Rock Rivals: Interview With Sean Gallagher
Sean Gallagher has played a variety of roles over the year, appearing opposite David Tennant in Dr Who and as Paul Connor in Coronation Street. Following an explosive exit from the infamous street, Gallagher is back on our screens in ITV’s Rock Rivals as Mal Faith: a powerful, ambitious record producer and judge on the fictional talent show Rock Rivals. Speaking about the role, Gallagher says:
“He is a record producer who, along with his wife, Karina has founded his own label and gone on to star in a talent show called Rock Rivals. He’s incredibly good at what he does, he knows what will work and what won’t work, and his track record in the industry has proven that. At the point at which we meet him, he is at the height of his success and now he believes he is untouchable. He’s gone a bit power crazy.”
The success that Mal has achieved has not been done on his own: his wife Karina, played by Michelle Collins, has been there every step of the way. Partners in life as well as business they seem to all intents and purposes, like the perfect, successful couple.
“They have been partners for such a long time now and together they have built up an extremely successful business. They are extremely wealthy and live a rather fabulous lifestyle. They want for nothing and I honestly believe that they genuinely love each other. Mal genuinely does love Karina, despite his behaviour.”
And it is Mal’s behaviour that sets in motion one of the most bitterly fought divorce proceedings to hit TV screens since JR and Sue Ellen parted company.
“Mal’s a bit emotionally stunted. All the power and success came early and he never really grew up. He’s always got what he wanted, when he wanted it and the same goes for women. Despite the fact he loves his wife, he’s always been a bit of a naughty boy. He’s easily tempted by pretty things, be it cars or girls, and he’s played away in the past. Karina has always overlooked it when it’s not been on her door step, but when Jinx, Mal’s executive assistant, broadcasts their little session to the production team she has to react. He humiliates her very publicly and it’s the kind of thing where you ask how many times can you overlook an infidelity and forgive someone. At that point, no matter what happens throughout the rest of the series, it’s something that can’t be forgotten. Understandably she goes a little mental, cuts his clothes up and drives his Porsche into the pool, all the usual stuff.”
As the battle between the two judges descends into all out war, they each try to use contestants within the competition to damage the other’s reputation. But as the conflict rages on screen and off, the division between them becomes increasingly heightened because they are actually frightened of losing each other.
“It’s that age old saying ‘you only hurt the ones you love’, and as I’ve said, these two really do. It’s the fear of the unknown that drives them. They have known this life for 20 years and have achieved everything together: all the success and acclaim that comes with that has always been as equals. Mal is terrified of being on his own. When he realises Karina is serious about leaving him, he detects a strength in her that he hasn’t really seen before and it unnerves him.
“He doesn’t know if he can be Mal Faith without her, but equally he’s damned if he’s going to lose face. But he hasn’t got the emotional maturity to deal with what’s going on like any normal person and so resorts to increasingly underhand tactics to try and destroy her. He becomes totally irrational. Everything he does is completely reactionary and immediate. Mal is the sort of guy that if he is threatened by something then he will do whatever it takes to prevent that threat from becoming a reality and he will do it without question. He’s very unscrupulous but of course he doesn’t see it that way. He tells himself ‘I’m only doing what I have to do to protect myself and what’s mine.”