Ethan Wayne Opened Up About Spending Time with John Wayne’s Co-Star on Set of ‘The Cowboys’

by Quentin Blount
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Ethan Wayne spent a lot of time around his dad on the set of his movies. As a result, he also spent time around his co-stars. That includes Bruce Dern.

Everyone knows that John Wayne is considered one of the most iconic actors of all time. He is arguably the entire face of the Western film genre, having starred in more than 80 movies during the Golden Age of Hollywood. While everyone knows about The Duke, as so many people call him, less is known about his kids.

That’s why it’s always great to hear from Ethan Wayne, the youngest of John Wayne’s sons. Ethan recently sat down with Cowboys and Indians to give fans more insight into what it was like growing up with the great John Wayne as a dad.

If you are a longtime fan of Wayne’s, then perhaps you recall the 1972 Western film called The Cowboys. Alongside Wayne, the movie also starred Roscoe Lee Browne, Slim Pickens, Colleen Dewhurst, and Bruce Dern. Ethan was not even 10 years old at the time when The Cowboys first came out. However, he still remembers what it was like on the set of the film.

Ethan Wayne Has Always Been a Fan of Bruce Dern

Speaking of which, he vividly recalled what it was like to see Bruce Dern. Dern, of course, played Asa “Long Hair” Watts, the main antagonist in the movie.

“I remember liking him in person,” Ethan Wayne told the outlet. “I was impressed with him because he was really athletic. He would run to the set — he was staying at a place six or eight miles away — so he’d show up kind of sweaty and then put his stuff on. And I thought, ‘Man, that dude’s cool.’ And he was a nice person to be around when I was a little boy.”

You may remember Bruce Dern from some of his other works as well. He’s widely known for playing Tom Buchanan in the 1974 film adaptation of The Great Gatsby.

As for Ethan Wayne, he was a little boy back then. But he was old enough to know that acting wasn’t real. So, just because Dern played the bad guy in The Cowboys, that didn’t mean he was a bad guy in real life.

“When I saw the final film, I was taken aback by how bad he could be, and how you found yourself just hating him. Like I said, I was old enough to know that it was all just make-believe, and what he did was all part of the story. But he had all the character traits that you don’t want in yourself. You just hope you’re never that guy when things get difficult. Dern did a great job.”

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