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Patrick Gallagher brings depth to ‘Ghost of Tsushima’ villain

Acting was never Patrick Gallagher’s first choice. Or his second. That would be a career in marine biology or as a reporter. But acting did help him achieve an important goal — and set him down an unlikely path.

“I come from a very educated family,” Gallagher said. “I just kind of got a little bit lazy at the end of high school and didn’t really want to go to university. I auditioned for a community college theater program basically just to get people off my butt, and I could tell them I’m in school, leave me alone.”

Then, something strange happened.

“I found that I actually loved it,” Gallagher said. “I auditioned for the National Theatre School of Canada and that’s when I started seriously thinking about this as a career.”

Since then, Gallagher has landed roles in a variety of projects from major Hollywood blockbusters like the “Night at the Museum” series to television shows like “Big Sky.”

Gallagher also has dabbled in video games and landed arguably his biggest gaming role to date, Khotun Khan in “Ghost of Tsushima.” But Gallagher almost lost his chance at the role at the last moment of an audition.

“At the very end, they needed to see some physical stuff to see if I could handle a little bit of fighting,” Gallagher said. “I said, ‘no problem.’ We did a couple of pretend hits and falls and on the last one, I tore something down my hamstring. All I remember thinking was don’t limp until you get out of the room. So, I was wincing and going, thank you very much, that was great.”

While Khotun is “Ghost of Tsushima’s” primary antagonist, Gallagher was attracted to his complexity and the chance to mold a character that was far more intriguing than a typical villain.

“I studied Khengis Khan a little bit,” Gallagher said. “He wasn’t as brutal as people thought. He wasn’t going to destroy you all. You could have your own religion, all he wanted was loyalty and fealty. Khotun had a job to get done. And if he needs to kill an entire village he will, but if he can do it simply by offering a village something and having them come over to his side, that’s what his job was.”

Khotun’s ability to use every tool he had to try and accomplish his mission was something that stood out, and his mix of anger, humor, insecurities and frustration made Khotun a unique character.

“It’s such a beautiful game,” Gallagher said. “I’ve done a few other games, but these were real stories with some really interesting subtext going on.”

Gallagher’s performance earned him a BAFTA Game Awards nomination for performer in a supporting role.

“That would be amazing (to win),” Gallagher said. “The talent in video games these days, to even be included is an honor.”

“Ghost of Tsushima” is nominated for 10 BAFTAs, including Best Game and Performer in a leading role for Daisuke Tsuji’s portrayal of Jin Sakai.

“I think everyone likes the underdog,” Gallagher said. “Everyone likes to see good defeat evil. Jin’s transformation in the game is really fascinating to go from this young kid to maybe becoming what he’s not supposed to be and maybe becoming dishonorable, depending on how you look at it. But he did what he needed to do to save his people and did what he believed was the right thing.”

Contact Lukas Eggen at leggen@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0279. Follow @lukaseggen on Twitter.

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