“How to ride a horse was a new one for me,” reveals Tom Blyth about his work on “Billy the Kid” in our recent webchat. He continues, “I’d ridden a few times as a kid, fallen off once and swore never to do it again. But, I had to learn for this and fell in love with it immensely. Hopefully, I’m gonna have horses one day and ride for the rest of my life.” Watch the exclusive video interview above.
“Billy the Kid” on Epix follows the infamous outlaw from when his Irish family moved to the wild west in search of a better life. It’s a series that combines sweeping western adventure with intimate heart. Blyth plays the adult Billy, with stoic depth. The actor explains, “I learned not to judge a book by its cover. People think they know who he was based on the accounts of him as a killer and an outlaw. But he was so much more that I never realized until I got to dig deep.”
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Early in the season Billy’s mother (played by Kathleen McCarty) dies of tuberculosis. Blyth reflects, “I’ve been acting since I was 14 and that was the most painful moment of acting I’ve ever done, but also the most beautiful and moving. I’ve never felt more like I forgot I was acting. I forgot the lights and the camera were there. I remember having lost people in my personal life. It feels that you go into this clouded state, and then you come on the other side. It’s almost like a bizarre fever dream. It felt very cathartic, but very devastating. It took me a few days to come down from that.”
Blyth will soon take on another iconic character. He has just been cast in “The Huger Games” prequel “The Ballad of Songbirds” as a young Coriolanus Snow. On stepping into the boots of Billy the Kid he admits, “People have expectations of what they want to see, especially because there have been other adaptations of this before. People want to see their ‘Young Guns’ recreated. They want to see Emilio Estevez come back and do it. They want to see Paul Newman. They want to see Val Kilmer. I feel very honored to follow in some of my acting heroes footsteps. But also with that came a pressure to kind of get it right. I realized that you can’t get it right, because there’s no footage of him and he never wrote his own autobiography. You can’t get it from the horse’s mouth, so to speak. All you can do is take what you do know, and the things that are available, and build on that. Make it your own.”
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