Aidan Gallagher on Playing Five as He Dealt With Paradox Psychosis in ‘The Umbrella Academy’

by Jeremy Spirogis
Aidan Gallagher The Umbrella Academy

Aidan Gallagher performs Number Five in The Umbrella Academy — a middle-aged, time-traveling, and space-jumping man caught in an adolescent’s physique. He’s at all times out to avoid wasting the world, irrespective of who or what stands in his method. As for his ethical compass, it doesn’t at all times level North. Yet, the boy (man?) is aware of the right way to get the job executed. 

The character is kind of advanced, and Aidan Gallagher rises to the problem — paying homage to the comedian guide supply materials whereas bringing the character to life for the live-action interpretation. While Gallagher has grown used to taking part in Five, as he’s now two seasons in, the paradox psychosis scenes introduced a brand new problem for the actor. He bought to play with sides of the character that will have in any other case gone untraversed. 

Aidan Gallagher The Umbrella Academy
Aidan Gallagher attends Netflix’s ‘The Umbrella Academy’ Screening | Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for Netflix

What is paradox psychosis in ‘The Umbrella Academy?’

[spoiler warning for season 2 of The Umbrella Academy] 

In season 2 of The Umbrella Academy, Five is pressured to confront one other model of himself within the 1960s. There’s just one catch: assembly oneself may cause paradox psychosis, as people mustn’t cross paths with themselves in time, because it, inevitably, messes with the thoughts. 

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There are seven levels to paradox psychosis: denial, itching, excessive thirst and urination, extreme gasoline, acute paranoia, uncontrolled perspiration, and, finally, homicidal rage. To put it merely: Five selecting to confront Five was the final resort — a last-ditch effort to avoid wasting humankind. During an interview with Looper, Gallagher discussed paradox psychosis, noting the appearing alternatives it opened up. 

Aidan Gallagher on constructing a ‘new element’ of his character through paradox psychosis 

While Aidan Gallagher could be naturally homicidal, he’s a bit calculative in his strategy — calm earlier than the storm is a greater descriptor than rage. Not to say, can anybody think about Five farting uncontrollably or anxiously itching at his pores and skin? Discussing the scene, Gallagher famous: 

But yeah, that complete arc the place I bought to cross an older/youthful model of Five was actually enjoyable. And particularly the entire Paradox Psychosis arc was a very attention-grabbing factor. Whenever you get to construct a brand new aspect of your character as an actor, it’s exceedingly attention-grabbing. I did that for the blink, what the physicality could be like, however for Paradox Psychosis, earlier than each tape I might dash. I might dash into mark and I might contort my physique in all these bizarre methods and actually simply fast, this form of stress and all these totally different little bizarre takes on his feelings that didn’t essentially make sense throughout the context of the common crew for Five, however have been fully at residence and cohesive with the paradox psychosis. 


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Aspects of the paradox psychosis levels are inarguably at odds with Five’s disposition. However, as a result of paradox psychosis supersedes typical conduct, Gallagher bought to have a bit of enjoyable, exploring new crevices, and constructing a “new element” for Five. 

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