Michael Hirst interview: ‘Billy the Kid’ creator

“When I was a kid myself, growing up in in the north of England, for some reason I was fixated on Billy,” reveals series creator Michael Hirst (“Vikings”) in our recent webchat. He continues, “When I was running to school, as a seven or eight year old boy, I imagined that I was riding a great horse and being pursued by the sheriff’s posse. I was Billy the Kid. The head of Epix, Michael Wright, asked me what I would like to do after ‘Vikings.’ I said, ‘curiously enough I’d like to do a Western. I’d like to do ‘Billy the Kid. I’d like to find out if he was worth hero worshiping.’” Watch the exclusive video interview above.

“Billy the Kid” follows the infamous outlaw (Tom Blyth) 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.

Hirst asks, “How is it that this guy, who died reputedly at the age of 21 in the middle of nowhere in the middle of the 19th century, is still one of the most famous people in the western world? It’s quite extraordinary. I wanted to give context to that. I wanted to dramatize an authentic picture of him, how he ended up being an outlaw. And the fact that most of his adult life was spent wanting to go straight, and he wasn’t allowed to do that. I wanted to give him some justice.”

The producer explains, “We discussed early on that it was going to look somewhat different from other Westerns. We refused to use the sets in Calgary that have been used again and again for Westerns. We wanted to get away from that. This was a raw America. This is America before the railroad gets there, before these towns are established, when the communities were perched on the edge of a vast wilderness.”

With Billy traveling through the West for much of the series Hirst reveals, “There was no need for a studio. The production was on the road the whole time. When we did ‘Vikings’ we had a studio. Here everything was outside on location. We built some crude early towns, and we had a lot of real cowboys. The actors found themselves riding into stampedes with longhorn cattle, escorted by the cowboys who are all around them. It must have been so exciting.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

UPLOADED Jun 1, 2022 8:20 am