Sunday, November 12, 2017



Status Media & Entertainment, the same folks who brought you 2016’s TRADED, where vengeful father Michael Pere was turning the Old West inside out to find his abducted daughter, have returned with a new Western, based on events in the early career of soon-to-be legendary lawman Wild Bill Hickok, entitled HICKOK, starring Luke Hemsworth in the title role.  Back in the saddle is director Timothy Woodward Jr., cinematographer Pablo Diaz, production designer Christian Ramirez, and costume designer Nikki Pelley. 

I was invited to visit the set on the second day of shooting, at Peter Sherayko’s Caravan West Ranch, and spoke to all of those fine folks – you’ll be reading that article very soon in the Round-up. But I was particularly excited to speak with the legendary actor, singer, songwriter and Rhodes Scholar, Kris Kristofferson, who would be playing the supporting role of Abilene Mayor George Knox. It was a busy day, and Kris was a busy man, but at around 7 p.m. I was invited to the make-up trailer to talk with Kris about both the current movie, and his career in Westerns.

HENRY: I was wondering what attracts you to Westerns? I know your first movie, THE LAST MOVIE, was more or less a Western, this one is, and you’ve done so many in between. What’s special about the genre to you?

KRIS: Well, I grew up in Brownsville Texas, down at the very bottom of Texas, and I had my first horse when I was five years old. And I had horses all the time until I was a teenager, and we moved to California. I’ve always felt comfortable riding a horse.

HENRY: Do you watch a lot of Western movies growing up?

KRIS: Yes, I did. We went to a Western movie every week.

HENRY: What particularly attracted you to this movie?

KRIS: Well, I liked the story, I like the script, and I like the guys that I’m working with, the director, Tim Woodward. And a Western is something we can have some kind of fun with.

Kris with his wife Lisa Meyers

HENRY: Of course, he directed you in TRADED, a very nice film, and you were very good in it.

KRIS: Thank you.

HENRY: You’ve worked with the very best directors – Peckinpah, Dennis Hopper, Martin Scorcese.  
What makes a great director?

KRIS: It’s someone who knows the script, and knows the potential of the story, whatever it is. And never forgets it during the filming; doesn’t get sidetracked.

HENRY: Which is your favorite, of your Westerns?

KRIS: Boy, I don’t know. I loved working with Sam Peckipah, and we did a couple of things together. But there’s another, HEAVEN’S GATE.  I think it was a really beautiful film that got clobbered.

HENRY: Why do you think it got beat up on when it first came out?

KRIS: I think it had to do with our director. It just seemed like that was not an uncommon thing, to get in a film, and all the rivals running it down in the papers and everywhere. And it was so long a production that there was plenty of time to get down on Michael Cimino.

HENRY: You’ve been joined both in music and onscreen with The Highwaymen.

KRIS: They were my heroes. And the notion that they would one day be my friends and working partners – I look back on it as probably the best ten years of my life. Willie (Nelson) and Waylon (Jennings) and John (Johnny Cash).

HENRY: Are you still close with Willie Nelson?

KRIS: (laughs) Oh yes! He’s a hero, and just a plain funny person. He’s probably the best musician I know. He plays the guitar like Segovia. And just a funny man.

HENRY: You all worked together on that 1986 STAGCOACH remake. I heard that it was originally supposed to be a musical – is that correct?

KRIS: I couldn’t tell you; I remember that it had a lot of trouble getting started, and we ended up in the stagecoach for most of it. I look back on those years with The Highwaymen as a real blessed time in my life. With my heroes; and we were really good together.

HENRY: You were wonderful together; I loved the music you produced, and I enjoyed the movies.

KRIS: Yeah, I did too. And everybody, Waylon, Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, were perfect all the time. I’m not saying they weren’t all crazy too. We had a wonderful ten years.


1st Prize - Buffalo Mask with intricate beeding

I’m just back from The Autry’s annual American Indian Arts Marketplace where over 200 artists from over forty tribal affiliations are showing and selling their art at the from 10 a.m. ‘til 5 p.m. Sunday, November 12th.  The work is in every medium imaginable – paintings, sculpture, jewelry – wonderful silver work, pottery, beadwork, basketry, photography, paintings, textiles, wooden carvings, from very traditional to very modern. 

There are also family activities, various demonstrations, informative talks – if you are interested in American Indian culture you don’t want to miss this event.  I’ll have a full article in the next Round-up. Be prepared to walk a distance – the Marketplace, and the L.A. Zoo next door, attracted huge crowds today. And bring your appetite – the Indian Fry Bread is excellent as always. 


If you are in the Austin, Texas area, and 18 or over, you might get a gig as an extra in season two of AMC’s terrific Western series, THE SON. It’s the story of Eli McCullough, founder of a Texas cattle and oil empire, seen in two different times in his life: as a young captive of the Comanches, played by Jacob Lofland, and as a grown man and head of the family, played by Pierce Brosnan. They are looking for all ethnic groups.  Here’s a link to the BACKSTAGE casting notice:
Good luck, and please let us know if you get a part!


Just in case you didn’t think you had enough to be thankful for, Bruce Dern, the wonderful actor who made a million enemies (and as many friends) when he killed John Wayne in THE COWBOYS, will be hosting sixteen Westerns on HDNET-Movies during Thanksgiving week, his introductions filmed at the Autry Museum.  It’s a really delightful jambalaya of films – CHATO’S LAND with Charles Bronson, DUEL AT DIABLO with Sidney Poitier and James Garner, all three MAGNIFICENT 7 sequels, two Peckinpahs, DEATH RIDES A HORSE with Lee Van Cleef, HOUR OF THER GUN, COMES A HORSEMAN, THE KENTUCKIAN…  My only disappointment is that they’re only showing one of Bruce’s own, POSSE, with Kirk Douglas.  

They start on Monday, Nov. 20th, and run through Sunday, the 26th.  For the full schedule, go HERE.  And you can read my TRUE WEST article on the making of THE COWBOYS, featuring my interview with Bruce Dern, HERE.


In the 1880s, in the town of La Belle, New Mexico, a mining disaster abruptly wipes out the male population. And when word gets out that the town’s women are fending for themselves, it doesn’t take long for bad men to take notice. This six episode series from writer/director Scott Frank and exec producer Steve Sodergergh, stars Michelle Dockery, Lady Mary Crawley from DOWNTON ABBEY; Jeff Daniels; Sam Waterston; and Kim Coates from SONS OF ANARCHY. Check out the trailer!


Morgan Creek is considering rebooting the YOUNG GUNS franchise as a series and a feature. The original films, 1988’s YOUNG GUNS and 1990’s YOUNG GUNS II rejuvenated interest in the Western movie by focusing on the young Regulators of the Lincoln County War, and made stars of Emilio Estevez as Billy the Kid, Kiefer Sutherland as Doc Scurlock, as well as Charlie Sheen, Loud Diamond Phillips, and Dermot Mulroney.  Although not much is known about Morgan Creek’s plans, Deadline: Hollywood says talks are underway with a streaming service.  Remarkably, a list of 48 episode titles have been released!


On Tuesday, November 21st, at the Wells Fargo Theatre at the Autry Museum, producer, writer, historian and Western crazy Rob Word will host another of his A Word on Westerns events, this time celebrating arguably the greatest of Western TV series, GUNSMOKE!   Among his guest will be actors Bruce Boxleitner, Charles Dierkop, Jacqueline Scott, Tom Reese, Jan Shepard, director Jerry James, and the man who guested more often on GUNSMOKE than any other, Morgan Woodward. 19 episodes, 17 characters, and Matt Dillon killed almost every one of them! 

Admission is free with Museum admission, doors open at 10:30, the program starts at eleven, and the chatter continues afterwards across the courtyard at the Autry’s Crossroads West CafĂ©.


The 2nd annual Tumbleweed Township Festival will be held on Saturday and Sunday, November 18th and 19th, at 3855 Alamo Street in Simi Valley, California. This is a Wild West living history re-creation run by folks who also run renaissance fairs. You are encouraged, though not required, to come in costume (not that superhero junk, Western costume!) and among the real-life characters you may find yourself interacting with are Laura Ingalls Wilder, Harriet Tubman, Joaquin Murrieta, Annie Oakley, Cole Younger, Calamity Jane, and Nat Love. For more information, visit the official website HERE.  Tickets are $15 a day at the gate, and a buck less online.


When I was growing up, in Brooklyn as it happens, every girl I knew was reading Laura Ingalls’ Little House on the Prairie books.  I was not – I was a boy after all (still am), and those cute Garth Williams illustrations with girls in bonnets holding dolls was too girly for me. I didn’t read one until I was thirty, and then I devoured them – it’s the best series of books about pioneer life that I’ve ever read.  I’ve also grown to appreciate Garth Williams’ illustrations.

At the Old Stone House & Washington Park, location of one of the greatest battles of the American Revolution, at 3rd Street between 4th & 5th Avenues in Park Slope, Brooklyn, author Marta McDowell explores Wilder's deep connection with the natural world, following the wagon trail of the beloved Little House series. She'll discuss Wilder's life and inspirations, pinpoint the Ingalls and Wilder homestead claims on authentic archival maps, and talk about the growing cycle of plants and vegetables featured in the series. You can learn more, and buy $20 tickets, HERE.  


The new True West is out with my article on the Kinder, Gentler Side of Sam Peckinpah – I spoke  with Mariette Hartley, L.Q. Jones, Max Evans, James Drury, about making RIDE THE HIGH COUNTRY and BALLAD OF CABLE HOGUE.

I spent much of this past week at the American Film Market in Santa Monica, where hundreds of independent producers and distributors and filmmakers from all over the world meet to do business, and I was thrilled to track down about a dozen new Westerns and Western projects that I’ll be writing about soon here, and in True West. Most are American, but not all – one rolled camera this week in Luxembourg! 

P.S. - At the American Indian Arts Marketplace I ran into actor Zahn McClarnon, who was terrific in THE SON, playing Toshaway, mentor to the captive young Eli McCullough (Jacob Lofland). When I told him I thought it was his best role to date, he grinned. "Wait until you see the new season of WESTWORLD." Something more to look forward to!

Happy Veterans Day!

All Original Material Copyright November 2017 by Henry C. Parke – All Rights Reserved