilot, that helped me immensely. From there, it was unequivocally many a collaborative bid when we were reckoning out who Sam was and where he was on a spectrum, that is apparently unequivocally high-functioning. we watched documentaries, yet substantially a many useful bit of investigate we did to get into Sam’s conduct space was a book called a Journal of Best Practices [A Memoir of Marriage, Asperger Syndrome, and One Man’s Quest to Be a Better Husband], that is indeed featured on a show, too. It’s really, unequivocally glorious and we unequivocally suggest it.

Did we watch any other portrayals of people with autism onscreen? Were there any stereotypes or missteps in those past portrayals in sold that we sought to avoid?

It was some-more documentaries and interviews. we kind of try to equivocate examination other performances in ubiquitous when I’m perplexing to emanate a role, since we don’t wish to incidentally reconstruct what someone else has done. we indeed haven’t unequivocally ever lerned with any behaving teachers or coaches or anything like that; I’ve always kind of have had my possess approach of doing things and am heedful of vouchsafing anyone else inspiring a approach we do what we do. With any character, we try to make it come from a genuine place, since we unequivocally like a super-natural character of acting. My favorite thing is to watch an actor and, even yet we commend and know a actor, indeed trust all they’re doing. That’s kind of how we like and wish to go about it.

I’ve review a few churned reactions from people with autism who’d listened about a show—what have we suspicion of a response to a uncover so far?

Right now it’s mostly a shave and a trailer that’s out, yet so distant for a many partial it’s seemed utterly certain and people have seemed vehement to see it. But we try not to get too held adult reading YouTube comments and all of that because, we mean, I’m already somebody who suffers from anxiety, and infrequently that doesn’t help.

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Keir Gilchrist as Sam in Netflix’s Atypical.

I suppose that’s customarily finished we some-more on house with a show’s whole premise—that we all can describe to Sam. Do we brand with him during all?

Oh totally, yeah, we totally brand with Sam. There’s a lot about him I’d contend we have identical qualities to. In general, he’s an outsider, and we mean, I’m 24 now and Sam’s 18, yet generally during that theatre in my life we always felt like utterly an outsider, during school. It was apparently for opposite reasons, yet we unequivocally describe to that feeling. Another thing we unequivocally beheld is that Sam gets unequivocally obsessive—especially in his box in regards to biology, Antarctica, and animals—and we also will get unequivocally fixated on a theme and spend a lot of time researching certain things we find fascinating. So we unequivocally describe to carrying these subjects you’re spooky with that other people don’t know or find that interesting—all of my friends can demonstrate to a fact that we unequivocally mostly get unequivocally vehement about things and go on and on about them, and afterwards I’ll comprehend during some indicate during a review that no one else is all that meddlesome in what I’m articulate about.

So what’s your chronicle of penguins and Antarctica?

I’m spooky with ancient history. But we also adore animals as well—I find that theme some-more privately utterly fascinating. Very mostly on set, we was going like, “Oh wow, did we guys know this about arctic foxes? They’re flattering crazy.”

Are all those factoids Sam dispenses on a uncover still in your head?

Yeah, yeah. we have a very—my mom calls it “garbage brain.” My father and I, we kind of customarily take in all about something and remember lots and lots of details. But I’m not so good during remembering things like profitable bills and other critical things.

Speaking of moms, what was it like have Jennifer Jason Leigh play your mom onscreen?

I mean, she’s an implausible actress. That was another outrageous and for removing concerned with a show. Unfortunately a characters are kind of branching apart, so we kind of have a apart storylines—at slightest in this season. I’m anticipating we get a second season—it’d be good to be behind on set with a family.

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Keir Gilchrist as Sam in Netflix’s Atypical.

Did being on the United States of Tara, another uncover about a family involving mental illness, assistance we during all in scheming for Atypical, too?

I indeed hadn’t suspicion about it too much, since that was a prolonged time ago now, yet in my work over a years I’ve unequivocally finished a few opposite things that concerned mental illness; it’s something that’s unequivocally fascinating to me.

You mentioned stress before. Do we also have knowledge with mental illness yourself?

Yeah. Mental illness is unequivocally common, and people don’t unequivocally like to speak about it much, yet we do onslaught with stress a lot. It’s not as bad right now, yet we have in a past and, we know, it’s still a daily thing for me. Depression and stress are both unequivocally tighten to home for me and things we unequivocally onslaught with. I’ve seen therapists and finished a lot of work to get to where we am so that I’m means to duty and get adult in a morning and go do what we need to do.

Is that story also partly since we collect a roles we do? we privately find a onscreen depiction of people with basin in sold to be frustrating, usually. Do we agree? And are we anticipating to scold that?

I unequivocally determine with you; we find a portrayals mostly aren’t loyal to my experiences. we mean, we unequivocally didn’t ever contend to my agent, “This is something that we wish to do, customarily demeanour for these kinds of roles,” yet they send me a lot of things and those are customarily a roles that seductiveness me. we theory we do ride to them, and we wish to do a best pursuit possible. It’s Kind of a Funny Story was my initial lead in a film, and that was when we unequivocally felt like, Oh wow, this could go somewhere if we work during it and take it seriously—and while we was operative on that, and we was also saying a therapist and struggling with my possess depression, so it was indeed unequivocally cathartic. we found that a lot of a work customarily unequivocally helped me work by a lot of issues that it substantially would have taken me a lot longer to get my conduct around.

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Keir Gilchrist as Sam in Netflix’s Atypical.

On a lighter note, behind to the United States of Tara, we contingency have some noted memories from carrying Brie Larson as your sister and Toni Collette as your mom.

Working with them was amazing. Toni Collette is one of my favorite actors, and we schooled so many from her. She was so warm; she took me to collect out my fit for prom. Beyond that, customarily being 15 and being in a room with her examination her behaving was a outrageous influence—and Brie as well. I’m really, unequivocally unapproachable of all she’s accomplished, and to have gotten to work with her during that indicate was unequivocally special. we schooled tons from both of them—also customarily about life. we was a child on that show, so they would console me about girls and whatever. So they’re both dual people we adore unequivocally dearly and whom I’ve schooled tons from; both are apparently unequivocally bustling and work a lot, and I’ve been unequivocally busy, yet we do see any other any once in a while.

Speaking of your other roles, it seems like you’re always drawn to darker, alien characters. Is that on purpose, or are we customarily typically expel that way?

It’s always that combination—the casting apparently knows your work, and for me I’m certain that’s non-stop adult certain doors in darker subjects. But also in ubiquitous I’m customarily unequivocally captivated to dark, heavy, and joyless art and music; flourishing up, we was unequivocally into hardcore punk and punk music, so like, Friday nights after finishing work on United States of Tara I’d always go to a punk uncover in a backyard in easterly L.A. Now I’m in a grub rope and we customarily started a genocide steel band, so I’m still unequivocally concerned with energy assault and grub and hardcore and we go to shows all a time. It’s still a outrageous partial of my life; there was one day on Atypical that we left after lunch and gathering out to a venue and played a uncover after work, and I’ve flown out to play shows over a weekend, too. I’ve finished it transparent to my illustration that both need to be accommodated, yet during a same time, it’s kind of ideal since when I’m not working, we can unequivocally concentration on song and removing things recorded. we do vocals, so right now, I’ve been doing a garland of screaming and all that. [Laughs.] But in general, those are customarily a scripts that unequivocally kind of get my attention—it isn’t even indispensably a unwavering thing.

I saw we were also during one indicate set to be in a film called King Dork, and we unequivocally seem to be typecast a bit that approach as well, like in 2014’s It Follows. Or is that also entrance from a place of experience—would we call yourself a loyal nerd?

Oh yeah, unequivocally no contrition on that: we am unequivocally a very, unequivocally nerdy person, and I’ve always felt that way. And we wish we could contend we was in King Dork—it was one of my favorite books in high school. we unequivocally associated to it. They were going to do a film, that during one indicate Seth Gordon was trustworthy to—but he indeed finished adult directing some of Atypical, so it was cold since we indeed eventually did get to get on set together in a end.

Related: Emma Stone Never Thought She’d Be Able to Move Away From Home Because of Her Anxiety

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