Sam Elliott Explains How ‘1883’ Role Is Similar to ‘A Star Is Born’ Character

by Maggie Schneider

The “1883” actor discusses the similarities between Shea Brennan and his role of Bobby in “A Star Is Born.”

Sam Elliott is a multi-dimensional actor. On the face of it, his roles are a string of cowboys and hard-headed guys. However, Elliott’s roles are much more complex underneath the tough exterior. Now, the “1883” actor is comparing his role as Shea Brennan to his character in the 2018 film “A Star Is Born.”

Shea Brennan is Elliott’s current role in “1883.” Brennan is a cowboy who guides a group along the Oregon Trail to start new lives in Montana. “1883” is the prequel to the hit series “Yellowstone,” starring Kevin Costner. Brennan leads a sad life after the death of his wife and children.

In “A Star Is Born,” Sam Elliott plays the role of Bobby. Bobby is the half-brother of Jackson Maine, who is played by Bradley Cooper. The character is also Maine’s manager, who watches his gruesome battle with addiction. He also watches Maine fall in love with Ally (played by Lady Gaga).

At first glance, these roles seem completely different. However, Elliott considers them both to be emotionally complex.

“Maybe it’s old age, or maybe I’m more emotional now than I was when I was a young man … I don’t know,” Elliott shares. “But I don’t seek a part out because I can shed a tear in it. But if that’s part of the deal, then it happens.”

He continues to share the connections between Bobby and his “1883” character Shea Brennan.

“There’s something to me that has always been appealing to see strength and vulnerability in the same human being. That’s certainly the case with Shea, and that was certainly the case with the brother in ‘A Star is Born.’ There was a ragged edge there between Bradley Cooper and me and our backstory with our dad and all that. And it’s the same in ‘1883.’ There’s a backstory, and Shea has to be a vulnerable character because of that.”

Sam Elliott on ‘1883’

Sam Elliott is working hard on the “1883” set. The 77-year old actor faces extreme weather conditions in his new role.

“It’s been wonderful and grueling at the same time,” he tells The Hollywood Reporter. “[Showrunner] Taylor [Sheridan] told me, ‘You’ll hate me at the end of this thing.’ There is no chance that is ever going to happen. But it’s a tough shoot. We shot in Fort West for almost two months in 106-degree temperatures. Montana was the complete opposite. Bitterly cold and freezing.”

The actor has now been working for 54 years in the entertainment industry. “1883” is the biggest production he has been a part of yet.

“I have never worked on anything like this in terms of the scope and size,” he begins. “I’ve never worked on a show that has six cameras operating at the same time and a helicopter in the air. They’re getting their money’s worth.”