Dressing up as a cowboy since he was a little kid, always wanting to face down the town’s baddies and be a hero, Brendan Wayne is John Wayne’s grandson and the star of new cinematic sci-fi thriller Cowboys and Aliens.
Working with award-winning directors and producers Jon Favreau, Steven Spielberg and Ron Howard, and actors Daniel Craig, Olivia Wilde and Harrison Ford on the set of the new major motion movie, Cowboys and Aliens, Brendan Wayne has had his life’s dream realized. Playing an all-action hero who spends most of his time saving damsels in distress at high speed on horse back, Brendan says he was inspired by his legendary grandfather’s signature technique of “less talk and more walk” when preparing for the role. Describing his co-star Daniel Craig as “absolutely magnetic” and himself as a “proud westerner”, this film is a testosterone-fuelled bonanza of gun-slinging commotion and whiskey-guzzling calamities. i-D online clambered into the stirrups and reined in the offspring of the world’s most accomplished cowboy. Yeeha!
What was it like working with John Favreau, Steven Spielberg and Ron Howard? Jon Favreau is amazing to work with because he just approaches material in a very open way; he has his vision and he tries to let you find your way into that vision. He is very smart and understands that human relationships give any story the flow a movie needs. Mr. Howard and Mr. Spielberg allowed for an amazing location shoot. They gave Jon all the tools he needed to tell his story.
How was life on set with your co-actors? I was very impressed by the way they all carried themselves. No one seemed to have an ego larger than the group – it may have been the type of movie we were doing. I think westerns lend themselves to a pack mentality. Sam Rockwell is a favorite of mine and he could not have been more gracious or approachable.
What is Brit export Daniel Craig like to work alongside? He is absolutely magnetic. He has a strong confidence about him that is still very human. He can turn on the intensity in a flash and the charm just as quickly.
Are the movies your grandfather starred in a big influence on your own work? His movies have influenced me to the point that I am able to believe in “less talk and more walk.” He believed a look was as good as a speech. I studied his ability to say nothing and still demand the audience’s attention.
What is your favourite film of his? This answer changes with my mood. I have seen him in so many different roles that it is easy to put him in a role that identifies the mood I am in at any given time. I am preparing for a role as a hunter of werewolves so I am in the Searchers and Red River mood right now. If I had to choose one though it would be Red River.
You studied film at the University of Southern California, how did this help develop your acting techniques? My mom (The Dukes daughter, Toni) told me I had to understand the whole process so that I would be able to go beyond my character’s need and fulfill the whole story. Film school allowed me to gain more knowledge of the things that do not always pertain to the actor.
You did all your own stunts in the film, are you self trained? I am self trained in saying “YES” whenever someone offers the opportunity to be physical. The stuntmen are so good at what they do that I was always being helped by someone with more knowledge than me. I just do what they tell me to do and usually I can get the job done.
What is your fitness regime? I box 5 times a week, spar 2-3 times a week, and I run every morning. My gym, Fortunes Gym in Hollywood, is a great place to be challenged. I also like to paddle board and mountain bike. I watch what I eat for the most part – I have an insatiable sweet tooth though.
What are your hobbies outside of the film industry? I love coaching my daughter’s football team (soccer to us uneducated Americans). I also love to read. I am reading an excellent biography on Benjamin Franklin right now. I also am very athletic and enjoy surfing and snowboarding.
Are you involved with the John Wayne institute? I am very involved in the fund raising and more mundane tasks. I try to promote it whenever possible. They have done such cutting edge research and have enabled so many to live beyond the diagnosis. I am constantly amazed at my grandfather’s foresight in demanding the doctors who took care of him have the opportunity to make even more of a difference.
What comes next for you? I just finished a horror/suspense film called The Red House and am in line for an as yet untitled Wolfman project. This March will take me to Spain where I will be making another Western called Dollars from Hell.
Top 5 horse trekking paths every horseman should take?
1. Puerto Rico
5. Any ride in Yellowstone park.