The actor brings his classic cowboy persona to The Golden Compass
If you’re flabbergasted to find a down-to-earth fellow like Sam Elliott piloting a hot-air balloon through the otherworldly fantasy of The Golden Compass— well, you’re not alone. Even Elliott admits to being a bit amazed by being smack dab in the middle of a parallel universe where people’s souls manifest themselves as animals, talking bears fight wars, and an orphaned young heroine needs champions such as Texas aeronaut Lee Scoresby.
“It’s odd in some ways,” Elliott notes in the sandpapered drawl familiar to his fans and admirers. “But it makes sense in others. Especially since I’ve got this history of playing these cowboys, Westerners, whatever you want to call them —these guys with principles. I’ve spent my life kind of doing the whole Western thing, and I’m blessed that I’ve had the opportunity. There were times when I thought, ‘Boy, I’d like to get out of this box.’ I don’t feel that way anymore.”
But a history of playing quintessential Western characters is, Elliott says, what got him his role in The Golden Compass. “The director, Chris Weitz, told me his take on it was that this guy, Lee Scoresby, is a classic, iconic, laconic American cowboy,” Elliott says. “How am I going to turn that down? Chris is a very bright man. He pushed the right button — the one that says ‘ego massage.’ Actors like that, you know. I guess we all do.
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