'The Umbrella Academy's Steve Blackman Explains How Aidan Gallagher Got the Role of Number Five

Number Five might be The Umbrella Academy‘s resident grumpy man, but he’s also one of the primary reasons the Hargreeves siblings are still alive. As a character who is 58-years-old and trapped in a 13-year-old’s body, showrunners had a hard time finding the right person to play the part. Here’s how they discovered Aidan Gallagher was the right man for the role. 

A lot is riding on Number Five 

The Umbrella Academy is based on the Dark Horse Comics by Gerard Way and Gabriel Bá. In both the series and the source material, Number Five is a tough older man who takes on the responsibility of stopping the apocalypse and saving his family. 

Because Five appears as a teenager in the series, showrunners had to find a young actor capable of playing such a convoluted part. 

Showrunners had a hard time finding their Number Five 

It takes someone pretty special to play a 58-year-old man trapped inside of a 13-year-old’s body. As such, showrunners found it somewhat challenging to find a young, capable actor to fill Number Five’s shoes. 

“We read [and] saw hundreds of kids from Canada, [the] US, [the] UK, and Australia,” Blackman told fans on Reddit. “But I just couldn’t find the right actor who could play such a complicated character.” 

That’s when Gallagher showed up. 

Aidan Gallagher knows more about Five than anyone 

Blackman remembered the day Gallagher auditioned for the role of Five. 

“He was 12 or 13 at the time,” Blackman shared. “[When] he sat down, [he] said he would kill for this role.” As a fan of the graphic novels on which the show is based, Blackman said Gallagher felt like he knew the role better than anyone else. 

“[Aidan] was very insightful,” Blackman continued. “When he read the sides —the scenes we write for auditions — I was blown away.” 

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58 years of sass in a 13 year old body

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Gallagher recalled auditioning with a scene where Luther (Tom Hopper) and Five are having a conversation in a car.

“It was this really dramatic scene that changed as the series progressed and the writing started to develop,” Gallagher said in an interview with Collider.

Blackman’s main concern was finding someone capable of playing someone trapped inside of their own skin. “You need a certain gravitas to play [that kind of role]. Aidan had that — and then some.” 

Aidan Gallagher loves playing Five

For Gallagher, being part of The Umbrella Academy cast is a dream come true. 

“I grew up a fan of comics and hanging out in local comic book stores,” Gallagher told Collider.

“I got turned onto these two graphic novels, and it was unlike anything that I had read before, so I was instantly hooked. You can imagine how excited I was when I realized I would get to audition.” 

Gallagher said that regardless of whether or not he knew the comics before his audition, he was always going to go after the role. “It’s a very unique character and world that Gerard and Gabriel have created,” he said. “That was a big selling point for the cast.”

For many fans, Gallagher is a selling point for watching the show. As Blackman pointed out: “I think we can all agree we made the right choice!”

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