The Emmy-winning actor for HBO’s The Newsroom, 62, saddles up for the new Netflix Western series Godless, premiering Nov. 22. He plays outlaw Frank Griffin, who leads his gang of desperados seeking revenge against Roy Goode (Jack O’Connell), a son-like protégé who betrayed him.
Tell us about Frank. He’s obsessed with Roy and the betrayal; he will not let go until it’s resolved. It becomes his life’s mission. Roy’s his white whale.
In the first episode, Frank loses his arm. Did that provide a challenge for you as an actor? You tuck it in and get used to it, but with the riding, there’s a balance that favors the right side because you have only a right arm, so that’s where you notice it.
In Godless, we see the big roles that women played in the West. The strength it took to be a woman on the prairie in the 1880s—Michelle Dockery [ Downton Abbey’s Lady Mary] gets to play that. The women weren’t just sitting on the porch in a gingham skirt. They had to pick up a gun, defend the family and do all the things that the men did.
You’re on a musical tour with your son Ben. What’s that collaboration like? Arthur Miller said, “I look forward to seeing what my work inspires in others,” and that’s what it’s like working with Ben and his band, who are doing what they think my songs need.