The veteran actor has found a soul mate in Sam Elliott while starring in the hit Taylor Sheridan series.
In terms of acting in physically demanding roles, 1883 certainly isn’t Lamonica Garrett’s first rodeo. The San Francisco-born actor had already proven he had the right stuff for tough stuff as a series regular on Sons of Anarchy, Designated Survivor and The Last Ship — and as the notorious Monitor and Anti-Monitor in CW’s Arrowverse franchise inspired by DC Comics — way before he signed on to play Thomas, the rugged ex-slave and former Buffalo Solider who helps his friend and companion Shea Brennan (Sam Elliott) lead settlers on a perilous wagon train trek, in writer-producer Taylor Sherdian’s prequel to the phenomenally popular Yellowstone.
Pictured: Gratiela Brancusi as Noemi and LaMonica Garrett as Thomas of the Paramount+ original series 1883. Photo Cr: Emerson Miller/Paramount+ © 2022 MTV Entertainment Studios. All Rights Reserved.
But when it came to actually appearing persuasive in the saddle, he had to enroll in the pre-production “Cowboy Camp” Sheridan established on his Texas ranch to prepare cast members like himself with little or no experience on horseback.
“At first,” Garret told us in a C&I Studio interview, “it was extremely fun. It was life-changing. It does something to you being on a horse that much. But after about three, four days, it turned from being fun — ‘Hey! Cowboy Camp! Let’s all go to Cowboy Camp!’ — to it being work.
“It was 100 degrees. We’re in Weatherford, Texas, and we’re up at the crack of dawn. We’re tending to our horses. Yeah, it turned into work. That’s when I got a real appreciation for cowboys — just the profession, the culture. It’s some tough work. You watch all these shows growing up, you see cowboys, they’re riding on the horses. It looks cool. I don’t know, just a bunch of hero moments. But the real work of cowboying is no joke. I got a whole new respect for it now.”
Photo Cr: Emerson Miller/Paramount+ © 2022 MTV Entertainment Studios. All Rights Reserved.
Right from the start, a standout element of 1883 has been the laconic chemistry generated by Garrett and Elliott as two taciturn friends who can communicate with a minimum of verbiage — but understand that, given their vastly different backgrounds, there are some things in each man’s past that the other will never fully appreciate. Garrett praises Elliott for going out of his way to cement this bonding on screen and off.
Pictured: Sam Elliott as Shea and LaMonica Garrett as Thomas of the Paramount+ original series 1883. Photo Cr: Emerson Miller/Paramount+ © 2022 MTV Entertainment Studios. All Rights Reserved.
“We met each other in the saloon that’s on Taylor’s ranch,” Garrett said. “That’s our little bubble where we could all come together and hang out and blow off some steam. The first time I met Sam, he gave me a hug. He embraced me and he was like, ‘This is going to be amazing for both of us.’ Just knowing who Thomas and Shea are, from day one, we just hit it off.
Photo Cr: Emerson Miller/Paramount+ © 2021 MTV Entertainment Studios. All Rights Reserved.
“One of the first scenes we did for the series was the first day of shooting for everyone. It was the scene where we’re explaining to the immigrants that this is a snake, this is poison ivy, and so on. Taylor’s sitting behind the camera and we’re rehearsing the lines about toilets, the back and forth between me and Sam. It just kind of kept going — it didn’t stop. Taylor was laughing, everyone around us was laughing, and Taylor was like, ‘Alright, you guys got it.’ And from that point on, he just let us do what we do. We’ve just grown closer and closer together, me and Sam.”
Here is our C&I Studio interview with 1883 star LaMonica Garrett.