George Hearst might not be the worst villain ever played by actor Gerald McRaney, but he’s near the top of that list. The real-life wealthy miner and businessman character joined the series “Deadwood” for its third and final season 13 years ago as the main antagonist to the town. And now McRaney has returned for “Deadwood: The Movie” as a U.S. Senator still up to his murderous, devious ways.
For our recent interview (watch the exclusive video above), McRaney claims that most villains don’t think they are evil. He says, “One of the most important things that separates drama from melodrama is that if you’re tasked with playing a villain, you can’t play him villianously. You have to find all the things that justify all the things he’s doing and concentrate on that. Eliminate all of the stuff that might look evil and play the actions.”
Show creator David Milch told McRaney about a script he was working on five years ago, but the actual shooting version for this past year turned out to be much different. He adds that he “wanted me in there from the very beginning, but I had no idea it was going to be involved as it wound up being. He saw the Hearst character as that violent agent of change that was happening not only to Deadwood but to the country and in fact the world. It was already being dragged into the 20th Century, even in the 1880s and 1890s. It was a lot of change going into the world and was the death knell of the old west.”
For the plot of this HBO TV movie, it’s now 1889 as the small western town celebrates entrance into the new 40th state of South Dakota. Timothy Olyphant is back as Seth Bullock, former sheriff and now a U.S. Marshal. Ian McShane returns as bar owner and town godfather Al Swearengen. Other cast members returning include Sean Bridgers, W. Earl Brown, Dayton Callie, Kim Dickens, Brad Dourif, Anna Gunn, John Hawkes, Geri Jewell, Paula Malcomson, Molly Parker, William Sanderson, Robin Weigert and Keone Young. In our chat, we specifically discuss McRaney’s scenes with Olyphant, McShane, Callie and Malcomson for this project.
McRaney won his first Emmy Award two years ago for his guest role as Dr. K on “This Is Us.” That same character brought him another nomination last year. He was part of the SAG Awards nominations for drama ensemble in 2007 for “Deadwood” and 2015 for “House of Cards.”
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