Judging by his recent list of collaborators, which includes the likes of David Fincher, Terrence Malick and Shane Black, it’s fair to say that Logan actor Boyd Holbrook is a highly sought after star in Hollywood. Fresh off of two seasons on Netflix’s acclaimed series Narcos, the actor has now teamed up with James Mangold to bring us the grittiest and most violent X-Men film to date.
Holbrook plays the wickedly charismatic and badass Donald Pierce, a cybernetically modified soldier that will stop at nothing to retrieve the young mutant X-23 (Dafne Keen). Logan can absolutely be categorized as a western and Holbrook is no stranger to the genre. Having never worked with comic book movies, roles in the miniseries Hatfields & McCoys and Gavin O’Connor’s Jane Got a Gun surely helped the actor feel right at home.
Last weekend, Holbrook sat down with us for an exclusive interview during the Logan press day in New York City. Over the course of our discussion, we got into the nitty gritty on his feelings towards the genre, his admiration for young co-star Dafne Keen, the lowdown on Shane Black’s Predator and much more.
Check it out below, and enjoy!
Can you talk a bit about joining a comic book film? It’s your first one.
Boyd Holbrook: Yeah absolutely dude, I’ll be so straight with you. I’ve never read a comic book in my life. I didn’t read this one and I didn’t read my character in this book. I think I didn’t want to get muddied down. I only have the script and I think once you start putting other shit in there and projecting – “Oh, okay he looked like that and where is he from?” – it just gets a little muddy.
I’ve always been attracted to that Wolverine character because I think he’s cool in his disregard for shit. He’s old. He’s not feeble but he’s just kind of worn down. Well, let me back up and say this first, I was doing Narcos and I was in Columbia and I auditioned on type like I audition for everything. Then like 3 months later, about a month before leaving I hear, “you’re doing this movie.” Oh, I got it.
You know, I’ve always wrote off the demographic of superhero films because it’s just not really something I can relate to. But it was just a fucking phenomenal experience. It’s relative in common life, too. All of us have been a child to a parent or maybe some of us are parents of children. It’s a through line of all of our lives and I found that there was a real story in here. That’s why I’m so interested to see how people react to it.
Yeah, in many ways it doesn’t feel like a comic book film. There’s very little bullshit in this movie. It really does deal with those real life themes. Logan himself is kind of at the end of his rope.
Boyd Holbrook: He’s got nothing to live for. He’s over counting days. He’s just like, “this sucks.”
It feels like a classic western.
Boyd Holbrook: Man, you hit it on the head and I think it plays like one. That’s something that was so hard for me to wrap my head around because you have all these pre-conceived notions of what these films are. Like, “Oh, there’s going to be a ton of green screen.” But then you’re on set and it’s going really well. Why’s it going well? Because James keeps telling us this is a Western. This is slow. Take your time. I was like, “Okay, if we’re going to do it this way. Thank God!” I was so excited.
Your character Donald Pierce is a straight-up villain. He’s cold and calculated. He’s heartless BUT he’s got a sense of humor.
Boyd Holbrook: He has a sense of humor and thank God he was written that way. I’ll only take the credit for inflating it but he’s looking for something that is his property. “It’s mine. I love you. I think you’re great Mr. Wolverine. I kind of designed her like you. I’m a big fan of you. But don’t fuck with me because that’s my shit.” That’s kind of where he’s coming from.
Again, as an actor you don’t have to make up any other bullshit because what I just said is the relationship. That’s all you need.