“O Brother, Where Art Thou?” actor Tim Blake Nelson is about to get a whole new swath of fans thanks to the title role in the Coen Brothers’ “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs”. Though the star of only one of the six short films in the anthology feature, his is the first and judging by many reviews the best.
Nelson will also play the role of Looking Glass in Damon Lindelof’s upcoming “Watchmen” TV series for HBO based on the comic by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons. Speaking with Collider, the actor revealed the role actually wasn’t much of a character to begin with before he came aboard and it was showrunner Damon Lindelof beefing up the role significantly and changing its nature that led to Nelson signing onboard:
“I talked to [Lindelof] on the phone, and it was an evolving process for Watchmen, which in part is what makes Damon so interesting. He, like the Coens, is very much in control, but he also improvises, to a degree, with what he has. And so, I was approached for Watchmen by his (producing) partner, Tom Spezialy.
I read it and I read my character, and I found him interesting, but one doesn’t want to leap into television without knowing where a character is headed. And Damon, frankly, said, ‘Well, I’m not sure about this guy and whether there’s going to be enough for you, to where you would want to play this role. I’m not sure that having you in this role would be gesturally right, in terms of the casting, with what I have in mind for him. You may be, in a sense, too big of a gun to shoot a fly.’
But then, he started thinking about it and he changed his take on the role. He said, ‘You know what, I really would like you to be a part of this. Here’s how I wanna enlarge the role. If you’ll trust me, then I’d really like you to come on board.” What he had to say was certainly enough, but more importantly, the pilot script and what it seemed like he wanted to address with the show, which is way beyond your run of the mill comic adaptation, really intrigued me.
I’ll only say that I haven’t encountered a false note [tone wise]. And I’ll also say that I’ve been allowed to color my own work, in a way that’s very specific to the world that I knew, growing up. That’s been great for me. It’s been really rewarding, and I very much appreciated Damon’s openness to that.”
Jeremy Irons, Regina King, Don Johnson, Tim Blake Nelson, Louis Gossett Jr., Jean Smart, Adelaide Clemens, Andrew Howard, Tom Mison, Frances Fisher, Jacob Ming-Trent, and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II co-star in the series which is expected to debut on HBO in 2019.