9 Times Sturgill Simpson Proved He Belonged On The Big Screen

Sturgill Simpson
Apple TV

Sturgill Simpson is arguably the greatest country music artist of the past decade.

Sure, you’re not going to find him on the country radio charts or the country music awards shows, but for my money his body of work over the course of the past 10 years or so is second to none. Beginning with the release of his solo debut High Top Mountain in 2013, and then the game changer, Metamodern Sounds In Country Music, the following year, Sturgill found himself in the company of Grammy nominees. And then with the release of A Sailor’s Guide To Earth in 2017, Stu once again found himself in elite company with a pair of nominations for Album of the Year and Best Country Album (which he won) at the 59th Grammy Awards.

Of course he followed that up with the “sleazy, steamy rock’n’roll record” Sound & Fury in 2019, the Cuttin’ Grass bluegrass records, and then in 2021, The Ballad Of Dood & Juanita, a concept record of sorts rooted in traditional country and bluegrass stylings.

Critically-acclaimed, universally lauded, all without an ounce of support from country radio… Sturgill has provided the blueprint for doing it your own way in country music, and did so at a time when trying to achieve success in the industry without a mainstream label behind you seemed like a fool’s errand. Now, in addition to Sturgill Simpson, we have artists like Cody Jinks, Whiskey Myers, Tyler Childers, Zach Bryan, and more who have proven you can independently achieve success in country music.

Of course, Sturgill promised to only release 5 Sturgill Simpson solo albums and be done, a promise he even doubled down on following the release of “Dood,” but we have seen Stu lend his talents to a handful of other projects whether it be vocals, guitar playing, producing, and even acting.

In fact, the Dick Daddy has spent quite a bit of time acting, and has even hinted at screenwriting in the past. Here’s a quick look at most of Stu’s filmography:

Orca Park (2011)

Stu’s big screen debut. Unless you’re a fan of weird indie films, and even if you are, then you’ve probably never heard of this one, so here’s a little run down, according to imdb:

“A high school science teacher and her sixteen year old student, run away together and take refuge behind the doors of a murky motel room in rural Orca Park, Florida. When an unhinged private investigator shows up and starts asking questions, the lover’s idyllic world plummets into a well of suspicion, jealousy and deceit.”

One Dollar (2018)

One Dollar only ran for one season on a CBS streaming platform, but set in a small Rust Belt town, the show centered around a series of murders and how something as simple as one dollar changing hands can connect a number of strangers to the crimes. Sturgill Simpson played the role of Cass, and was featured in 5 of the 10 episodes.

The Dead Don’t Die (2019)

Sturgill wasn’t more than a cameo in this Jim Jarmusch film (he played a zombie with a guitar), but he did write and record the theme song for the film and was directly referenced by the characters a number of times.

Like this scene featuring Adam Driver and Bill Murray:

Queen & Slim (2019)

Starring Daniel Kaluuya and Jodie Turner-Smith, Queen & Slim tells the story of a couple that go on the run after a traffic stop goes south and one of them kills a police officer who is, you guessed it, played by country music’s own Sturgill Simpson.

The Hunt (2020)

A satire that offers a comedic, yet dark take on the divide between the American Right and the American Left, this film is about a group of elites who kidnap a group of 12 working class “deplorables” to literally hunt them for sport. Stu plays the role of Vanilla Nice, one of the 12 strangers who has to try and survive this deadly game.

Materna (2021)

According to imbdMaterna is a “closely observed psychological portrait of four women, whose lives are bound together by an incident on the New York City subway.”

The Righteous Gemstones (2023)

What a pleasant surprise it was to see Stu in the latest installment of the hilarious HBO comedy series The Righteous Gemstones. The story of the uber-wealthy Gemstone family who have built an empire as over-the-top megachurch televangelists in South Carolina, Season 3 finds the Gemstone family in conflict with a cult-like militia group.

Sturgill plays one of the militia members named Brother Marshall, who actually delivers and incredible performance of “All The Gold In California” in Episode 7 – “Burn for Burn, Wound for Wound, Stripe for Stripe.”

The Creator (2023)

A sci-fi epic from director Gareth Edwards, The Creator is your classic man vs machine dystopian war, but with an artificial intelligence component that hits a little too close to home these days. I mean, it’s only a matter of time before AI mounts up a resistance and tries to destroy us all… right?

Killers of the Flower Moon (2023)

With a cast that features heavy hitters like Leonardo DiCaprio, Robert De Niro, Brendan Fraser, Jesse Plemons, along with some country singers Randy Houser, Jason Isbell, and of course, Sturgill Simpson, Killers Of The Flower Moon is the most critically-acclaimed film on this list. Co-written, produced, and directed by Martin Scorsese, the screenplay is based on the 2017 non-fiction book by David Grann which tells the story of the Osage murders after oil was discovered on their tribal land.

The movie received a whopping 10 nominations at the upcoming 96th Academy Awards.

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock