ReelzChannel sat down recently with Jeremy Irons to talk about his role as the corrupt rancher in Appaloosa.
ReelzChannel: This character, Randall Bragg, it's all in the name -- conceited, he lives by no rules.
Irons: No, his own rules. We all have rules. He was born on the cusp -- the earlier Western travelers, there was no rules. There was no law. The gun was the law. But that changed once they had pushed out there, the law and followers some 50, or 40, years later. We see Bragg at the beginning of the film protecting his men against people who want to take him away -- in a way, that's how you behaved then. But then he discovered that actually things were changing and when he managed to get out, he comes back a different man using the new methods.
RC: Would you describe him as a Western version of a mobster?
Irons: No, I think he's a Western version of a lot of businessmen today. They set their sights on how they're going to earn their money and then go and get it. They play by the rules. And they play as close to the edge -- and over the edge -- and they get in trouble. I think the American economy is full of men like Randall Bragg.
RC: Ed Harris directed the film along with starring in it. Did this mean you had to act as a bigger support system than normal?
Irons: No. Obviously you see that your leading actor is very busy, he's got a lot, and you support him as much as you can to help him get the vision he has in his head. He's an actor -- allows you the latitude to find your character and to do what you think your character would do.
RC: A lot of British actors are attracted to Western roles. Do you think it's because of the genre or because of the characters?
Irons: I think it must be partly the genre. We were all brought up on Westerns. I've always wanted to do a Western. But I have to say, if this was about industrial espionage in 1980...I probably would have come and done it. So it was just nice it was a Western.