The Brown Bunny filmmaker was just 16 years old when he was accepted to study acting under famed teacher Stella Adler, who had previously coached Robert De Niro and Marlon Brando.
But when he broke the news to his parents during a car journey, his dad Vincenzo launched into a furious rant about his son's movie aspirations, branding him "an idiot".
Gallo tells Britain's The Independent, "(He) slams on the brakes to the car. The car goes skidding into a snowbank. And he grabs my ear, and he pulls me by my ear from the back seat to the front seat, into the rear-view mirror and he pushes my face, five or six times, into the mirror. The rear-view mirror breaks off from the windshield.
"And he tells me, 'Look at your face, you retard. You look like Paul Newman? You look like Robert Redford? Those are actors. You look like an idiot. Get a job... When you get a job as a plumber or in a gas station, give us a call and we'll come and visit you.' And then he threw me in the back seat."