Actor Richard Jenkins is many things, including a best actor Oscar nominee for his role in the 2007 drama The Visitor and a recent Emmy winner thanks to his performance in the HBO miniseries Olive Kitteridge. But a great equestrian he is not. “My ass hurts!” Jenkins informed EW last fall on the set of horror-Western Bone Tomahawk, outside of L.A., after spending a lengthy amount of time shooting a scene atop a horse. “Other than that, it’s good.”
Indeed, Jenkins explained that he was utterly thrilled to be appearing in a Western. “Well, I grew up watching them,” he said. “I’m 67, so, as a kid, I loved [Western] shows: Cheyenne, and Maverick, and then I watched Gunsmoke, of course. Have Gun With Travel. Then, when I got older, I started to get into John Ford and Howard Hawks. Actually, in the last few years, I’ve really started to watch those movies, and read about them, and then this came along. I thought they weren’t making them any more!”
Bone Tomahawk stars Jenkins, Kurt Russell, Patrick Wilson, and Matthew Fox as a four-man posse who ride out to rescue some townsfolk from cave-dwelling cannibals. Below, Jenkins talks more about the film, which receives its world premiere at Fantastic Fest in Austin, TX., Oct. 1, with writer-director S. Craig Zahler and his quartet of leading men in attendance.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Tell us a little bit about your character.
RICHARD JENKINS: He’s old, really old. God knows how old he is. He’s the associate deputy. He’s not even the deputy, he’s the associate deputy. And he just worships the sheriff (played by Russell) and would do anything for him. And he ends up going on this journey with the other three. [The film] is like a throwback and yet there are twists to it that make it new and different.
This is Craig’s first film as director. What’s that been like?
Well, I’ve done it before. He knows his material, because he’s written it. It’s a tight schedule; we have to really keep going. I just want him to shoot his movie. He’s got a great temperament. He’s collaborative, and he’s a really good guy.
Had you worked with Kurt Russell before?
Never worked with Kurt. He doesn’t remember this, but I auditioned for Overboard.
The Goldie Hawn role?
Yeah, the Goldie Hawn role. [Chuckles] Actually the part Ed Herrmann ended up playing. But I auditioned at their house. I was making a movie in San Diego, and I came up, and the car dropped me off at their gate, and Kurt says, “Who is it?” I say, “It’s Richard Jenkins, I’m here to auditon for Overboard.” “Oh, come on in, come on in.” So, he opened the gate and I walked in. He said, “I’m gonna take the kids to the video store, we’re going to get pizza and videos, you want to come with us? There’s nobody here. You can stay here if you want to stay here. You want me to turn on the TV?” It was so nuts. So I just kind of sat there and then Roddy McDowall and Goldie came in. I was there for a long time talking to Goldie and then Kurt came back with the kids. I thought to myself, Oh, I like this guy.”