Sam Elliott On His ‘1883’ Character Shea Brennan: “He’s A Bit Of A Psycho”

Sam Elliott

If you’ve been a movie fan for the past 40 years or so, then you know it’s hard to find an actor more badass than Sam Elliott.

From his legendary work as famed bouncer Wade Garrett on Roadhouse, to being the stone-cold father on The Ranch as Beau Bennett, and most recently, Shea Brennan on 1883, the man has been a staple for kickin’ ass and takin’ names over his extensive career.

He recently sat down for a roundtable interview with CBR to discuss his work in the Yellowstone prequel series, and more background on the character he plays, Shea Brennan.

He kicks things off by discussing the personality of Brennan, and how he remains compassionate, although he’s seen so many tragic things in his life:

“I think empathy is, you’re either empathetic or you’re not. I think Shea Brennan is empathetic. It’s one of the things that makes his character so complex for me as an actor.

He’s willing to shoot somebody in the head for stealing food. At the same time, he cries over the immigrants that he loses, as he cried over his family that he lost. It’s part of his nature.”

He also describes the incredible bond Brennan has developed with LaMonica Garrett’s character, Thomas:

“I love LaMonica. That relationship is the most important to me in the entire show. The fact that there’s a Black man traveling with a white man or a white man traveling with a Black man in the 1800s is something that crossed me right in the beginning. I just thought, ‘Wow, I can’t wait for that.’

And then I got down there and met LaMonica Garrett and I thought, ‘Holy shit, who’s this monster?’ LaMonica is the most fit human being I’ve ever worked with, and he’s also the nicest man I’ve ever worked with. It’s incredible and we’re having a lot of fun.”

We all know Tim McGraw is a fitness freak, but LaMonica is right there with him.

Dude is JACKED.

But as far as the story goes, Shea and Thomas have more in common than meets the eye:

“In terms of their history, they both served in the Civil War. This is according to Taylor. Taylor said the LaMonica rode with a group called the Buffalo Soldiers, which was an all-Black unit. But he also said that Shea might have been there with him.

That made me scratch my head because I’ve seen a lot of photographs of the Buffalo Soldiers over the years and there was never a white men amongst their ranks.

So I’m not sure where Taylor came up with that thought. But the fact that they’re there together and Thomas kind of takes care of Shea along the road. Shea keeps talking about committing suicide every morning, that’s just part of their deal.”

He also admits that Thomas brings out Shae’s softer side, making him more vulnerable and open:

“I think he does, certainly his compassionate side. I think Shea’s a bit of a psycho on some level… I’ve thought about that, I’m not sure that that’s fair to say. But he’s deeply troubled and he goes off on people and Thomas brings him back, Thomas takes care of him and brings him back.

So I love that relationship. I love that relationship and Thomas and his love are the only two, well, I shouldn’t… I can’t go there for the viewers. But Thomas makes it to Oregon.”

The sixth episode of 1883 is set to air on Paramount+ this coming Sunday, January 30th.

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock