‘Newsroom’ Star John Gallagher Jr. Joins James Gunn’s ‘Belko Experiment’

The “Guardians of the Galaxy” director is producing MGM’s thriller, which he also wrote several years ago

“The Newsroom” alum John Gallagher Jr. is set to star in MGM Studios’ thriller “The Belko Experiment,” which is being produced by “Guardians of the Galaxy” director James Gunn, who announced the news Monday.

Gunn wrote the script several years ago and has described the film as the story of an American company in South America that is “mysteriously sealed off at the beginning of a workday, and its employees are ordered to kill each other or be killed themselves. This starts an escalation of violence, where we discover the true nature of each and every [Belko] employee.”

Greg McLean is directing the movie, which is gearing up to start production in Bogota, Colombia. Peter Safran is producing with Gunn.

“A couple years ago John Gallagher Jr. auditioned for me for a role. You might know him from his fantastic work in the movie Short Term 12 or on the TV show The Newsroom. He didn’t get the role that day — he wasn’t right for the part — but when he walked out of the room I turned to the casting director and said, ‘That’s one of the best actors I’ve seen in my life, and perhaps the best audition I’ve ever seen.’ I became determined to find a way to work with him,” Gunn wrote on Facebook.

“Well, I’m proud to announce that day is today, as John will play Mike Pelk, one of the leads of our film ‘The Belko Experiment.’ The script was written by me, it’s going to be directed by Greg McLean, and produced by myself and Peter Safran. I just came from a table read with John and a bunch of other talented actors, and I can’t wait to get started — which we’ll be doing in June in Bogota, Colombia! More cast and crew members to be announced soon!”

Gallagher Jr. co-starred on the HBO miniseries “Olive Kitteridge” and will soon be seen in Dan Trachtenberg‘s untitled Bad Robot thriller. He’s represented by the Gersh Agency, Global Creative/Station 3 and attorney Kenneth Weinrib.

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