‘Billy the Child’ star Tom Blyth on Westerns making a comeback in Hollywood: ‘Persons are eager for it once more’


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Tom Blyth was instantly lassoed in when he was supplied to play gunfighter Billy the Child.

The British-born, New York-based actor is taking up the position of the legendary outlaw for a brand new EPIX collection titled “Billy the Child.” The 27-year-old, who grew up watching American Westerns, mentioned he was desirous to discover the transient and bloody lifetime of the 19th-century gunslinger.

“I grew up with Westerns — studying and watching them,” Blyth informed Fox Information Digital. “I grew up very critically eager to embody that world. I bear in mind how, at a really younger age, I’d keep up late at night time studying articles about Billy the Child, Jesse James and folks like that. So, for me, this position feels fated to a sure extent. It feels prefer it was at all times on the horizon as an actor.”

Tom Blyth stars as Billy the Child in a brand new EPIX authentic collection.
(Chris Massive/EPIX)

“I moved right here six years in the past as a 21-year-old, coincidentally the identical age that Billy died,” Blyth shared. “I made America my dwelling. I got here and educated right here as an actor at Julliard. I’ve at all times felt this pull to America in the identical method that his household did as a result of it’s an immigration story. These have been Irish immigrants who moved right here. So really, I discovered extra in widespread, than variations, between us. The extra I dug, the extra I noticed that, sure, he could have been born in New York, however … [his family] got here right here looking for a greater life. I did the identical.”

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“Billy the Child” is written by Michael Hirst, creator of “Vikings” and “The Tudors.” The present guarantees to be an epic journey surrounding the lifetime of the outlaw referred to as William H. Bonney — from his humble Irish roots to his early days as a cowboy on the American frontier and past.

Billy the Child was swept up in what was referred to as the “Lincoln County Conflict” after his British mentor was gunned down by corrupt Sheriff William Brady. He organized the assassination of Brady in revenge, which escalated right into a warfare between immigrant factions. Pat Garrett, an Outdated West sheriff, shot and killed the 21-year-old in 1881 after he escaped from the Lincoln County jail in New Mexico. Garrett, who briefly lived in Texas, was later killed in a dispute over a New Mexico ranch.

Tom Blyth said he learned how to ride and shoot for the role.

Tom Blyth mentioned he realized learn how to experience and shoot for the position.
(Chris Massive/EPIX)

The unique collection comes at a pivotal time for Hollywood the place the Western, a seemingly forgotten style, is experiencing a comeback.

After Kevin Costner-led “Yellowstone” grew to become a smash hit, the Paramount+ streaming service ordered the collection “1932” in regards to the roots of the Dutton ranching household first launched within the up to date drama. In February, the service additionally introduced that the primary prequel, “1883,” can be again for a second season. Sam Elliott, Tim McGraw and Religion Hill are amongst its stars.

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In 2021, “The Tougher They Fall” made its mark in each theaters and Netflix, whereas “Outer Vary” will be discovered on Amazon. At this 12 months’s Oscars, Jane Campion received for finest director in “The Energy of the Canine,” which earned 11 nominations. “Outdated Henry,” an motion Western, additionally premiered late final 12 months.

Tom Blyth noted that Westerns are having a resurgence in Hollywood.

Tom Blyth famous that Westerns are having a resurgence in Hollywood.
(Chris Massive/EPIX)

Blyth famous that “it’s plain” that Westerns are having a resurgence, however he isn’t stunned.

“We’ve simply come out of this two-year interval the place we have been locked down and there was an actual restriction on our private freedoms and talent to go outdoors,” he mirrored. “Persons are eager for the Western style once more, the place it’s wild. Now we have to recollect it was one of many first Hollywood genres. It was one of many first varieties of motion pictures we ever acquired to see. So there’s already that nostalgia there for it.

“However I believe it’s actually that eager for the open vary, the sensation of somebody driving out into the nightfall with that pack on their saddle and a gun on their hip,” he continued. “There’s a romanticism in it, which I believe we’re eager for after two years of being locked up. We’re longing to see these heroes who had this barely rogue freedom about them.”

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Billy the Kid was just 21 when he died, but his legend lives on in Hollywood.

Billy the Child was simply 21 when he died, however his legend lives on in Hollywood.
(Getty Photographs)

It’s a longing Blyth may establish with. He was desirous to do his personal stunts, in addition to learn to experience and shoot.

“We filmed in Alberta, Canada, which could be very a lot nonetheless the Wild West. These guys nonetheless reside and breathe Western tradition,” he mentioned. “They’re very happy with it. So after I acquired up there, to start with, I used to be glad to be in a spot the place individuals have been dwelling that actuality on daily basis. As an actor, you don’t need to really feel such as you’re doing a foul impersonation. You need to really feel such as you’re experiencing it with them. It additionally comes with a slight stress as a result of I solely had three weeks of horse coaching earlier than becoming a member of the true cowboys of Alberta.

“I undoubtedly was intimidated,” he added. “I jumped on a horse the primary day and thought they have been going to snort … however they didn’t. They have been actually welcoming … And after 5 months on the market within the mountains and the prairies, I felt like certainly one of them. That’s a testomony to how a lot they wished to share the Western tradition and experience with me. I grew to become a part of the posse in a method. And it was an absolute pleasure to take action.”

Tom Blyth, a British actor, lives in New York.

Tom Blyth, a British actor, lives in New York.
(Chris Massive/EPIX)

There was one other problem Blyth was confronted with. Regardless of Billy the Child’s notoriety in historical past, there’s additionally loads of thriller behind the person. There’s just one {photograph} of him up to now that’s been authenticated by each students and historians.

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A number of pictures purporting to function him have surfaced through the years. Nonetheless, they’ve been dismissed by consultants. Little is understood about his early days, and a few even speculated that he wasn’t killed in 1881. Within the late ’40s, one aged Texas man claimed he was Billy the Child, however his story was discredited.

Billy the Child’s legend grew as Hollywood was shaped. His story was first informed on display screen within the 1911 silent movie “Billy the Child.” He has since been the topic of greater than 50 movies that includes stars like Roy Rogers, Paul Newman, Val Kilmer and Emilio Estevez, amongst others.

Tom Blyth attends the "Billy The Kid" premiere at Harmony Gold April 21, 2022, in Los Angeles.

Tom Blyth attends the “Billy The Child” premiere at Concord Gold April 21, 2022, in Los Angeles.
(Jon Kopaloff/Getty Photographs for EPIX)

For Blyth, he’s hoping that audiences will come alongside for the experience as soon as extra.

“In a method, it offers you license as a result of he’s well-known and but a lot about him relies on individuals’s opinions,” mentioned Blyth. “He lived a very long time in the past. We don’t have any footage of him. [But] in a method, it offers you freedom since you get to honor [the role] as finest as you’ll be able to.

“Emilio Estevez acquired to do his model, as did Val Kilmer and plenty of others, many superb actors earlier than me. At this level, I’ve to offer myself permission to let him spark one thing in me. As soon as the stress subsided, it’s simply an honor to have the ability to comply with within the footsteps of some unbelievable, iconic actors … it has been a pleasure to play this character who’s so expensive to me.”

“Billy the Child” airs on Sundays on EPIX. The Related Press contributed to this report.

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