That’s a commitment. [laughs] I know the movie has garnered wonderful reviews.
Yes. Thank you.
You mentioned Jordan Ross. It seems you’ve been collaborating with other elite directors and actors like Taylor Sheridan and Sylvester Stallone on Tulsa King most recently.
Taylor and I have crossed paths quite a few times and have flirted with working with each other on a few projects. The stars aligned on this. One of the producers, David Glasser, has been very supportive for a few years. In fact, he bought this film, Burden, that I did that I’m quite proud of. It was wonderful to get on set with him as well on this.
What’s it been like working with Sylvester?
I’ve known Sly since I was 18. I was with my trainer for my first film Troy. I walked in and Sly was in there training. From that moment on, he’d always been a big brother to me. He was always curious about what I was shooting and how the experience was.
I ran into him one Christmas and he said, “How was that film On the Road?” It surprised me that he wanted to know my experience. It made me love him even more. He’s very keen, very wise to who’s who and who’s doing what.
It must be even sweeter working on Tulsa King then.
The experience has been fantastic. Paramount+ has been phenomenal. They put a lot behind these shows, Taylor Sheridan has proved over and over that the material he puts down just happens to turn to gold. He’s one of the best writers in the game, we also had Terrence Winter in on this.
Of Sopranos fame, of course.
Sopranos, Boardwalk Empire. We essentially had the dream team on this.
It was picked up for a second season.
Yes. I guess it’s my first series, but in the television world, the obstacle with the first season is really the introduction-grabbing the audience’s attention, making it full of surprises and then teeing it up to really get your hands dirty on the next season and the following seasons. We’re getting the opportunity to do that, which is going to be very exciting.
Desperation Road with Mel Gibson also hits in 2023. What was it like working with him?
Working with Mel was fantastic. We’d met years prior at a dinner, but just very briefly. We rekindled on this, which was actually a first deep dive of a meet.
We’re both passionate about this particular project. I signed on to it for about a year, I was really invested in it, and excited to bring it to fruition. I was really honored that Mel wanted to jump on. He plays my father.
We sat in a hotel room prior to shooting-discussing and reconstructing some of these scenes and just reading through them. It was a glorious experience. I think Mel’s not only one of the best of his generation, but one of the best there’s been. One of the bravest, most fearless. It’s impossible to work alongside him and not feel honored doing what you’re doing.
I noticed the three roles we’ve talked about are a nice stretch for you. You get to show some different colors?
Yes. The funny thing is a lot of times when this happens, one of those films tends to come out like two years later. One comes out, and the other one for whatever reason comes out a year later than the other. It’s happened to me before, and you’re like, “Shit. Nobody’s going to know we did this back-to-back.”
You have an acting career and you’re an acclaimed musician making records and videos. Is there a connection between crafting a great music performance and crafting a great film or television performance?
There’s an undeniable connection. It all just comes from an overwhelming compulsion to create. Acting, which was the first and foremost passion, was the first one that paved the way for me to work.
You started modeling and acting at a young age. Was the music always there?
No, not at all. I was in chorus in high school, but it was only because I thought I could get an easy good grade. [laughs]
I did this film, Country Strong back in 2010. I started prepping in August of 2009 and it was a journey. I’d never played the guitar before. I sang in chorus, the boys acapella group and stuff like that. I truly fell in love with the experience when I did that film. I grew up on a farm with one radio station that was country, and that was pretty much all you got. As a teenager, you get rebellious, you move to rock, rap and whatnot. I reeled it in on this film and came back to the country roots.